BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live Breakfast presenter Rachel Burden was our keynote speaker at this year’s second JournoFest held in Manchester

Rachel began her career as a reporter at BBC Radio Suffolk, and 15 months later joined BBC Radio Bristol where she co-hosted the early morning breakfast show. She joined Radio 5 Live in 2003.

She took over the weekday breakfast show from Shelagh Fogarty in May 2011, alongside co-presenter Nicky Campbell. Rachel made her debut on BBC Breakfast in 2015 and has since gone on to be a regular presenter.

Rachel discussed her  journey into the industry, her struggles with gender inequality and her role as a presenter. 

Here News Associates part-time trainee Ali Hussain shares what he learnt.

When Rachel was asked how to navigate a job interview, she shared an amusing story from her past.

Rachel said: “When I got an interview at Radio 1, I had never listened to Radio 1 in my life!

“The interview was a trainwreck, I could not answer a single question they asked me.

“After the interview, they offered me feedback on how I did, and they were ruthless. They essentially said, ‘why did you even come?’”

It was interesting to hear Rachel speak so candidly about her experience entering the industry. She encouraged all of us trainees to thoroughly prepare for interviews ahead of time and to learn from her mistake.

Rachel described the sometimes gruelling schedule needed to be on live television. She said: “I go to bed at 9pm every night and wake up at 3:30am every morning.”

A sleep schedule like this puts into perspective how dedicated she is to her craft. However, her most thought-provoking take was her views on the gender pay gap in the workplace.

She spoke at length about her experience being treated less than a man early in her career.

Rachel said: “We did the same things, worked the same hours and got the same responsibilities, but we still got paid a third less than men. “It was like, ‘can we at least meet at a halfway point?’”

A photo of our trainees listening intently to Rachel Burden.

Our trainees listening intently to Rachel

Rachel expressed that being a woman in a male-dominated environment caused her to feel imposter syndrome. 

She also explained how she built her professional relationship with co-presenter Rick Edwards and described how he is now ‘a dear friend to me’.

She ended by revealing how her fame translates to her real-life routine and spoke about fan encounters.

Rachel said: “I was shopping and a boy came up to me with his dad, the dad said ‘my son recognises you but not sure where from’ I responded with ‘I present on TV and radio’.”

Rachel described her fame as someone who gets recognised mildly but not to the point where she spends hours taking pictures and signing autographs.

“I can still get away with shouting at my kids in Aldi,” she explained.

You can read all the highlights and top tips from JournoFest 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 here.