CIM Meets: BBC's Sally Bundock

This week we’re chatting with friend of Christians in Media, financial journalist and BBC World News presenter Sally Bundock, about her career, what challenges and fulfils her in her work, how she manages work-life balance and what she would say to a young person considering a life in media.

Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, about to go live on air on BBC World News

Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, about to go live on air on BBC World News

Sally, how did you first get into TV broadcasting?

I did my post-grad diploma in broadcast journalism, then spent a few years freelancing in London as a radio journalist. I got my first proper job with Bloomberg TV as a business news presenter, which was when things really started to take off. Once I was there, I ended up being headhunted by the BBC which is where you can find me now!

Which aspects of the job would you say are the most challenging?

Absolutely top of the list is the endless juggle - managing a hectic work schedule with being a widow and parents to three young children. Shift work plus kids means permanent lack of sleep!

There’s also a frustration, less so a challenge, to have to remain impartial at all times on every subject, especially on matters where you feel passionate about a particular view.

But some of the major challenges come from just the nature of working in a 24 hour news cycle; being live on air and not having the correct information, having to ad-lib around stories when you don’t have any information, keeping a programme on air when it all seems to be going a bit wrong technically! All of which happen and it’s just the nature of the job, it keeps you on your toes but it is a challenge.

Another challenge is about the online abuse and criticism you get sometimes get from viewers. It’s hard not to take that to heart, especially when you know you have worked incredibly hard to do your job well (and on very little sleep!).

Highlight of the job when you “have” to interview people like Matt Damon

Highlight of the job when you “have” to interview people like Matt Damon

On the flip side, what do you find the most fulfilling part of the job?

There’s a real high when you finish a programme and it’s gone really well. When we’ve had breaking news and we do a great job at covering the story and you know you’ve nailed it! It’s an indescribably satisfying feeling when you hear that government policy has changed, people’s lives have been changed because of what you have been reporting or because of your story telling.

You are on TV when most people are fast asleep or just waking, how do you cope with these early morning hours?

I wish there was a more interesting answer to this but in all honesty, I set my alarm and I get up! No big secret. I’m pretty disciplined about sleep, and 99% of the time I stick to the routine. If I don’t, my body will tell me as I’ll get migraines!

Me and my three boys celebrating my youngest’s 8th birthday

Me and my three boys celebrating my youngest’s 8th birthday

How do you manage family and work?

Again this is about a good routine, but also about being flexible as often as I can. I know when to ask for help if I need it, and I make sure my sons pull their own weight when it comes to school and the house.

I don’t worry, I don’t fear and I don’t go on a guilt trip when things go wrong (which they will inevitably do). God is more than enough and I trust Him with whatever is thrown at us. With Him, we’ll be okay. So it’s about taking every day as it comes!