Wednesday, February 15, 2012...9:00 am

Five tips for success in sports journalism from Times football editor Tony Evans

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Last week, Times football editor Tony Evans (@TonyEvansTimes) came to speak to journalism undergraduates at UCA Farnham. Here is his advice to J-students on how to get ahead in sports reporting. (Works for other kinds of journalism too…)

  • Build contacts
    Don’t be shy – make contact with people in the sporting and media world via email and Twitter; and maintain your contacts with regular calls and meets. 
  • Write about more than football
    Get experience on news (i.e. non sport) at local level – it’s excellent preparation. Also write about topics such as business. Be a broader journalist to be a better football writer.
  • Be confident – but have some humility 
    It’s great to push yourself forward – but don’t write to the football editor and say “I can do a better job than your football correspondent – he’s rubbish”. You’re probably wrong and you will look a tool. Be polite and persistent to get noticed. 
  • Blog
    Keep your online presence going – it’s a great opportunity to show what you can do 
  • Aim high
    Always think you can be the best (or at least be better)

What’s more important – contacts or prose style?
Contacts – always. Evans cited an example of a young journalist who was a great writer, but was shy – “he didn’t really like talking to people he didn’t know”. In contrast, another young journalist wrote “English as a second language” – but he was plugged into his club and always got stories. Guess who was in the firing line when the next round of job cuts hit?

Are there still opportunities for student football writers?
Evans sees his job as being on the lookout for the next generation of writing talent – if as an editor you’re not in that business, you shouldn’t be doing the job. Follow the tips above and there’s every chance you can succeed…

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