Career Prospects in the Media Industry – The ultimate guide for graduates on choosing your ideal career in the media sports industry
The sports industry, and the media that surrounds it, is moving at such an incredible pace. More jobs and opportunities are available than ever before.
The media landscape has changed almost beyond recognition in recent years following a digital revolution which has paved the way for a 24-hour rolling news agenda. In that time, sports journalism has also developed to become the fastest growing sector in UK media.
Traditional print and broadcast sports journalism, while still powerful communications platforms, are being forced to adapt and change in order to survive in a new and rapidly-developing media environment. As a result, sports journalists are now expected to develop a range of digital and social media skills which enable them to tell a story across a number of platforms in order to reach a wider, often global, audience.
Sports television presenter
Sky Sports News changed the way we consume sports news forever when it launched at the end of the 20th century. Now, viewers expect presenters and reporters on television to have their fingers on the pulse around the world on the hottest sports stories. Whether it’s reporting from a training ground on transfer deadline day, or interviewing a player pitch side after a game, the role has expanded. An able presenter or television reporter will be expected to know how to package a story into two minutes of engaging content, source the best quotes and challenge interviewees on live television under immense pressure. Structure and editing skills are also required. Previous guest speakers at UCFB, such as Gabby Logan and Hayley McQueen, have highlighted the perks of the job – interviewing great personalities, attending illustrious sporting occasions – so this career choice is much sought after.
Match day commentator
Martin Tyler, John Motson, Jon Champion… the list of great commentators just rolls off the tongue. Every iconic moment in modern football history is accompanied by poetic words from wonderful voices. In the 21st century commentary even stretches to e-sports, with EA Sports FIFA game now seeing the advance of e-commentators. The best commentators are constantly researching and full of knowledge – a 0-0 bore draw can be worth watching if the commentator knows the teams inside out. Students at UCFB have the advantage of learning from best in the business, with exclusive match day commentary classes headed by the pros taking place throughout the academic year which includes attending live matches to practice newly learnt skills.
Those who claim radio broadcasting is a dying art clearly don’t listen to the likes of BBC Five Live and TalkSport. Whether it’s match commentary, live event coverage, news reports, interviews or the consistently fun fan phone-ins, radio covers a huge range of journalistic skills. Much like a TV presenter, a radio host will be expected to know how to package a story, source the best quotes and challenge interviewees live on air under immense pressure. UCFB students have previously gained work experience at the likes of BBC Five Live and TalkSport to further expand their knowledge.
Video content is now more prominent than ever, with the likes of YouTube and short social media videos playing a hugely important role in how we consume our video content. Leading football and other sports clubs and organisations are increasingly employing their own in-house videos team to create fun, engaging and informative videos for all audiences. This is on top of the household name broadcasters snapping up the best talent available to expand their growing sporting portfolios. A video producer is at the front of the action, wherever it might be, and is responsible for bringing the sports industry into the homes of millions. UCFB graduate Alexander Brown started his sports career at Burnley FC as a video producer, and now works with the England national team at The FA, recently finding himself in Russia for the 2018 World Cup.
A press officer is the last line of defence for a brand and a club, staving off bad news and producing good. They’ll ensure positive press is created and set the news agenda within their organisation. If a media outlet wants access to an athlete, they must go through the press officer. A good press officer in the football and sports industry will have a thorough understanding of their sport, the people that operate within it and how to spin a headline. They’ll also be an astute communicator, whether written word or on camera.
Regional newspaper reporter
Regional press may be going through a testing time right now, but sports desks in newsroom across the country have never been busier. Every town in the UK has a number of sports clubs to keep on top of, professional and amateur, and a regional reporter will be expected to know everything about anything. Match reports, live blogs, interviews and social media work is just your average day in the job. No one knows Manchester United better than the Manchester Evening News sports team, just as no one knows Plymouth Argyle better than the Plymouth Herald sports team. Regional sports reporters matter and are full of exclusives.
Chief sports reporter
The chief sports reporter will help dictate the news agenda online, in-print and on-screen. They lead the team and land big scoops. As the go-to sports reporter at the organisation, they set the standard and no everybody at every club and organisation in the local area. A chief sports reporter at regional level will go on to national level should they desire and show the ambition to want to know about every sport there is cover at a at a high and consistent level.
Photographers are at the forefront of history. Their images help a moment transcend time and generations, educating for years to come. Professional sports photography is an art form and requires time and dedication, not to mention a brilliant eye for detail and capturing pure emotion. An image can be shared around the world and seen by hundreds of millions of people. Photographers can see what others can’t, and an image can be captured, edited, uploaded and then published all within minutes from some of the world’s leading sports tournaments. Being able to work around Photoshop and similar editing software is a must.
Social media executive
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram now dominate popular culture, with large swathes of the world’s population having online profiles. It’s also a tool which all types of businesses can use any time of day to push their message and sell their product. Sports clubs and organisations have dedicated teams manning these channels and responding to thousands of interactions with their fans and the public each day. Real Madrid have 30 million followers on Twitter, and Barcelona have 103 million followers on Facebook. These platforms offer incredible reach for clubs to access their fans and find out what works for them as an organisation. A social media executive will pose questions, understand the mood of social media, what fans want to read and watch and engage with audiences around the world. And of course, the crowning glory of any social media professional… for their content to go viral.
The internet is the first port of call for breaking news and an organisations biggest tool to promote itself with. A clean, easy to use website full of engaging content is key to a sports club or organisation sending out a clear and consistent message. A website editor will know what content works for their company, will measure engagement and page views to analyse the best performing content and ensure the correct information is portrayed to the public.
When deciding on your perfect media career in the sports industry, we hope this information has helped you to decide on which one is best for you.