SCANiversary: Warren Nettleford

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Image courtesy of Warren Nettleford

SCAN caught up with Warren Nettleford, who you might recognise from his presenting roles with Channel 5 and ITN, to find out what SCAN was like when he was President of the Students’ Union in 2003-2004. Warren has a pretty incredible CV working at almost all of the main broadcasting companies, including a 7-year stint at the BBC, and now even has his own production company. When asked about the most famous person he had interviewed (because I was just being a little nosey), Warren had a long list!

“There’s quite a few, you forget!” he told me. From the few he could remember they included A-Lister stars such as Idris Elba, Carrie Fisher and Simon Pegg, to famous sports stars including Usain Bolt and Jose Mourinho. In 2002, during his undergraduate degree at Lancaster, Warren had the opportunity to travel to Japan to see the World Cup and whilst there wrote some reports on the “Japanese Railway systems being bizarre” and sent these back to SCAN.

How do you manage to get into a career with such an impressive list of interviews under your belt I hear you say? Warren says that the answer is simple, “if you want to be a TV presenter, don’t say you want to be a TV presenter”. Confused? Well, Warren explains that the best thing to do if you want to be a journalist is to get involved, take any opportunity that you can, and “develop your own voice and style”.

Warren certainly got involved and made the most of his opportunities at Lancaster. His university time was jam-packed with experiences that some students nowadays could only dream of. Alongside his work as LUSU President, he also had a column in SCAN wittily named ‘Hot off the Pres’ and a weekly Bailrigg FM show called ‘Warren’s World Service’. Whilst he was President, Warren was interviewed by Gerry Northam as part of a Radio 4 documentary because of a fiasco involving the new buildings, which now make up South West campus, not being ready on time for the start of the student’s year. When asked by Gerry Northam what he wanted to do after he left Lancaster, Warren replied “I want your job”. Incredibly, this was his foot-in-the-door moment, which led to him getting work experience and eventually a job.

Unsurprisingly, Warren always knew that he wanted to work in politics, news or documentary-making but sadly Warren says that journalism has changed over the years, and nowadays it is a “real sorry state of affairs”. Warren joked that if you want to earn lots of money, journalism isn’t the career for you, he suggests being a Lawyer or Doctor instead, that way you won’t be stuck in London: “One of the sad things is, with journalism in the UK anyway, you’re very much constrained in TV or national journalism to London. “I’d say it’s a great job because it’s fun but is it the best career choice? Think hard about it, that’s what I would say. But it’s great, I love it!”