Freelance Journalist

May 24, 2021 (Updated )

Like many others, Amrit Gahir started her career in student journalism, balancing her degree at the University of Hull with shifts at The Hullfire and Jam Radio. Now, just a few year’s on, she’s presenting to much bigger audiences, as an on-screen reporter at ITV News Central.

After taking up roles at MailOnline and Leeds TV following her graduation, Amrit joined ITV as a production journalist in September 2019, before moving to an on-screen position in February 2021. However, even before taking up her most recent role, she’d already been presenting live, covering the 2019 snap election just three months after joining the broadcaster.

We caught up with her to talk about the importance of a social media presence, being prepared to work on the fly, and how she manages to get downtime.

Amrit presenting on ITV News Central. (Image Credit: ITV News)

What’s a typical day like as a journalist at ITV News Central?

It’s busy, and it’s always varied. No day’s ever exactly the same and there’s a great team there. You always feel very supported actually. There’s always people to help out with things and depending on what shift you’re on the day can look really, really different.

I always thought I would be…

I always loved English at school. I loved reading. I loved writing. It always came really naturally to me. So I chose to do English as my undergraduate degree and then in my second year at university, I got involved with the student newspaper and student radio station and I just loved it so much.

“A lightbulb went off in my head and I was like, ‘wow you can actually do this as a job and get paid’.”

Amrit Gahir

A light bulb went off in my head and I was like, “Wow, you can actually do this as a job and get paid.” It was just so much fun and so then I went on to do my Masters in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield.

That was a fantastic course, really intense, but I learned so much and it gave me a fantastic grounding in journalism. I wouldn’t say that from a really young age, I wanted to be a journalist. I just kind of knew that it would be something to do with creating, writing and reading.

The thing that surprises me most about my job is…

It’s always different and you can think your day is going really, really well, really calm, you’ve got your bulletin together and then suddenly, something breaks and you have to drop everything and start again from scratch, but that’s a really big part of the fun of it I’d say.

A big part of the excitement of working there is you can’t just rely on things going smoothly. You always have to be prepared for something to break and you have to be really on it and it’s such an exciting news patch Birmingham, Nottingham, the Midlands as a whole. ITV Central coming all the way out to Warwickshire, Herefordshire and the border with Lincolnshire and the East Midlands so it’s a ginormous patch and there’s so much going on.

Amrit talking to an interviewee for a package on ITV News Central (Image Credit: Amrit Gahir)

I got the job because…

My first job was at the MailOnline. On the video desk, so I got some really good video editing skills there. I also did a bit of reporting on Facebook Live when that first became a big thing. I was often sent out to do Facebook Live reports so that gave me a taste of reporting, and sort of confirmed for me that I did want to try and get into TV.

“It’s been such a learning curve. I think every place does things differently, depending on where you’re working, and it’s felt great at ITV.”

Amrit Gahir

I got my job with Leeds TV and then I was a senior video journalist, so I was involved in all parts of putting the programme out there, self-shooting, presenting, editing, researching, planning, setting up stories, and that just gave me a fantastic grounding for this job that I then got at TV.

It’s been such a learning curve. I think every place does things differently, depending on where you’re working and it’s felt great at ITV, I feel like I’ve really been eased into all of it and everyone’s so great and supportive.

Amrit has also worked in production for ITV, working in the gallery. (Image Credit: Amrit Gahir)

After work…

It depends what shift I’ve done, because if I’ve been on the early shift that starts at 4:45 in the morning, so I’m normally quite tired. When I’m not at work, I like to meet with friends and I like to go out for dinner because there’s some great places to eat around Birmingham.

I’m a real foodie so I love finding new places to eat and drink and I like to read as well. At the moment, I’m reading Airhead by Emily Maitlis and I think it’s a great book. I’m loving it and I’m almost finished with it. I like to read, zone out because it’s a busy job so your downtime is really precious.

Editor’s Note: This interview took place before the COVID pandemic.