On Wednesday night a hugely informative talk was delivered to boys concerning the possibility of sports journalism as a career path – Seb Stafford-Bloor, Daniel Storey and Iain Macintosh all gave a detailed account of their experiences within the world of football journalism, and gave pieces of advice to anyone aspiring to follow in their footsteps. Stafford-Bloor, being an Old Etonian, found it initially difficult to enter the industry, but emphasized the importance to be yourself when applying for a role in the sector – the general importance of decency and humility was shared by everyone, as accounted for when speaking of George Caulkin offering a visit to a local pub in the north east while discussing various aspects of the footballing world.

Another valuable aspect of being a journalist was that of flexibility, as it was noted that the media is constantly changing, and so you must be adaptable to maximize every opportunity that is available to you. For example, Macintosh stopped his career in journalism in 2017, having written for ESPN, as well as in Singapore, to begin a variety of podcasts such as the Totally Football Podcast under his network, as he foresaw that it could be a success. A lot of mental strength and perseverance was another part of their careers which was noted frequently, as opinions can be ridiculed by both fans and other writers through social media – they jokingly described journalists as being like ‘mean girls with typewriters’, displaying the competitive nature of the industry.

One of the challenges of journalism is that of patience, as some may feel little sense of progress at times, as it is a long process towards great success. This means that one must not be afraid to pursue various chances, and must also write about football mainly for love of the game, instead of citing their motivation as money. Practice of skill through reading and writing was suggested as a means of improvement, as you must be able to constantly produce ideas within your constructs to retain high levels of success – it was also mentioned how some journalists are disingenuous in their slight embellishment of their titles to attract more viewers, as everyone is hungry for exposure.

However, the main motivation behind pursuing this career was that of enjoyment of watching football – Storey detailed how he had his ‘epiphany’ moment while travelling through eastern Europe and watching football, having previously been in South Africa during the preparations for the 2010 World Cup, as you will be doing it perpetually throughout your career. This proved to be an insightful and engaging talk, especially for those in attendance who are interested in forging a career in sports journalism in the future.

Shaun Johnson