My Mentor: Anna Botting on Jeremy Bowen

'Watching history being made is the pinnacle of journalism'
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The Independent Online

I joined Sky in 1995 and they asked me in the interview who I looked up to and I said "Jeremy Bowen". At the time he had become something of an intrepid war reporter and that's how I envisaged my life as well.

Jeremy had been in Chechnya and covered lots of conflicts. He had a very informal but informative style and was not at all arrogant and very relaxed, which I admired.

Sadly I got whisked into the studio rather earlier than I had intended and never got to be a foreign correspondent. When I saw my reporting colleagues on screen in Kosovo, including Jeremy, I sat in the studio green with envy.

Then I bumped into him in a pub in Wandsworth in south London. I'd been watching the rugby and had had a few drinks and I think he had as well. I saw him and shouted, "Jeremy Bowen!" and he turned round and said, "Anna Botting!"

I thought, how the hell does he know who I am? It turned out at the time he was based in Jerusalem and was an avid viewer of Sky News. It was extraordinary that this person I'd held on a pedestal was also excited to meet me. It just shows that even if you're a young journalist and you admire people you can actually get there yourself in some small way.

We stayed for a few more drinks and I forgot I was doing the breakfast show the next day and had to get up very early after crawling into bed about 1am.

I had wanted to be a war reporter from watching Jeremy. To me, watching history being made is the pinnacle in journalism and the biggest privilege a journalist can have.

I finally got my colours in Baghdad this year. Being there makes you realise how brave war reporters are. Last year I was in Jerusalem for the Israeli-Lebanon war and bumped into him in a hotel. I had never been to the Middle East before and there he was, holding the fort.

Anna Botting anchors Sky News' evening coverage.

Jeremy Bowen is the BBC's Middle East Editor.

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