My Mentor: Sonali Gudka on Evan Davis
'The key to telling a complicated story is to make it relevant. Evan does it very well'
Monday 16 June 2008
Evan Davis first caught my eye when I moved from the BBC World Service to the domestic business unit in 2003, when he was economics editor. In meetings, I was distracted by the amount of silver rings he used to wear. Although I didn't know it at the time, he would end up having a big influence on me.
I had a passion for business and economics but I hadn't studied it at university, so I struggled at times. Luckily, he didn't mind people picking his brain. He'd roll his eyes at me in his cheeky way and, within a couple of minutes, have me understanding the issue clearly. His genuine enthusiasm for economics was infectious.
When I was offered the job at Newsround two years ago, I went to Evan for advice. He said: "Don't pass up the opportunity to present such a well-known programme. But don't forget to work hard at becoming a great reporter. People can forget that when they're presenting." I always keep that in mind.
A lot of people were surprised by my move from business to Newsround, but it requires similar skills. I have to find an engaging way to tell a story that might be complicated or boring for a child, such as politics, just as an adult might find oil prices boring. The key is to make it relevant – and that's what Evan does very well. It's pretty easy to write a story, but to make someone interested in it is a different ball-game.
Evan may have a cult following because he presents Dragons' Den, but it's his reporting style that I most admire. In the past, the business and economics slot was the few minutes when people went off to make a cup of tea. It's now at the forefront of the news, partly because the reporting style has changed – and he's helped to lead that, proving that news, and business and economics in particular, doesn't need to be stuffy. You can have a sense of humour and still report on serious subjects.
I really must get one of those Evan Davis T-shirts advertised in Private Eye...
Sonali Gudka is a CBBC Newsround presenter. Evan Davis was BBC economics editor from 2001 until he became a Radio 4 Today programme presenter earlier this year.
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