THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN – ED HIGGS, SKY SPORTS
Ed Higgs graduated with a gold standard diploma in sports and news journalism from News Associates, studying on our academic year course in Manchester. He was this year’s successful applicant to the Sky Sports News graduate training scheme.
When you start the 40-week sports multimedia diploma, it all seems rather daunting. There’s a timetable that probably puts your university schedule to shame, events to cover at weekends, and, of course, shorthand. Don’t panic!
A lot of the early part of the course is about finding rhythm and routine, and whilst it should be stressed that nobody gets left behind, you can give yourself the best chance of hitting the ground running.
Read as much as you can, and think critically about what you’re reading. Why is that story on the front page? Why has the reporter led on that line? Why has the editor chosen that accompanying photo?
And much like a batsman or a golfer, writing is about keeping your eye in. It doesn’t matter if you’re jotting thoughts down about Roy Hodgson on a word document or helping out on work experience at the Telegraph, as the by-lines will come when the course starts. Practice is far more important than prestige.
Speaking of by-lines, the experience received through Sportsbeat and Mancunian Matters is invaluable. No match should be treated as too insignificant to be covered, and no story should be written off as irrelevant. Trainees will never pretend that interviewing strangers is easy to begin with, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes, and, most of the time, interviewees want to get their story out there.
Overall, my advice would simply be to embrace it. In the first five months of my course, I interviewed Tyson Fury and Stuart Lancaster, and reported on the football team that I’ve supported my entire life.
The only reason those ‘pinch-yourself’ moments happened is that I threw myself into the course from day one, so make sure your batteries are charged, both in your dictaphone and your body. Good luck!