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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

Ellie Harries

BA (Hons) Sports Journalism
Graduated 2016

Portrait image of Ellie Harries

Why did you pick Solent?

Complete chance – I initially didn’t want to go to university as I was interested in playing cricket for England (which didn’t work out because of injuries). I visited the uni so my friend could look around, and while she was sat in an open day lecture, I sat in the sports journalism teaser and fell for it. It combined my love of sport and writing.

What was the best thing about your course lecturers?

It was their industry knowledge. Our lecturers were able to give us tips and tricks from their time in the industry (many were still practising journalists), as well as contacts for work experience.

Do you feel your studies helped you prepare for a career in the industry?

100 per cent – I would not have my job now if I hadn’t completed my course. Although I specialised in sport, it set me up for covering all types of news, which is what I do now. I was taught how to sound good on air, as well as online, which has been vital for my job in radio.

What’s stuck with you over the years?

I remember having voice training with lecturers as well as outside presenters, which was so useful in learning how I wanted to sound on air. The other thing was Tim Abraham coming in to talk to us about his experience in the sports industry. I’ve been a big fan of his for years, and would love his job some day.

Tell us a little about your career so far

Work experience was part of our course, and I was put in touch with my local radio station, thanks to one of my lecturers. I started out working at Spire FM as an intern, and once I finished university they took me on part-time.

I then progressed to being a full-time member of staff within a year, mostly focusing on the digital side of the business, having been taught how to run websites and social media at Solent. I was also a regular newsreader in the afternoon. After four years I went to Global – which runs stations such as Heart, Capital and LBC – where I became the breakfast newsreader initially for Heart in the South, before going to Capital South Coast and Brighton.

I would not have my job now if I hadn’t completed my course. Although I specialised in sport, it set me up for covering all types of news, which is what I do now.

Tell us about what you're doing now and what a typical working day involves

I start work at 5am every day, and for the first 40 minutes I collate the news for my areas for my 6am bulletins – checking out social media, other news outlets and emails. I then record both of my bulletins, before going back to scouting other news out, rewriting news and preparing for my travel bulletins, which are around every half an hour up until 9am. My news bulletins run on the hour from 6am until 12pm. During quieter periods I seek out news for my colleagues in the afternoon, as well as trying to find exclusives that could run across all our brands.

What’s your career highlight so far?

I was working on the news desk in Salisbury when the Novichok poisonings were in the news, back in 2018. I was first on the scene to several cordons, as well as being one of only a handful of journalists to take photos of Sergei Skripal’s car, which were then used by the BBC, ITV and Sky.

How are you finding the industry? Any unexpected challenges or other surprises?

It’s been a whirlwind. Some days I’ve thrived on what news we have in, other days it’s depressing, and the rest of the time it can be dull. I love breaking news, although it can be very stressful. The one thing that doesn’t change is that we are working our hardest to find out information for the public.