“A journalist is born not made.” That is the statement I had to grapple with to gain my university place at Liverpool John Moores back in 2007.
Whether it was by my grades or my written prowess, I made the final cut and got onto the course, allowing me to begin my journey into the media.
Now, almost six and a half years since my first day studying in Liverpool and nearly four years on from graduating, I live in the south and work for Sky Sports. My sport of choice? Rugby union.
So how did I get there? Determination and a bit of luck really, plus a friendly smile and the eagerness to deliver. I also count my university degree invaluable to giving me the confidence and skill needed to tackle the tough world of all that is current.
Throughout university, I pestered many an editor for work experience, and got it. My CV nicely fleshed out whilst my desires to work in certain sectors slimmed down.
Initially my heart was set on a newspaper role, but upon my fourth placement I was sadly discouraged. Realising my ethical stance wasn’t compatible with that of tabloids, I began to explore other avenues.
Once a graduate, I moved to London and worked for a small media company. This allowed me to express my creativity and produce short TV news packages for an online audience. Skills I had gained at university matched perfectly with those required, so I was in my element.
After a year of learning it was time for me to move on, and Sky Sports was my target.
Despite sending numerous CVs and blagging my way through the switchboard to the Managing Director (who was very pleasant and offered some advice) it was a chance meeting that picked up the job search.
I met a former Sky employee at a rugby match and in turn organised some work experience. The timing of my placement could not have been more perfect as the department was in transition. I arrived on the same day as the new boss and was told two vacancies had just opened up. By my third day I was offered some paid shift work, and after two weeks a researcher role was mine.
This was in September 2011 and I’ve been there ever since. I must admit, I felt completely out of my depth when I first accepted the job. There was so much to learn, new processes to get to grips with and the pressure of live shows to handle. But over time my skills have developed and I’ve been awarded more trust and responsibility.
Day to day in the office I log results, search the news for stories and build profiles on players. I compile information packs for commentators, presenters and producers concerning the weekend’s games, and also analyse statistics of specific players and teams.
During the weekends I work as part of the graphics team at rugby matches to deliver relevant stats & analysis, whilst ensuring the producer gets what he or she wants.
There have been many highlights while working for Sky. I always love days at Twickenham being a part of the big tests. I played a pivotal role in the research for the 2013 Lions Tour to Australia and have recently worked hard producing key live information for round six of The Heineken Cup.
The social side is fun too. I work with a fantastic team and we socialise together often when on the road. I ran the London Marathon for our colleague and stroke survivor Michael Lynagh last year, and have been privileged to attend many dinners, functions and parties on behalf of Sky.
I’m excited to progress.