I just saw this ad for a presenter on Times Radio. I see they want “rock solid judgement”. Obviously, all of us want rock solid judgement but we don’t always have it! In the heat of the moment, I often blurt out things that, had I paused for half a second, I might not have said. But, being a broadcaster, I have to come up with something – a retort, an answer, the next question – immediately. Live TV and Live Radio do not like a silence! I remember when I worked at Capital Radio in London, there was an urban myth going round that if there were more than 3 seconds of “dead air”, you were sacked! That may, or may not, have been true, but you get the idea.

Even in my personal life I sometimes say things that aren’t as considered and thoughtful as they could be. I’m not trying to be insensitive, but sometimes I am. And I hope people realise that. In any case, I usually then bend over backwards to show that I’m just a klutz babbling nervously, and not trying to be crass.

Now, judgement is a more considered thing. You take time to consider all the angles before you make a decision. And I do think my long-term judgement is good. If I’m not sure which way to jump, how to answer an email, whether to take a job, I ‘sit with it’ and see what comes to me. I also have to say that since I stopped drinking, over 10 years ago (it gives me headaches) my judgement is MUCH better during a night out. I didn’t used to get into trouble or dance on the tables, but I might gabble on a bit too much (me, me me!) and wear people out.

But we all have lapses of judgement: ask Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson, or any politician that’s been rounded on by the Daily Mail (that’s most politicians then?). We’re all trying to do our best at any given moment but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. I hope whoever gets this job has buckets of rock solid judgement, common sense, wisdom, prudence, nouse, gumption and all those good things. They’ll need it – in live broadcasting.

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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