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MEDIA WEEKLY: University and Stepping onto the Ladder

25 August 2016

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If you didn't catch Iain’s introduction of myself a few weeks back, I’m one of two students from Huddersfield University on work placement here at the Proact this season.

This week the Media Weekly column is hoping to give you an insight into the life of a third year sports journalism student - yes, that is a real course!

Course Introduction

Every year Huddersfield University gets hundreds of applications for their Sports Journalism course, ranked among the best in the country. Then each September around 50 of these students join the course and are given a tough introduction to life in the industry.  

“During your careers you could become alcoholics, divorced, earn little money and see few days off, but, we can absolutely guarantee you, that you will love your career!” We were jokingly informed in tongue-in-cheek fashion by the course leaders. 

Two years on and the lot of us are at sports clubs, newspapers and radio stations across the north of England, the media team even bumped into a fellow third year at Shrewsbury, of all places, last week. 

You arrive thinking you know it all and that you’re made for the industry, but you quickly realise just how much work you have got to do, writing headlines for the King’s Lynn news paper isn't exactly ‘Hollywood work’ after all. 

Along the way I have picked up work experience in some great places, including the Press Association, Dewsbury Rams RLFC and the All England Badminton Championships, learning from some of the best pros in the business. 

The Chesterfield Media Team 

I dabbled with some work experience at Chesterfield last season, coming in during the week and covering a number of matches when their regular students were unavailable. 

What are the media team really like? They are good fun and hard working, one of the great things about the Proact is that the press room is in the centre of everything, the players walk in and out of it on a daily basis and on their way back from training. 

Danny Wilson and co. can often be found in the press room, while it is hard to keep others out (in a good way of course). 

Physio Rodger Wylde and academy manager Mark ‘Smudge’ Smith are always good value for money, making sure to critique your music or clothing choices. On many work placements you can spend long periods of time passing cups of coffee around the office, on very few could you find the first-team manager making you a coffee, but it is certainly a feature at this club. 

Despite being with the team for just nine months, you really do find yourself becoming sucked into the club rather quickly, as Iain mentioned in a previous edition. When the Spireites score, it is hard to remain buckled into your seat. 

Home Comforts

After two fantastic home victories at the Proact, Saturday’s loss to Shrewsbury Town pulled a few of us down to earth. Filming was the duty of the day for me and upon returning to edit the footage, it was striking to see the amount of chances created and narrowly missed. 

With work experience comes expenses and as any student will tell you, the loan doesn't go particularly far, so part-time work is a necessity. 

An insight into my weekend? I began work at 6pm on the Friday and didn't finish until 4am. I was then up the next morning at 8am for the long trip to Shrewsbury and by the time I returned to Huddersfield it was 8pm. I then changed into my work uniform to work again at 9pm, returning again in the early hours, before covering the Dewsbury Rams match against Halifax the next day. 

Ground Hopping

As a football fan, one of the things I will most be looking forward to this season will be ticking off a number of football grounds during the season: The Den, Ricoh Arena and The Valley among those I have yet to visit. While I am excited to return to a stadium slightly nearer to my hometown in Norfolk at Peterborough in December. 

By going as part of the media team you get to visit areas of the stadium that would normally be restricted: the players' tunnel, the press room and pitchside areas I will have access to during the season. 

The career of a sports journalist certainly comes with its perks, even when in its infancy, as mine is. 

Craig Draycott - Spireites Media Team

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