I’m James Webster. I’ve lived in Yorkshire almost all my life, these days in Leeds. I’m a TV journalist and keeping up with all the latest news is a big part of what I do every day. In my spare time I’m often busy organising Scout adventure competitions, baking cakes or planning my next exciting holiday!
I can happily spend hours taking random photos and some of them end up on my Instagram page:
The work stuff
From the Press Pack to ITV News
I’m pretty sure it’s my gran’s fault I became a journalist. When I was a child she would watch EVERY news bulletin, one after the other. It’s been part of my life from a very early age when I would always say I wanted to be “on the telly” when I was older. Once I got to university that became a slightly more sensible idea of becoming a journalist.
I’ve worked at ITV News Calendar since 2010, usually out and about reporting on what’s going on in east Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire based out of an office in Hull. You’ll sometimes see me pop up presenting the news in the main studio and I’ve also done several stints working with our colleagues on the national news in London.
My first taste of journalism came as a child in the Press Pack run by the teen magazine Fast Forward. An article on the royal Annus Horribilis of 1992 landed me in the national finals of the following year’s awards.
It was during university that I go my first professional taste at journalism at Yorkshire Coast Radio in Scarborough followed by stints at Minster FM in York, Real Radio in Yorkshire and the local TV station Channel M in Manchester.
The best thing about my job is showing off the places I get to go and the people I get to meet. It’s a huge privilege and an equally big responsibility. I’m always on the lookout for ideas for things we should include in our programme. If you have something in mind, please get in touch.
You’ll find a mixture of work and non-work related stuff on my Twitter feed:
RT @Humberbeat: Emergency Services attending an RTC on the A165 Bessingby Hilll, please avoid the area as the road is closed. Will update with full closures
Growing up in Whitby
For the first 18 years of my life I grew up in the Yorkshire seaside resort of Whitby. It’s only now I’ve moved away that I fully appreciate the beauty of the place. When I get the chance to visit I enjoy long walks up the cliffs, along the beach and down the piers.
I filled my childhood days with all manner of clubs and activities editing several school newspapers and taking part in drama classes, various types of dance, singing in multiple choirs and playing in the orchestra. I was a regular on stage in both school and amateur operatic society productions.
I also have very fond memories of spending some six years as a shop assistant at a department store found in the north of England called Boyes.
Studying also took up a large amount of my time and after staying on following my GCSEs I gained A levels in English Language, Mathematics, Geography and General Studies. It remains a regret that I studied but did not finish the Further Mathematics course but no amount of patient explanation could enable me to master the intricacies of imaginary numbers or integration by parts.
Moving out to Leeds
Since moving to the University to Leeds I’ve continued to make the city my home. Many of my family originally lived in and around Leeds, so it seems fitting it’s where I now choose to be.
When friends were busy writing essays and reading hefty books I was out and about filming and editing things for my Bachelor of Broadcasting degree that was designed to set me up for a career in television production.
Much of my spare time was spent at our student radio station LSRfm where I looked after the award winning news programme Newslink.
Telling people I’m gay
Saying those two small words takes some people longer than others. Everyone has a different coming out story. For me it was at university that I first tearfully told someone “I’m gay” after both realising and accepting it myself. It took me far too long to then pluck up the courage to say the same two words to my family. Always worried about what they would say my mum’s matter of fact “So!” when I subsequently did tell her was almost an anti-climax after the years of worrying. Her reaction, like that of my friends, means I can now more proudly wave the rainbow flag and speak out in support of LGBT causes and events.
The women in my life
Without question there are three women who have made a massive contribution to my life, without whom I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Barely a day goes by when I don’t speak to my mum Ann. She’s the first person I want to share my news and is always so proud of everything I do.
When I was a child, my mum and I lived with my gran. I couldn’t say Kathleen when I was little so she became known as Kaka. She played endless hours of board games with me during school holidays and baked the most amazing fruit cakes. She is much missed.
Annie was my gran’s cousin but to me was another grandmother figure. She looked after me when I first moved to Leeds teaching me how to get around town without getting wet in the rain. Living till she was 95, we both shared a love of cakes and biscuits.
Other things I do
Being a grown-up Scout
I was never allowed to be a Scout as a child. Looking back I’m not sure how I would have found the time, but it’s always something I’ve regretted and I’ve certainly made up for it since.
I’ve been organising an adventure competition called the Apex Challenge since 2002. In that time thousands of young people have taken part in more than 25 events that tests them both physically and mentally.
Teams try to complete as many activities as they can such as rock climbing, canoeing and abseiling to collect points and climb the leaderboard.
As well as helping to plan the actual event each year, my role involves looking after the competition’s website, branding and audio/visual presentations. It’s a lot of hard work but I really enjoy it and it’s great to stage an event that is so valued by those taking part.
Planning jet-setting holidays
Planning holidays is my other main hobby. It’s always great to tick another country off the list with my recent travels taking me to Hong Kong, Florida, Montenegro and Germany.
I’m rarely one to just lie on a beach and enjoy getting off the traditional tourist trails to learn about the places I am visiting and try to experience them in a similar way to the locals.
Feeding my sweet tooth
Another thing I got from my gran was a love of baking. There are times when my enthusiasm surpasses my ability but even when my cakes don’t LOOK the best, they generally taste very nice.
I’m a keen runner and swimmer and enjoy working hard in a gym session. I’ve done several 10K runs and completed the Great North Run half-marathon four times as well. Each time gives me a new time to beat!