Ahead of Euro 2020 kicking off today, we speak to the person responsible for Stats Perform’s news gathering during the tournament.
About your job?
I am the newly promoted Managing editor for operations, for Stats Perform News. One of the main functions of the operation team is to plan, organise and deliver all the newsgathering needs for the production and editorial teams so they can turn the raw content into exciting products for our customers. We are the machine and the heart of the team at the centre of everything in news. Within my team there is a team of video journalists who are out in the field gathering content, a news desk who drives the newsgathering and a Data Integration specialist who works with our production and editorial teams to provide the best data led storytelling. The final piece of the operations team is to make sure we as a department are functioning at our optimum, our production editor works along with myself to provide our teams with the best process and workflows so we can deliver the best products to our clients.
This Summer will be really exciting for us as a team as we will cover the rearranged Tokyo Olympics, Euros (which takes place across 12 European countries) and the Copa America. Major events are where the team thrives, months of preparation and planning for these events will come to fruition and we cover the events to for fill the content plans. These are the moments as a team we relish as it’s an opportunity for us to show our journalistic abilities, creativity and passion for what we do on the biggest stage.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I have only been in my new role 5 weeks but in my time at Stats Perform previously as the Senior Video Journalist I loved being out in the field and at the biggest global sporting events. I enjoy the pressure of knowing I have to deliver the highest quality content the business has to offer; it gives me a real buzz. I enjoy networking – meeting new people so that we can push the brand forward and deliver content that our rivals can’t. I also enjoying working with colleagues to help them develop their field-based skills, whether that be as a producer or as a video journalist. It was a real pleasure to see so many of the colleagues I had trained to go to the Russia 2018 World Cup, the biggest field operation in the history of Omnisport (as it was then called). It was both a personal and professional success. In my new role as Managing editor for operations, I am thriving on being able to influence the future of Stats perform news and helping to build a legacy for the department through being part of a management group that is striving to provide the best and most innovative content in the market, with our unique data led storytelling and the most relevant news stories.
What made you interested in going into this type of work (when you first started out in your career)?
I originally had planned to be a barrister and I studied Law, but life had a different plan and, whilst at University at Nottingham Trent, I was encouraged by a friend to be the Sports Editor for the University magazine. I discovered I could combine my passion of sport with a tangible career choice in journalism. I changed path, studied for a Masters in Broadcast Journalism at Staffordshire University, and I have never looked back. I have always loved sport, both participating and watching it, so for me this is the greatest job, because I get to combine my greatest passion and my working life. I have been lucky enough to report on some of the greatest sporting stories, such as Leicester City winning the Premier League, three Champions League Finals, both Men’s and Women’s World Cup finals to name a few over the past 8 years or so.
What do you find are the down sides to the job (travel/long hours / missing family events/etc)?
The downside to the role, and for all Sports journalists in my profession, is the long periods away from home; this can be tough on your family and on you. Over the course of my career, I have had to sacrifice many personal moments for the professional gains I have enjoyed. Missing my nephew’s first birthday, collecting the keys of my new home with my partner, missing my best friends’ weddings… this list goes on but, having said this, I would not trade the sacrifices I have made for the priceless moments that I never dreamed I would experience – like seeing England in a World Cup Semi Final (both Men and Women sides) or seeing Europe win the Ryder Cup in Paris in 2018. I actually don’t mind the travel, because in my hectic schedule it is often time to catch up on some much-needed rest. The long hours are just part and parcel of the role of a field Journalist; it’s the moments you live for in your career and which many others would kill to have so, although it can be mentally and physically demanding, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What advice would you give women wanting to do what you do?
The best advice is never to give up and never take no for an answer. At the beginning of my career, being a woman in video journalism was tough, at the time it was a very male dominated role and I had to show that I could perform as well as, if not better than, my male counterparts. This meant sacrificing a lot of time to perfect my craft as a video journalist when I was a student, working for free or for a small fee, but it gave me the opportunity to learn the valuable field skills I needed to excel in my field.
Go the extra mile, because people will appreciate your dedication and tenacity. Never miss a networking opportunity, because every time you meet someone it could lead to the next step in your career or development.
Watch and learn from the other professionals around you, because I learnt so much from my colleagues when I started working as a video journalist in the Midlands press pack, and I am eternally grateful for the skills I learned in my time with both male and female counterparts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and also to make mistakes because, without those, you will never progress.
Take calculated risks. When I started, I decided to go against the grain, buy my own kit, and tried to make it as a freelancer when my peers where getting jobs as runners in London on low wages. I followed my heart and belief in my ability, and I was able to forge, within 18 months, a successful freelance career with a solid client base. I was tenacious and believed I could succeed. I sent hundreds of emails to get opportunities and, when they came, I made sure I delivered what I had said I could.
What advice would you like to give the 25 year old you?
Hmmmm… that is a tough one, but I think it would be never to give up on your dreams; rely on your talent and ability, regardless of those who tell you it won’t be possible to achieve your goals. Don’t be discouraged in the early days when you are ignored in press rooms, and not treated as an equal to your peers because of your gender, colour and sexuality. Be brave, relentless and unapologetic in your work ethic and the rewards will come. Every time a manager or players treats you disrespectfully, because you’re a women, shrug it off and show them the true professional you are and that you belong there. Finally be an example of the positive and valuable contribution women can be to our industry – support and encourage others to do the same.
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