Binda Rai (Diploma, 1979)
Head of communications, University of London
Former BBC journalist
- What was your best moment at City?
I interviewed Paul McCartney and Wings. I had always been a Beatles fan, so double delight for me on that one.
- What was your worst moment at City?
I could never make the 100 wpm shorthand grade. I was always more interested in getting out there and talking to people.
- What advice would you give to current/future students?
Stick with it, because completing the City course is a passport that gets you places. Also, try and get over the mental barrier to passing the 100 wpm shorthand if you can – it’s worth it.
- Who is your dream interview?
I would love to interview Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the English actor who has just been awarded an honorary degree by the University of London International programmes.
- What’s the furthest you’ve ever gone to get a story?
India. I desperately wanted to make a documentary for Radio 4 about the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. I finally got the green light while seven months pregnant, but it didn’t stop me.
- What was your worst/most embarrassing work experience story?
The fire brigade were doing a demonstration about the impact of smoke and I drew the short straw to go down and cover it. I was rescued by a burly fireman from a smoke-filled room, while holding onto my microphone in one hand and my tape recorder in the other. Suddenly there I was over his shoulder, virtually upside down, unable to hold on to my skirt. My knickers got exposed to a large crowd that decided to applaud my embarrassing moment. This happened way before Kate Garraway’s big knicker incident. I now love wearing trousers.
- Who’s your favourite journalist at the moment?
Kirsty Wark has a very firm and assertive style, which I admire. Despite her age, she’s survived in this industry. That’s a tremendous achievement in the current climate. She’s a good role model for younger women.
- What’s the most memorable interview you’ve ever done?
My interview with the South African cricketer Kepler Wessels has to be the most memorable. I knew nothing about cricket and there I was in Southampton – interviewing him with no time to prepare. It was a great interview, though, and after that I went on to interview quite a few cricketers, including Kapil Dev and Imran Khan.
- If you weren’t a journalist what would you be?
I guess I can answer that, because I’m now working as a communications professional at the University of London. I’m also an elected councillor for the London Borough of Ealing.