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  • VanessaCarlotta

Becoming a Sports Journalist and TV Presenter!

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

I get asked a lot how I became a Sports Journalist and what I studied in order to become one and I have to say that I didn't study journalism and the answer to this question is that it chose me more than I chose it. I discovered a passion for Motorsports while working for teams in various roles: Team Coordinator, Press Officer and Team Manager and discovered a passion for writing and reporting about racing through press releases. Now let's get to making the step from team to TV.


I worked four full MotoGP seasons for French television, from Jerez GP in 2015 to Valencia GP 2018. Joining the Eurosport France TV team was something I would have never dreamed of. To be honest, I had never thought of pursuing a career in broadcasting until the opportunity came along. It all came about in the most unexpected way possible.


It was the weekend of 1st MotoGP race weekend of the season (Qatar), while I was in Paris for the weekend and got a call from Alexis Masbou, a then Moto3 rider, who wanted to know if I would be interested in becoming the Pit lane Reporter for French television (Eurosport). The TV channel had trouble finding a French woman to join the crew as pit lane reporter. He contacted me because even though I was not French (Spanish passport but Swiss born) I could speak French fluently. He knew I had worked in the industry for seven years, had a good knowledge of the sport and knew almost everyone in the paddock. So his theory was that I could be the right candidate for the job. I thought he was joking when he first mentioned it to me and I didn't give it a second thought.


It was not until two days later, once I was back home in Madrid, when another French friend of mine contacted me and mentioned again that Eurosport was interested in getting in touch with me. He was at Doha airport, on the same flight that one of the TV commentators was flying on and asked if he could give him my contact information. I agreed and got a WhatsApp message shortly after from the commentator and we agreed to a phone call meeting as soon as he landed in Paris.


Eight hours later I got the call and was asked if I would seriously consider joining the team and I asked them if they would really consider take on someone with no prior tv experience?! To me it was absolute madness that they would actually do it! He explained that it would be easier to teach me the technical aspects of live-feed tv broadcasting rather than teach a non specialised female journalist about Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP, get her acquainted with everyone in the paddock and learn how things are done. I couldn't argue with that...but it was still pretty mental. I agreed to give it some thought and speak again the following day.


After hanging up with him I immediately called my brother, who used to be a Moto2 rider in 2010, to tell him all about it and thought that he would also think it was a crazy idea. His reaction surprised me because he asked me, "You are going to do it, right?" which caught me off guard. He just had a very serious procedure done that could have altered the course of his life (don't want to get to deep into this as it is not my story to tell) and that made me reconsider the project. Up until then I had thought it to be impossible for me to do something like that. I have always been extremely camera shy, with a bit of stage fright and not a big fan of the spotlight, but if my brother had the courage to get through his surgery, I had to at least give it a try, overcome my fears and see what could come of it.



Broadcasting live from the Suzuki pit box for Eurosport

The following day I was on the phone again with the MotoGP commentator and agreed to fly to Paris and meet the Head of Motorsport Division for Eurosport France. A week later I was having my first meeting in the Eurosport HQ and was asked to come back again during the Argentina GP weekend a week later to see the production side of their broadcast and to do a camera test.


When I came back the second time they asked me if I was up to date with the latest news about MotoGP and I told them that I was and they suggested to have me join the presenter in the studio live for a few minutes instead of doing a traditional camera test. I agreed because it was the fastest way of knowing if I would `sink or swim´ and if there was a real chance of it actually happening.


I remember walking into the makeup room, sitting down and being asked by the makeup artist how I wanted my makeup. It felt very surreal, like out of a movie with the big mirror with the lightbulbs all around it, the table covered with eyeshadows, blushes, foundations, brushes, you name it, it was there! I asked to be excused for a moment and walked to the nearest bathroom and realised then and there that it was actually happening, I was about to be on live French tv for the first time and speaking about MotoGP. I took me a minute for it to sink in, walked back, sat down and told the woman she could do whatever she wanted as long as it looked natural. After that I went over to the studio, with blinding bright lights, at least three cameras and a large crew. Someone came over, handed me the mic and told me where to sit.


The presenter reassured me or tried to by telling me it would be fin. We went over the subjects that he wanted to discuss with me and before I knew it, I could hear a countdown and we were back from the commercial break and live! As soon as he asked me the first question all nervousness was gone and it went smoothly. We talked about Dani Pedrosa´s arm pump surgery, the latest news, we went to a commercial break and it was over. As I was walking out of the studio the producer told me that it went well and that they would be sending me tickets to fly to Jerez for my first GP weekend as a reporter.


That was it, I had done it and was now part of the all-male broadcasting team (except for me) and joining them for the first time in Jerez.


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