My Greatest Mistake: Nick Owen, newscaster, ITN

I have, of course, made the usual mistakes a broadcaster can make - although I have only once missed a bulletin (for no reason other than that I didn't realise the time - and I took six flights of stairs so fast, I have no clear memory of how I didn't kill myself).

However, the worst mistake I ever made was listening to someone who said that I wouldn't like working in television. Although I have worked at ITN for 19 years, before that I spent about the same amount of time working on Fleet Street. In the early Seventies, while I was at the Financial Times, a friend moved to work at ITN, and it suddenly seemed to me that it was a rather exciting kind of job - particularly because it was a time of great expansion and new ideas about what television news should be.

I made the mistake of ringing a friend (who shall remain nameless, but was very well known in his time) and asking if he thought there was a chance I could follow him to ITN.

"Oh, I don't think it would suit you, Nick... I really don't think you'd enjoy it at all," was his response, and to my chagrin I believed him and allowed myself to be thoroughly put off.

For about 10 years, that opinion kept me away from television, and although I'm not sure I would actually have been a threat to him, I suspect he just didn't want me to play. Consequently, I missed being part of some fascinating developments both at ITN and in broadcasting in general.

When I did start working at ITN, it was the fantastic, exciting job that I'd thought it would be, and I was lucky enough to become a presenter and correspondent quite quickly. I'm only sorry that I spent 10 years not sure I would be any good at it, and that I didn't bite the bullet and take a risk sooner.

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