You just have to be in the right place at the right time…
The most recent Sporting Coventry Conversation featured a Journalism graduate of Coventry University, Steve Carpenter, who after spending a year working in Toys’R’Us now works as a sports/news reporter for the Coventry Observer. The Coventry Conversation also hosted John Sinnott who works for BBC Sport and has had, in his own words, a career full of ‘huge dollops of luck.’
The Conversation was titled ‘Football Reporting’ but the journalistic knowledge of these two reporters went beyond just sport with some interesting advice which can be applied to both general journalism and sports journalism.
John Sinnott began by saying his career started with luck and he said that: “Spotting a job advert” was the first piece of luck he had, but as he got his break as a sub at Sport First, his luck ended as everyone was laid off soon after he started. In 1996, the BBC were starting a Match of the Day magazine and John applied for a job and became the News Editor of the Magazine. He joked it was probably just because he was cheap to employ. John mentioned the fact that he didn’t get on with some of the people at Match of the Day Magazine but he said: “Every workplace needs a mix of characters to thrive.”
John did some freelancing for the BBC sports website and he said he was in the: “Right place, right time.” The December just gone, John was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which he said made it harder to do the job. Even as a sports reporter, John said he doesn’t know much about sports in general but is passionate about football and he said: “Writing is the easiest part of sports reporting” and that the harder part is the journalistic research and talking to the right people. John gave some brilliant advice for both general journalism and sports reporting as he said: “Whoever you meet, try and stay in contact with them.” and he backed his advice up with a story about losing contact with the former Barcelona F.C. President Joan Laporta, who would have been a brilliant contact. For John’s last piece of advice he said: “Keep at it.” which is simple but effective.
The other Conversationalist was Steve Carpenter. He was asked how he had learned to be sports reporter, to which Steve replied: “I’m still learning now.” implying that you never stop learning, even when in the trade. Steve covers Coventry City F.C and he said: “I love doing it.” in reply to a question about whether or not it’s what he expected. Steve went on to mention his Journalism degree having been prompted and he said: “I thought it was very useful,” and also said “I found the student newspaper really useful.” Steve finished his section with some lasting advice when he said: “Contacts are massive” and he added “(you’ve) gotta be a good blagger.”
By Alex Maidment First Year Student