John Stapleton’s story – from dream to reality

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AWARD winning television presenter, John Stapleton described his experiences about reporting from some of the world’s most dangerous hot spots, when he visited Harlow College this month, November.

Best known for his work as a presenter and reporter on ITV Breakfast television, Good morning Britain, Watchdog and Nationwide, John, who is patron of Harlow School of Journalism, talked tips, tricks and revealed how he triumphed out of sheer determination.

John recalled being a 17-year-old trainee reporter stating: “I desperately wanted to succeed. I wrote to 33 newspapers before I got an opportunity. I never imagined I would get this far. I loved writing – in fact English was the only thing I was good at.”

While explaining niche tips and tricks, Stapleton offered advice on achieving career goals: “The art of journalism is the ability to get on with people. I wouldn’t dream of going to interview someone not knowing something about them.”

John missed out on working on one of the biggest breaking news story in the country, The Moors Murders, because it coincided with enrolling at Harlow College to study journalism. The murders took place in the area covered by his local newspaper, but John was miles away at Harlow College and unable to report on it.

However, he went on to cover many major news stories including the war in Kosovo when he was based on the Albanian border reporting on the refugee crisis. “Local people were forced to leave their homes, many were murdered and lots of women were raped,” he told students. “This is not glamorous or easy, it is not for the faint hearted.”

John became winner of Royal Television Society’s news presenter of the year in 2004 for his cooperation with GMTV covering the 2003 Iraq war and the interviews he conducted with the prime minister at the time, Tony Blair. He went on to describe Blair as: “The best Prime Minister relating to the media.”

John has now retired but to this day maintains an interest in the media industry as a whole and in the work of the journalism students at Harlow College.

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Willow Jacobs-Harding

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