Sports Journalist at Sportsbeat
BA History with English, 2017
What does your role involve?
I am currently a sports journalist at Sportsbeat, a content agency in London. My role involves conducting interviews with a variety of high-profile sports stars for a range of clients which include a selection of newspapers, national governing bodies and digital publishers.
My job incorporates a lot of office-based work but also sees me travel a fair amount to cover sporting events on site, with a selection of events I have covered on the ground including the Cheltenham Festival, World Para Swimming Championships and Super League Grand Final.
In addition, I am responsible for managing and planning editorial and social strategy for a variety of clients, while I also directly commission and sub content for a selection of publishers using software such as Quark and Adobe InDesign.
I found the job after completing a gold standard NCTJ qualification at journalism training school News Associates, which runs alongside the agency. I applied for the Sportsbeat internship and was successful, before working my way into a full-time position after my internship was complete.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
First and foremost, I’m a sports nut so getting to work in the industry I am so passionate about makes the day-to-day duties feel far removed from being work.
I also love the feeling of having sculpted a story from start to finish. Beginning with initial enquiries for an interview, before leading to an interview and then turning the quotes into a fully fleshed out article – it is an utterly rewarding experience.
And, it goes without saying, that I enjoy speaking to people whether in person or over the phone. Turning an interview into a relaxed conversation is something I love doing – and uncovering an engaging story is also hugely rewarding.
What is most challenging?
Journalism is a profession which requires commitment and can rob you of free time, and so the working hours are the most challenging aspect.
The nature of sport, which is ultimately mostly played at the weekends or in the evenings, means that you do work unsociable days and hours – and therefore you miss the odd birthday, party or event.
Some days, or events, can be tough long hours too so it means that you have to enjoy the working environment and the profession to survive.
It requires lots of hard work and dedication, but the job has a lot of perks and it is immensely satisfying when you submit a story just on time having spent countless hours on it or completed a week of long hours at an event producing content up close to the centre of it all.
How did your time at Birmingham help prepare you for this role?
My time at Birmingham helped me in a number of ways for becoming a sport journalist.
Most significantly, writing for student newspaper Redbrick gave me the confidence that I could pursue what was then a hobby as a career, while the experience gained proved invaluable for building up an early portfolio and pursuing later work experience placements and the journalism school I went to.
My degree also proved invaluable as it not only meant I developed my writing skill, but it also saw me use that in an analytical way on sport – as I did with my social history dissertation on the impact of the Bodyline Ashes series on Anglo-Australian relations in the interwar period.
The careers service also pushed me to pursue the career, with several one-to-one chats proving extremely useful in pointing me in the right direction with regards to next steps following the completion of my degree.
What advice would you give to students interested in getting into your industry or role?
Experience, experience, experience.
Firstly, make use of the amazing student newspaper Redbrick and radio station Burn FM at Birmingham to build up a body of work and skills which will be invaluable down the line.
The friends made, and fun had, is another bonus on joining either or both of these societies.
I would also encourage seeking out further work experience placements at national or local newspapers, or digital publishers, to broaden your opportunities.
Finally, I would certainly suggest speaking to the careers service as their knowledge of next steps post-university is extremely useful. It is also a chance to go through your plans with a friendly face and make sure you are committed to the profession.