My Mentor: Julie Etchingham on Nick Pollard

'He acknowledged the sacrifices people's families made to make the job happen'
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The Independent Online

I was on air presenting breakfast news for the BBC when this email popped up from Nick Pollard saying: "Do you fancy coming to work at Sky?"

That was in 2001, just after 9/11. I went up to see him and he was honourably straight about the whole thing, which is how I've always found him, whether you're in trouble or in his good books.

He was interested in taking on presenters for Sky News who were journalists. I had been a reporter and presenter at the BBC. At that stage I wasn't sure I wanted to go, because it was totally unknown territory. It also meant that I'd be giving up the reporting to go into a studio. But the beauty of the job there was that when a big story broke they sent their anchors out to the field. Nick had to make sure that I was committed to the job as a journalist and didn't just want to be a newsreader.

Sky felt like a new venture, and with someone who seemed a very good bloke at the helm. I could have waited my turn at the BBC to do the big interviews, but because Sky is a much smaller place, the opportunities come around faster.

Nick's door was always open. If you couldn't get your head around the story or work out the right way to approach it, you could ask. If you were trying to work your way into a job or just become a better journalist, he was a great sounding board.

He started out as a hack and had done the whole local and regional news beat, worked his way into television, and then edited News at Ten, which is why it's been great to talk to him about my move to ITV.

I'm in touch with him all of the time. He's a great gossip and we know each other's families. One of the other things that distinguished him was that he acknowledged the sacrifices that people's families made to make sure the job happened.

He took television news to new heights in this country. He pushed the Sky News format, and made that operation into what you see now. It's slick and it challenges the way that people do things.

Julie Etchingham presents ITV's News at Ten. Nick Pollard is a former head of Sky News.

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