A day in the life of a News Associates sports journalism trainee

We love catching up with our trainees as they undertake their journalism courses at News Associates – the UK’s number one NCTJ journalism school. This week, sports journalist Martin Voller describes a day in the life of a trainee on our NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism – which is the number one ranked journalism course of any kind in the UK.

“Every day is different on the sports journalism course at News Associates.

Our journalism tutors keep us on our toes with a variety of tasks – one day we’re live tweeting the Cheltenham Festival, the next we’re presenting our own news bulletins in front of a green screen to The Sun football league reporter Tom Barclay, and then we’re pitching a PR campaign for a brand new sporting event to Steve Chisholm of Run Communications.

We’re taught all the key aspects of journalism – from court reporting to video production – so when we leave News Associates we are as prepared as we possibly can be for the world of work.

Our tutors do all they can to help us along the way but in true News Associates style sometimes they throw us in the deep end – ‘you don’t learn journalism from a textbook’ they say. And they’re right.

We’re regularly given impromptu tasks to complete, including being told to write a story from scratch with multiple quotes within just a few hours, with the best being published on South West Londoner or Mancunian Matters.

Other instances include creating a mobile journalism piece the same day – and that’s all on top of the dearly-loved surprise news quiz, so be sure to stay on top of your current affairs.

Every day we walk through the door we are greeted straight away by the back (and front) pages of the UK’s biggest daily newspapers, giving us the chance to catch up with the latest stories from some of our favourite journalists.

But once we’re finished reading, we soon get writing.

We quickly learnt that to be a successful sports journalist, you first have to be a good journalist.

Our writing, interviewing and editing skills are put to the test when we create our monthly sport e-zines for South West Londoner.

As well as writing regularly for South West Londoner, we also have the opportunity to hone our sport reporting and interviewing skills with Sportsbeat.

Every weekend we get the opportunity to cover football, hockey, rugby and more for Sportsbeat and see our work published across a range of websites and papers.

The NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism teaches us everything from match reporting to feature writing alongside other core modules including public affairs, media law and Teeline shorthand.

For me, one of the best aspects of the sports journalism course is how reactive it is.

Take the Westminster terror attack, or the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport for example.

We immediately stopped our scheduled lessons and began reporting on the events – from doing research in the office, practising writing rolling news updates in a safe environment or actually getting out there and interviewing people when the story falls on our patch.

And this is where shorthand is helpful.

We are taught the art of Teeline shorthand from the moment we walk through the door and while it can sometimes be a painful process going from the alphabet to being able to dictate 100 words-per-minute, the hard work is incredibly worthwhile and rewarding.

Our tutors are all experienced journalists who have reported from press boxes and council meetings across the country and they show us exactly what it takes to succeed in this ever-changing industry.

We have covered everything from the Australian Open final, to Sutton United’s incredible FA Cup journey.

As such a big sport fans, what is better than being surrounded by like-minded individuals reporting on the greatest sporting events in the world?”

See what our other fast-track, part-time and sports journalism trainees have been up to here and here.

Thinking about applying for our sports journalism courses? Read this advice from #TeamNA and about our collaboration with Sportsbeat – the UK’s leading sports news agency. 

We are now recruiting for our September and October intakes in London and Manchester – apply now