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John Humphrys offers advice to aspiring journalists: ‘Don’t do it’

By Dominic Ponsford

Today presenter John Humphrys has revealed that he advises his children and grandchildren to avoid journalism as a profession.

Humphrys, 70, was the main presenter on the Nine O’Clock News in the 1980s on BBC One. Since 1987 he has been a presenter on Radio 4's flagship daily current affairs programme Today.

Press Gazette has asked a number of famous figures from the world of journalism to talk about their training and offer some advice to aspiring journalists as part of a print guide to journalism training which is being published next month.

Noting that he became a trainee reporter on his local weekly newspaper some 55 years ago, Humphrys said:  "All I recall is that I went to my local tech to learn shorthand (but not, sadly, typing) and that I spent an hour or so a week for a few months learning 'essential law for journalists' somewhere or other.

“As to my advice for aspiring journalists…. that's easy. Don't do it!  I am deeply pessimistic for the future of serious print journalism and I tell my own children and grandchildren to train for a profession where they're more likely to get a decent job with some hope of security.”

Last year Humphrys was named broadcast journalist of the year at the London Press Club awards. He recalled once "bribing" a police officer with a bottle of whisky at Merthry Tydfil police station when he was a 17-year-old reporter. 

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