Budding sports journalists at the University of Northampton were given an insight into the industry this week by an international television sports reporter.
Faye Carruthers is a regular fixture on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, Channel 5 and Premier League Productions – the company which provides all Premier League coverage outside the UK.
After her talk with journalism undergraduates, Faye was interviewed and explained what makes a good reporter, the state of the journalism industry – and answered her some tricky questions, including who is the most difficult football manager to interview.
Faye had some words of comfort for students, who might feel nervous when they embark on work experience or start out in the industry after graduation.
“It may not look like it, but I am actually a very shy person,” said Faye, who supports Luton Town.
“It might look like I am doing a great job on television, but below the surface I can find it quite daunting. I still get clammy hands before I go on air, and I have a terrible habit of wobbling my knee through nerves. So the advice I can give you is to work at pretending to be confident, and people will think you’re confident, and things will get easier for you with more experience.”
Faye also wrote spoke about the rise in former footballers now getting reporter jobs.
“I think you need a mix of ex-players and trained journalists working side-by-side, it works well and producers know this and will always want people from my profession to cast that critical eye,” said Faye.
"All the ex-pros I work with are wonderful people who are always looking to learn. They ask us questions about the skills you need to be a journalist and see reporting as a skill that you learn over time."
Faye also had positive things to say about the sports journalism jobs market.
She said: “When I graduated 15-odd years ago we were told that journalism jobs were drying up. But that hasn’t been the case, because a rise of different media platforms means there are actually more opportunities.
“You only have to look at how sports coverage has taken off on social media to see how many opportunities there are – and with Google and Amazon looking to break into the market, there will be many more to come.”
Marc Webber, who is the leader of the Multimedia Sports Journalism degree and a football reporting colleague of Faye’s, was delighted to see her come to speak to the students.
He said: “Learning from people that still do the job is a key component of all our courses at this University.
“In just the first two weeks our students have had an exclusive Q & A session with a Football League chairman and attended a press conference at Northampton Saints.
“One student is already writing for the Saints and Harlequins matchday programmes and another one has spent the summer working in the Aston Villa press office."
The University of Northampton is running a dedicated Multimedia Sports Journalism degree right now. Check the course page for details.