Sunday Times football reporter Jonathan Northcroft inspires DMU Sports Journalism students with brilliant talk

by Azim Saiyed. DMU Sports Journalism student

DMU sports journalism students were given an inspiring talk by Jonathan Northcroft, Sunday Times Chief Football writer, about his career, how he got into journalism – and tips to make it as a sports reporter.

Jonathan, an award-winning sports reporter and acclaimed author, spoke to the third year Sports Journalism students as part of their final year option module.

During his talk, Jonathan offered helpful advice and said: “Look for what you know that other people don’t know. Find something to specialise in – research it, do it well – and put it together.

“There are many people covering the Premier League – but what can you do that’s different that isn’t being covered?”

He entertained the students with stories of players he had interviewed, big games he had covered – and not always getting it right.

On the ball: Jonathan Northcroft, centre, with the DMU Sports Journalism students.

Journalism, he said, was not a complicated discipline – but you had to practise and find your voice. The key was making games interesting and accessible.

“Imagine you’re going straight from the game and you’re meeting your mate at the bar,” he said. “What you tell him is, more or less, what your report should be. It’s no more complicated than that.”

He spoke for more than two hours and gave students expert advice on how to write a live match report and opinion column, which they have to do as part of their assessment.

Jayden Whitworth, third year sports journalism student, said it was a fascinating talk.

“I think it can sometimes be difficult to see a pathway in journalism, so to hear how he managed to get into the industry and work his way up into the position he is in now was interesting,” he said.

“For me, he has the dream job so hearing the stories of matches he has reported on was very inspiring.”

Lee Marlow, senior journalism lecturer at DMU, takes the Sports Journalism module.

“Jonathan has been a brilliant help to DMU students over the years. He lives locally, and he’s always been genuinely supportive of the students and the course.

“It’s great for the students to hear from professional sports reporters at the top of their game – and they don’t come much better than Jonathan Northcroft.”

Jonathan regularly attends live Premier League matches and sends his incisive reports on the final whistle. He also writes features, columns and ghost writes columns for  The Sunday Times.

He is also the author of ‘Fearless’, the story of Leicester City’s fairy-tale 2016 Premier League triumph.

Earlier this year, the Sports Journalism students enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the King Power stadium, the home of Leicester City Football Club, and Welford Road, the home of the Tigers.

Press Box: Leicester City’s director of communications, Anthony Herlihy, addresses the DMU Sports Journalism students during a tour of the KP.

“It’s good to mix essential journalism lessons with visits and tours,” said lecturer Lee Marlow. “It makes the Sports Journalism lessons interesting and memorable.”

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