A behind the scenes guide to studying at News Associates: The 2018 SJA British Sports Awards

There are countless exclusive opportunities you get as a News Associates trainee and our relationship with the Sports Journalists’ Association is just one of them.

We love catching up with our journalism trainees as they undertake their NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism at News Associates officially the UK’s number one NCTJ school.

Already know it’s the career for you? Apply now to study on our fast-track, part-time or sports journalism course.

Here, News Associates journalism trainee Nicola Kenton tells us all about covering the Sports Journalists’ Association 2018 British Sports Awards…

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STARS: Sports journalism trainee Nicola Kenton interviewing Dina Asher-Smith at the British Sports Awards as part of our collaboration with the Sports Journalists’ Association

“In the 12th week of my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism at News Associates, I was given the opportunity to attend the Sports Journalists’ Association 2018 British Sports Awards after I was crowned news quiz champion.

A team of four News Associates trainees from London and Manchester – Sam France, Ella Jerman, David Saunders and I – attended the event, which took place at the Pavilion at the Tower of London – a dramatic backdrop for some of the great names in British sport from 2018.

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#TEAMNA: Sam France, Ella Jerman, Nicola Kenton and David Saunders

In the venue, we had our own area where we conducted interviews with the athletes and my role was to write up interviews for the SJA website.

As the event opened and the great and good of British sport began to arrive, the challenge was on to try and find the athletes we wanted to interview.

Dina Asher-Smith, who later won Sportswoman of the Year, was the first athlete to enter our media zone where she recorded a video interview before speaking to me.

I was extremely nervous that Asher-Smith was the first person I was going to interview that day, but she put me at ease straight away and we chatted about her breakout year and her plans building up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The other interviews I have conducted during the course for South West Londoner have been over the phone, so to speak face-to-face was a new challenge and it was completely different to what I had been doing on my placement days.

After that high-pressured start, I felt much more at ease going up to athletes and asking if I could interview them for the site, gaining more confidence as the event went on.

I never imagined that I would be in a room and speaking to so many world-class athletes. There were cricketers Sam Curran, Tammy Beaumont and Alex Stewart, athletics legend David Hemery, as well as the Commonwealth gold-winning England netball team.

I was also fortunate to speak to three members of GB’s world championship-winning wheelchair basketball team, former Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu and European gold medal-winning gymnast Dominick Cunningham.

When the awards were taking place we had the opportunity to begin transcribing and writing up our articles.

But our work for the day was not yet done, as we still had to find several key athletes to interview after the awards ceremony had finished but persistence paid off and we interviewed everybody we wanted to.

Going home after the awards was surreal having been in a room full of so many sports stars and interviewing so many award winners.

It was a great opportunity which was both challenging and rewarding but one that I feel I fully embraced.”

Follow in Nicola’s footsteps and apply for our fast-track, part-time or sports journalism courses now

Get a glimpse into the industry and our style of training by coming along to one of our free news and sports journalism workshops.