Ten journalism students due to graduate from Liverpool John Moores University this summer gained valuable experience of real-life sports reporting when they covered live football at Marine FC.
With the ambition of one day becoming proper sports journalists in mind, the JMU Sports Journalism class used their time wisely at the Arriva Stadium in Crosby, north of Liverpool, under the guidance of their lecturer and former BBC, FIFA and UEFA journalist John Mathews, as well as JMU Journalism’s Senior Editor Chris Shaw, who now works for FIFA.
Marine FC took on Kendal Town in an important non-league match for reaching the play-offs of the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier, but the hosts failed to take all the three points and had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Kendal took the lead after Marine’s stand-in skipper Neil Harvey missed an early penalty-kick, before Aaron Rey struck back for the hosts after the break to secure one point.
The JMU sports class started off their evening at Marine with a pre-match press conference with the club chairman, Paul Leary, and their injured captain, goalkeeper Ryan McMahon.
During the game, the group sat in the stand typing up live match reports, and at the final whistle, they had just four minutes to hand in their work.
One of the students, Trondur Arge from the Faroe Islands, enjoyed swapping the usual classroom exercises with some live football. He said: “As always, I wasn’t hoping for any late goals at the end, meaning that I’d have to change my introduction, but my biggest concern this time was, however, that the power on my computer would run out. It was a great experience.”
After the game, the student journalists wrapped up the day with a post-match press conference with Marine’s manager Kevin Lynch and the unlucky penalty taker and skipper for the day, Neil Harvey.
Lecturer Mathews said: “I guess most aspiring football journalists dream of working at the Champions League or the World Cup, but I started off my career covering games at a non-league club just like Marine FC. Having to work to a tight deadline, with no TV replays or match commentary to rely on, is a difficult challenge, and I think the lads got a lot out of it.”