Top football reporter offers advice to aspiring journalists

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Nick Mashiter

BY SAM PINKHAM

JOURNALISM students at DMU were treated to tips on how to break into the newspaper industry last week, when national sports reporter Nick Mashiter returned to the university he once studied at.

The 31-year-old, who currently covers Premiership football clubs across the Midlands for the UK’s leading news agency the Press Association, gave sports journalism students an intriguing behind-the-scenes insight into reporting on the players, the managers and the money-men agents.

The 3rd year students were eager to ask questions, but Nick, whose stories regularly appear in Fleet Street papers from The Times to the Daily Express, was quick to warn them of the challenges that come with the job.

He said: “you’ll need to work your nuts off for not much gratitude and not much money in return.

“Sports journalism isn’t the easiest thing to get into. I know it’s a cliché but it really is a case of not what you know, but who you know.”

Nick, who graduated from the NCTJ-accredited Postgraduate Diploma at DMU in 2006, was full of praise for the course and how it prepared him for his first job at a weekly paper in Wiltshire and then as a sports reporter at the Wolverhampton Express & Star where he covered the 2012 Olympics.

He said: “By the time I left DMU, I felt I was ready for my first job. I’ve found out how great a skill shorthand is to have, and my knowledge of media law is useful as well.

“I’ve realised that to be a journalist you need to have a thick skin, and you just need to take the abuse that you sometimes get.”

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Sports journalism module leader John Dilley said: “It is absolutely fantastic to have Nick come in to talk to the students because he knows exactly what the current journalism students are going through.”

The sports journalism students have more high-profile experts lined up to talk to them with trips planned to Leicester City, Leicester Tigers and Leicestershire Cricket Club later in the year to gain more industry insight.

Can we trust any top-level Tennis player?

By Emma Neary

Match fixing scandals have been a key centre of discussion in the past week after Novak Djokovic announced that he had previously been offered money to lose a match. This came as a shock to the world of Tennis raising the question as to whether betting in the sport should be banned.

However, despite the BBC and Buzzfeed receiving leaked documents about previous match fixing investigations, nothing seems to be being done about it. I can’t help but question whether crime in sport is being taken seriously enough.

According to the BBC and Buzzfeed, a number of matches in 2007 were highlighted to the Tennis authorities, three of which were at Wimbledon. The information presented was said to have provided enough evidence to pursue the offenders however suspiciously, no action was taken.

This can only lead us to question why nothing has been followed up since then? To make things more interesting, they are not naming the corrupt players. With the fans paying money to watch the sport, would it not be fair for them to know the names of the corrupt players?

An ex-Tennis player from South America told the BBC that match-fixing is still on going; stating that fewer players would be tempted to fix if they were getting paid more. This doesn’t come to a surprise as Djokovic netted £1.88m from winning Wimbledon’s men’s singles final in 2015. Although, the ex-player further claims that fixing is not just limited to lower-ranked professionals, raising suspicion amongst the elite players, despite the denial of any knowledge from the likes of Serena Williams.

Are the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) even trying to stop it? Are they simply trying to protect the image of Tennis as being a clean sport?

The TIU responded to match fixing claims stating that ‘any suggestion that evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed’; but leaving it to suspicion can only lead to further speculation. Players need to feel confident that they can speak out, and those who have been a part of match-fixing should be named.

The fixing system arguably, doesn’t seem to be taken seriously enough with so many previous cases being swept under the carpet. Is the temptation too difficult for non-elite players to resist? How can we find out whether the top-level players are match fixing or not?

The association needs to re-instate its rules and regulations due to the on-going occurrence of this issue for Tennis. This doesn’t give the audience and retrospective upcoming new talent insightfulness into sportsmanship. Surely it should be about the love of the sport, not the rewards.

“Just keep motivated” – A graduate’s advice for securing a full time job

By Natalie Whitehouse

Patience and hard work are key to securing a full time job, says Shriya Pancholi; a Journalism and Media graduate who managed to get employed as a Social Media Assistant by Dunelm – without even having to go for an interview!

The 21-year-old fashion enthusiast applied for a host of jobs before securing the position at Dunelm, after already applying for a different role within the company:

“I originally applied for the role of Public Relations Assistant around August and had an interview for the role. My interviewer was very happy with the skills, qualities and experience I had but decided that I would be perfectly suited to a job in social media, and told me that if a social media vacancy ever came up, she would offer me the job.”

Shriya also notes that previous experience at the company assisted her greatly in becoming part of the Dunelm team:

“During my final year I managed to get a four week placement at Dunelm within the PR and Social Media Department. I put myself out there and looked for a placement, even though it wasn’t a requirement of my course. Because the manager and the rest of the team remembered me, she was more than happy to offer me a job.”

Experience definitely plays a major role in securing a full time job after university. As well as her placement at Dunelm, Shriya has undertaken a vast amount of work within journalism, most notably as a writer for The Demon and fashion blogger for Bonafide Supernova:

“Even if you don’t need work experience or a placement for your degree, it is really important to do it anyway,” she stresses, “I wouldn’t have the great job I have today if I didn’t put myself out there and give up some of my time – it was definitely worth it.”

Shriya Pancholi

As for her role at Dunelm, Shriya has been Social Media Assistant at the company since the end of September – after finishing traveling in the Far East, no less.

Some of her day-to-day duties include checking the social channels, liaising with the web and digital marketing team and speaking to external PR agencies, as well as being involved in projects, citing Dunelm’s recent Christmas competition as her favourite thus far.

Alongside this, Shriya also writes Dunelm’s quarterly company magazine, the Gazette, focusing on colleague information, managerial updates and financial reviews:

“I love writing the Gazette,” she adds, “Because I come from a Journalism and Media background, I love being able to merge the two in my role and it’s great to see the finished version of the Gazette once it has been printed.”

The diversity and constant changes within her role are also qualities which have made Shriya fall in love with what she does:

“I love the fact that I have something new to come in to everyday. Although I’m running the same social channels and focusing on similar content, there’s always something new that pops up. It’s really interesting learning something new every day. No two days are the same!”

But the graduate does admit she misses university life, and has a message for all current students:

“I absolutely love my job, but I do miss university. I would say to all students, make the most of your time at university, because it goes so fast! Yes, I hated the 9:00am lectures and yes I hated sitting through seminars that seemed to go on for hours, but looking back, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.”

And Shriya also has some encouraging words for graduates who are still seeking employment:

“Even if you don’t have your dream job yet, just keep motivated, work hard and it’ll only be a matter of time before you have the career you really want.”

Journalism graduate secures dream role

By Natalie Whitehouse

A love of music and a ton of hard work has seen recent journalism graduate Rachael Scarsbrook land a job in the industry she has strived to be in for years.

The 21-year-old graduated last summer from De Montfort, and has secured a position with Renegade Music as a Promotions Assistant – but it wasn’t without a lot of hard work, commitment and perseverance:

“I worked closely with Renegade whilst I was music editor of The Demon for the last two years of my degree,” she notes, “and upon graduating, I merely enquired as to the possibility of an internship or a part time job. It took a few months for something to become available, but I was contacted for an interview in September and was successful, and I’ve been there ever since!”

At first Rachael’s position at the promotions agency was part time, working two days a week and also being employed at a coffee shop – meaning sometimes she was working an incredibly tiring seven days a week just to get by.

Although she admits it was tough, it has definitely been worth it for what she states is a job in a industry she has been striving towards working in for a number of years – especially since her position became full time at the start of this month.

And her experience prior to graduating from DMU is something that helped her stand out as a candidate, with her degree in journalism also playing an incredibly vital part:

“My experience within music journalism certainly gave me a massive advantage. A lot of my work is signing new clients and so I need to have a really good grasp on all sorts of genres and what is happening in the world.

“My degree is probably the biggest help, as it taught me how to work in a professional journalism environment and a lot of the practices I learnt over the course of my degree are things I use day to day.”

In terms of these day-to-day tasks, Rachael focuses on processing reports for her record label clients so that they can examine the effectiveness of their campaigns. She also suggests new labels and artists that her company could benefit from working with, as well as assisting on projects at Renegade:

“I am involved quite heavily in all of the projects that we run, but in particular I am involved with a small rotation of bands that I have signed up to the company and are firmly on the up and coming lists of all the music blogs, which is a very exciting thing to see unfolding.”

The perks of the job are also pretty great for such an avid music fan:

“I think the most exciting thing so far is all of the gigs and events that I now have access to. A sold out gig is no longer an issue and the new vinyl or CD releases always come our way first. I am really enjoying all of it, but first and foremost as a music fan there is nothing better than free gigs and vinyl!”

Grateful to be employed in a role that is “certainly along the lines” of her dream job, Rachael is now looking at how she can use this as a platform for the future and a stepping-stone for the next steps in her career:

“I feel very lucky to have more or less landed straight into where I want to be for the future, and I’m building up lists of contacts that are invaluable for future career prospects.

“My plans for the future centre around working at a specific record label to manage some of the bigger bands, and maybe move in to actual band management.”

Social Media whizz lands BBC job

By Natalie Whitehouse

Social media is at the forefront of everything nowadays, providing us with instant up to date information at the click of a button and a tap of an app. After graduating from De Montfort in the summer with a 2:1, 22-year-old graduate Hollie Copas also landed herself a job in the booming industry, as Social Media Coordinator for BBC Recruitment – in a slightly different way than usual:

“I saw the role on Twitter. The job required you to send a tweet summarising why you would be good for the role. I then got a direct message from the recruiter and he asked for my CV. I sent over my CV and to my surprise was offered an interview.

“It was an unconventional way of recruiting,” she admits, “they wanted to test a social recruitment strategy, so what better than a social media role? I headed down to London and had to present for 20 minutes and critique their current use of social and add my suggestions, and a few days later I received the call!”

The world of social media has always been home for Hollie, who held the role of Head of Social Media and Online Content for Demon Media whilst at university. She also landed a fantastic work experience placement with GoThinkBig, as Social Media Manager for Nile Rodgers’ and Rudimental’s collaboration in 2014.

The graduate, who also has experience in radio, notes that these roles enabled her to secure her a position with the BBC:

“I was honestly told that my experience with Demon Media stood out most on my application, and I was asked quite in depth about it in my interview. They also found my work experience with O2 GoThinkBig really interesting, and asked me about that too. “

This previous hard work saw the Media and Communication graduate the perfect fit for the role of Social Media Coordinator, a position that she began in July last year – and one she thoroughly enjoys:

“I enjoy the diversity the most. I enjoy how many different people I have had the opportunity to meet. I enjoy how much I get to travel around the country. I enjoy how friendly and encouraging everyone has been, and how willing others are to help. I have made some great friends, and had the chance to work on some amazing projects.”

A day in the life of a Social Media Coordinator includes monitoring the BBC LinkedIn as well as sourcing, creating and editing content for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Periscope. Hollie also liases with colleagues and recruiters to publicise job roles at the BBC, as well as advertising events and providing coverage too – often live tweeting from events.

She has recently created her own project entitled ‘A Day in the Life,’ which she states has been the most exciting part of her job so far:

“The project allows me to document a ‘day in the life’ of BBC employees and bring it to our audience online, who are hopefully job seekers wanting to work for the BBC. So far I have had the amazing opportunity to shadow Naga Munchetty, a BBC Breakfast newsreader, and Mark Chapman, sports broadcaster and host of MOTD and MOTD2.

“Working with BBC Sport and Mark Chapman was definitely the most exciting bit so far. I was so nervous beforehand, but he was the most genuine guy! He made me a cup of tea, sheltered me in the rain with his sports newspapers, and he was genuinely really approachable, allowing me to confidently gather the content I wanted!”

Although she misses the freedom of university life and admits she gets very sleepy working full time hours, Hollie is enjoying a role which she has strived for many years to succeed in:

“This is definitely along the lines of my dream job! Social media is something I wanted to do for a really long time, and it’s fair to say landing my first full time job after university with the BBC was pretty amazing.”