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How Richard made his mark in the field of journalism

Monika Singh
Sunday, September 02, 2007

LIKE most of the journalists in the country, founder of Skylite Productions Richard Broadbridge started his career straight out of high school and has never looked back.

Today he is the owner of a new but successful production company and is the chairperson of the Fiji Audio Visual Commission.

Mr Broadbridge started his career in 1993 as a journalist with the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited which used to be Radio Fiji.

"I kind of asked the Editor of Radio Fiji, who was Frances Herman at that time, for a holiday job," he said.

Mr Broadbridge said he got the holiday job in December 1993 and worked there as a reporter for 104FM for one year.

"When the holiday had expired, but I had nothing else to do, I stayed around and they paid me holiday job rate for twelve months," he said.

Reminiscing about his first few years Mr Broadbridge said he could still clearly remember when he got a job with Fiji television which had started operating then.

"I clearly remember it I was about 19 or 20 years old and then about half way through my job at FBCL, Fiji TV was setting up and the Editor at that time Ric Carlyon approached me," he said.

"In fact I approached him and sort of pestered him and kept asking him to give me a chance to try it out and he gave me a chance."

He said he started working as a cadet reporter with Fiji TV and he was the first local reporter when they started Fiji One News in April 1994.

"I started as a cadet reporter then went to become a senior reporter to news editor, news director then head of current affairs.

"A lot of it (success) is about me being at the right place at the right time. The industry was just starting and I took the opportunity.

"You know it is a hard life and we are paid next to nothing but we still manage to survive and go out," he said.

Mr Broadbridge said he worked hard at his job and he also lived his life and went out with friends and colleagues.

"I used to go out a lot but the one thing I made sure of was going to work the next day.

"And I think that a lot of my colleagues slowed down their careers because they didn't go to work the next day.

"They didn't set goals for themselves and didn't aspire to be the best. I competed with myself and I competed with my colleagues for the top story," he said.

Mr Broadbridge said he had some really good colleagues and one of them was Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and one or two are still at Fiji TV.

"There would be annual award systems and the ability to be able to compete in the newsroom kept me inspired to a daily deadline," he said.

"Somebody asked me how I was able to manage and do quite a lot more. It's the ability to divide your time well and make sure that you manage your time."

Mr Broadbridge said he found his niche in journalism and he actually enjoyed doing his job and had a lot of fun as well.

"Most of us in the journalism field tend to buckle under the pressure of every day running, being chased away by people without interviews, having to hound them for interviews or just a few comments," he said.

And it adds up to the pressure if one is straight out of high school or at times university and after a few days or even months, they are ready to quit.

But this was not the case for Mr Broadbridge even though he joined the media straight out of high school. When asked about how he handled the pressure of the industry at his young age Mr Broadbridge said, "I don't know how to tell you this without sounding boasting but sometimes you feel that you are born for something.

"I happened to find the career that I really love and every day I come to work.

"There's never been a time in my life where I have said I think I made a wrong career choice," he said.

Mr Broadbridge is one of the pioneers of television broadcasting in Fiji and there are many of his stories that people might still remember.

But according to him one of the highlights of his career and his life was an exclusive interview with the late statesman Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

"This was an exclusive interview with him before his death where I had the chance to ask any question that I wanted," he said.

"It was a life changing experience. I got invited out to Lakeba to interview him. Over the period of four days we would talk for three hours a day and it was just before he passed away that I got this exclusive interview.

"It was a big experience for me and it came out on TV after his funeral," he said.

He said prior to the interview with Ratu Mara he had to get a lot of ground work done before he was allowed to interview him.

"I had to earn the man's trust and then we went to the island on the navy ship and we had to ask for permission from the elders in the village for asking questions to Ratu Mara."

Mr Broadbridge said while on the island Ratu Mara made him feel welcome and also tried to make him comfortable so that he could ask him questions.

"Some times there would be people watching us but he will make sure that I was able to ask him questions."

Mr Broadbridge was also behind the helm at Fiji TV news during the 2000 coup.

"We covered the 2000 coup and we had news every hour for 56 days straight. I think we proved that at the time we stood firm on our ability to report correctly and I guess some people just didn't like that.

"But along the way there have been so many fantastic stories," he said.

RICHARD Broadbridge found his "compass in life" when he married Judith two years ago.

He said when he resigned from Fiji TV in 2001, there was nothing working for him.

"At that point I had resigned from Fiji TV, my wife was pregnant and all the factors were working against me," he said.

"Now I have been married for two years and I have a daughter who will be two next month and along with my wife came a beautiful 7 year old girl. So I got a package deal.

"My wife Judith is an accomplished photographer and she runs her father's boat building business in Vatuwaqa."

Mr Broadbridge says he tries to spend as much time as he can with his two daughters.

"I try and spend as much time as possible with them in the morning. Normally the baby goes to sleep at half past six in the evening every day but I still have time to play with her," he said.

"Both my girls are really precious to me. Some times clients would call me at home and they expect me to respond to them and so I would be seen having my laptop on, my Broadband going on and my babies running around while I do my work," he said.

This might come as a surprise for people who do not know him well but Mr Broadbridge learnt music at high school and is a very keen piano player.

"I also have a passion for music and I can play the piano. I studied music at school for 10 years and I studied French for eight years."

He was the captain of his athletics team and he was also deputy head boy of Sacred Heart College in New Zealand where he completed his final high school years. "I was a student at Marist Brothers High School but then I sort of misbehaved and I was sent to New Zealand where I repeated Form Six."

Although he grew up in Delainavesi and had his family home there, he was sent off to boarding school at MBHS.

He said his parents felt that it would be a good thing for him to stay be a boarder and study.

But then when he was sent to New Zealand, he said staying in the boarding school there felt like he was staying in a resort.

"I enjoyed my school years and studied hard and I managed to score the highest mark in geography at high school.

"I have got two sisters who read music but despite my best attempts I have not been able to do it. In fact I spent 10 years studying music but I just went no where with it.

"But I can listen to music and play it."

Mr Broadbridge has a younger sister who is a doctor, a younger brother who is a pilot and another sister who is an accountant.

"I have got a big family and I have got half brothers and sisters and some of them live in Australia.

His mother has been the guiding force in his life while his father Keith Broadbridge has been his inspiration to work hard and excel in the field of journalism.

Mr Broadbridge senior is a journalist with the FBCL and he has been in the profession for over fifty years now.





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