Every Saturday afternoon, even throughout the recent lockdowns, hundreds of football reporters are sent to football grounds all over the UK to broadcast the news of games, goals, controversies, red cards and resignations back to fans across TV, radio and online, all in real-time.
Pre-match team news, live updates, half-time and full-time hits, social media duties, and those often awkward post-match interviews all feed the news-hungry modern football fan.
But the role has changed - the pandemic has seen press conferences held on zoom, technology improvements and budget cuts mean reporters are often seen filming, editing and filing their own interviews, multi-platform coverage means reporters must create content specific output 24/7, and now, to make things trickier, football teams regularly give interview priority to their own media channels and in-house reporters on match day... so the competition to get what you need on the touch-line and in the tunnel has gotten tougher than ever.
But with more football being beamed around the globe than ever before and with the rise and rise of women’s football coverage added to the growth of live-streaming capability and demand there is now more football to be reported on than ever before.
So, want to know what it takes to be a football reporter? How to ask the killer question? How to scoop a big transfer story? How to shoot and edit your interviews? How to build your contacts and break into sport broadcast in the first place? And what that landscape might look like 5 years from now...
On Thursday June 3rd, RTS Cymru Wales hosts an online panel discussion entitled “The Evolution of the Football Reporter”.
A selection of Wales’ leading football reporters are coming together to discuss, debate and deconstruct the role of the football reporter and to give you an insight into an average day in their lives, from pre match press conference to full time whistle and beyond - whether that’s for the Sky Sports Soccer Saturday show (Abi Davies and Bryn Law) or S4C’s Sgorio programme (Sioned Dafydd Rowlands), BBC Final Score (Laura Kenyon and Marc Webber) or BBC Sport Wales coverage on Radio Wales (Ian Hunt) and Radio Cymru (Owain Llyr), or live on air for BBC 5 Live Sport (Naz Premji).
The discussion forms part of Expo’r Wal Goch (The Red Wall Expo) a four day online festival offering a stage to explore Welsh football’s social, cultural and political impact.
Organiser of the Expo, Tim Hartley said
“Welsh football fans may not be going to the Euros this summer but they will still be celebrating their passion for our national game through a series of talks and panel discussions designed to bring football people in Wales together to share experience and build networks. If you have ever fancied yourself as the next Bryn Law, Gabby Logan or Kelly Cates then you should tune in to this special RTS Cymru Expo session on the changing face of football reporting. In the age of social media, live blogs, live-streams, zoom press conferences and podcasts, reporters have to be a jack of all trades. This session will offer advice to aspiring journalists on how to get your first foot on the football reporting ladder and how to stay there!”
Joe Towns, an RTS Board Member and producer of these panels is a Sport Broadcast Lecturer and a TV Sports Exec, he knows the value of a good reporter…
“The football reporter is the beating heart of every sports newsroom, they are also at the centre of all live football broadcasts, they are the closest to the action, patrolling the touchline, they are first to see the players arrive, the first and last in the in the running order, from delivering pre-match team news to asking the tough questions after the game. They are feeding us information all through the match, they are your eyes and ears around the dug-out and in the stands. They are on first name terms with everyone from the kitman to the physio to the manager, but they also need a thick skin and a ruthless streak. They hear all the rumours and transfer gossip. They have a radar for a story, a bursting contacts book and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game. We have managed to select the ultimate fantasy football panel of reporters from the biggest broadcasters around. And for once it’ll be them answering the tough questions!”
Book your spot on the 2pm (English language) event here