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Media student turned BBC reporter shares his story

Travelling the world, meeting Rihanna, interviewing Jay-Z… former student Greg McKenzie has come a long way since his time at City of Westminster College.

A desire to work in television brought Greg to the College to study a GNVQ Level 3 in Media Communications and TV Production. Now, 15 years on, he’s working as a Senior Broadcast Journalist and TV Reporter for the BBC.

Starting a career

“I always knew I wanted to work in TV from the age of 15, but wasn’t sure what path,” Greg told us.

“The course at City of Westminster College gave us a cross section of media – TV and journalism was my most enjoyable so I followed that route.”

After he completed his course with us in 2000, Greg wasted no time in following his dream. Almost immediately after leaving he landed a job as a reporter on a local newspaper. From there he went to ITN News, where he worked as a Production Assistant before switching to ITN Channel 5 News to become a Junior Producer.

“After five years I left to join the BBC as a Senior Broadcast Journalist at BBC Radio 1, where I read the news and covered entertainment stories. At the time I was the youngest black senior broadcaster in the corporation’s history,” Greg said.

National radio and beyond

Joining BBC Radio 1 at such a young age, and reading the news to a nationwide audience of millions, was a big step up for Greg. Yet he excelled in the role and became a familiar voice at the station, delivering the latest current affairs and entertainment news for the next 10 years.

It was during his time at Radio 1 that Greg had some of the most memorable moments of his career, including meeting and interviewing the likes of Jay-Z and Rihanna. Yet his talents beyond radio journalism didn’t go unnoticed, and before long he was making the transition to front-of-camera.

By the time Greg left Radio 1 he’d already made appearances on The One Show and on BBC News, and was ready for the most challenging, exciting and rewarding role of his career: a TV Reporter for the BBC’s The Travel Show.

“The best part of the job is the travel, the worst is the long days when you don’t really get any down time. So it’s nice to travel to new places but you never really get to explore as a tourist as it’s work. I think the longest day travelling and filming was in Switzerland – we didn’t sleep for 22 hours,” he said.

Looking to the future

“Winning an award for my Travel Show report, on the rise of reggae music tourism in Jamaica, was a definite career highlight. I got my first glass trophy with my name on it,” Greg told us.

Greg’s now 13 years into his illustrious journalism career and doesn’t intend to slow down any time soon – “Where will I be in five years’ time? Reading the 10 o’clock news on BBC 1 or ITV,” – so does he have any words of advice for those hoping to follow in his footsteps?

He says: “Anything is possible, you’ve just got to work hard at it and focus. We own our own keys to our destiny.”