Since graduating from our BA Television and Radio Production programme in 2020, Neha has worked as a prominent freelance sports and entertainment presenter, working with Manchester United, Lancashire Cricket Club, TikTok and the BBC.

Neha Navekar at an awards ceremony

Why did you choose to go to university?
When I was in college, there wasn’t a lot of opportunities and awareness raised around careers in the media industry. I always thought I would have to go to university and study journalism to get a look in! Whereas now, there are so many opportunities to get involved in the industry and play to your strengths, whether that's through academic study, placements, internships etc. So for me personally, university was the best option to learn more about the industry.

Why did you pick Salford?
When I visited Salford, I instantly knew it was the university I wanted to go to. I had visited all my options and was convinced that I would be moving six hours down south to study media at another reputable University. However, as soon as I entered the MediaCity campus, I knew it was the course for me. Firstly, being in the heart of MediaCity is a privilege not every student gets. It allowed students to make contacts by having BBC and ITV quite literally on their doorstep! It also gave students the motivation to push through as a reminder that the hard work would be worth it, as some of our favourite shows were being made next door to us. The course itself was great for someone like me, who wanted to pursue a presenting career but wasn't too sure if television or radio was the route to take. To this day, I still carry my learnings into the industry, whether it's knowing how to read a running order, understanding camera directions or keeping to timings for a link on the radio!

What made you want to get into the creative industries?
Growing up I enjoyed my creative subjects and English Language. Sadly, media studies was not offered to me at school, yet it was something I just found myself drawn to and often spent my spare time looking into how shows were made and how to pursue a career in the media. I took part in the BBC Writers Room when I was 12 and I found that I really enjoyed writing and presenting stories. This led me to working behind the scenes in television before making the transition to being in front of the camera.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
When I was younger, I sadly didn't see much representation on my screen or people who looked like me and always thought I'd never be able to pursue a presenting career, as I didn’t look like the presenters on my screen. Konnie Huq on Blue Peter changed that and had a big influence on me a child as I saw someone on my screen who looked like me and had similar features to myself. It was the biggest shift for me as a child and essentially a reminder that if she can do it, so can I! As I grew older and became interested in sports, Seema Jaswal was my biggest inspiration. Seeing a South Asian woman cover the World Cup and help pave the way for more South Asian women in the game was a huge moment. Due to the Asian Media Awards, I had the opportunity to interview her whilst at University and have been lucky enough to keep in touch through the years - she gives the best advice!

What’s been your favourite television series/film that you’ve watched in 2023?
‘Never Have I Ever’ on Netflix – for its representation of a South Asian family growing up in America.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?
I’m most proud of achieving things which once seemed so out of reach for 10 year old Neha from Preston. I am super grateful to have had the opportunities I have. I still pinch myself that I get to work with one of the biggest football clubs in the world and a club I’ve supported since I was a child. Also having the chance to cover Soccer Aid with them and the Player of the Year Awards was super special as they’re both events I would watch and read up about, or I’d watch the winners’ interviews and to be able to have been the interviewer this year was an honour.
Another proud moment was having my own radio show on BBC Asian Network so early on in my career - again thanks to the Asian Media Awards for allowing me to be in the room with the right people and network to put forward my interest. In terms of behind the scenes, my proud moment was being trusted to write a script for CBBC covering Diwali. It was something I was passionate about covering and my producers trusted me to deliver this. I was able to get local children involved who wouldn’t usually get the opportunity and it was well received by the communities celebrating the festival which was rewarding to see.

What role do you see yourself doing in five years?
I always keep my future aspirations close to my chest, until it’s done! But I’ll say it will consist of a lot more hard work and I hope to continue presenting in both sports and entertainment fields, whilst continuing to represent my culture where I can.