Case study

Production runner — Natasha Ireton-Bourke

Natasha found that making contacts and getting work experience were essential to securing a job as a runner. Discover her top tips for success

How did you get your job as a runner?

I graduated with BA (Hons) Journalism from the University of Lincoln in 2017. I got my job as a production runner at ITV Sport through doing a lot of work experience.

After gaining a contact at ITV Sport, I shadowed them and learnt on the job. Once I'd done a few shadowing days I was asked to do day running shifts. Throughout my final year at university I did as many days as possible, travelling to London and various other locations. When a fixed-term contract came up at the company, I applied and got the job.

What's a typical working day like?

My days can vary depending on what sport I'm working on. If I'm office based I'll be doing admin jobs such as making evacuation laminates, booking taxis, sorting couriers, looking after the post and being on hand if any member of the department needs anything.

I also do a lot of work on outside broadcasts (OBs). This involves sorting and handing out accreditations, handing out team sheets and programmes, doing tea runs and looking after talent. Although these days can be really long, being on site and seeing and working on a live TV show is really rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about being a runner?

The job is so varied and I get the chance to work across all of the sports ITV Sport broadcasts. The job gives me an insight into all the various jobs roles that are available in television production and allows me to learn and see what career path I want to go down.

I also love that I get to travel - from working in Vienna for the World Series Darts Final, to Montenegro for an England Euro 2020 qualifier.

What are the challenges?

Working in TV, especially sports TV, means I have to work a lot of weekends. You learn fast how to balance your work and social life, but missing certain events because of work can be hard. It isn't without its challenging moments, but I wouldn't change working for ITV Sport for anything.

How is your degree relevant?

My journalism degree was very practical, allowing me to pick modules in sports journalism and television production. This meant I was able to learn what was required for working in a sports department, as well as more about the industry as a whole.

One of my final projects was to shoot, edit and produce my own documentary, on 'Life after football'. This documentary, though challenging, helped me learn a lot about the sporting industry and the requirements of television production.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

When I started full time at ITV Sport I didn't know many people and didn't know a lot about the industry. Over the last 18 months, I've now worked across every sport ITV broadcasts, learnt a lot about a variety of job roles and gained confidence in my ability as a runner. My career ambition is to become a sports producer.

What are your top tips for becoming a runner?

  • Try and gain as much work experience as possible. Find contacts on LinkedIn and company websites, and be willing to work the long hours. Although it may be hard at the beginning, getting your name out there will help you find work.
  • A lot of runner roles are freelance so it's vital that you build up as many contacts as possible.
  • Working alongside other runners will help you learn more about the job and gain more contacts in other companies or departments.

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