Mr S was a guest at last night’s Grazia ‘News at 10’ panel discussion, where Christina Lamb, Jayne Secker, Sue Turton, Emily Maitlis and Mishal Husain discussed their experiences as female newsreaders.
For Maitlis, however, talk turned away from journalism and onto her first choice of career:
‘I never envisaged myself being a journalist – I was committed to being a hairdresser from the age of 14. My parents had a heart-attack.’
While her dream is yet to be fulfilled, the Newsnight presenter did manage to find work at a young age as the ‘world’s worst radio reporter’.
‘My first job was in radio – and I was the world’s worst radio reporter. Every time I went out something went wrong. I left my microphone on a bus and my tape ran out on the soundbite that everyone was really excited about. Getting to TV was a blessed relief, because there’s someone who does all the complicated stuff for you. TV is more collaborative – and it can be somebody else’s fault too.’
While television has brought Maitlis some relief, she adds that sexism remains an issue in the newsroom. ‘The patriarchy’s alive and kicking – but we kick back every now and again,’ she says.
Mr S imagines the opposite could be said for the men in the hair salon.