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Daniel Sheldon

BA (Hons) Sports Journalism
Graduated 2018

Portrait image of Daniel Sheldon

How did university prepare you for your career?

University helped me prepare for my career by giving me the platform to go out and get real-life work experience. Not only that, the lecturers on the course have a plethora of contacts who they are more than happy to let you use if you ask them. Because of these contacts, I managed to get myself freelancing opportunities at M&Y News Agency.

Tell us a little about your career story so far

My freelance career started at the beginning of my second year when I started covering Swindon Town’s matches for M&Y News Agency. That continued throughout the season, and I remember seeing the course leader at Fratton Park for one of Portsmouth’s fixtures and saying that hopefully covering Swindon would lead to bigger and better things. After proving myself at Swindon, I was given the opportunity to cover Bournemouth and Southampton in the Premier League for the national newspapers. To be reporting on Premier League games before the start of my final year at Solent is something that I am immensely proud of.

Tell us about what you're doing now and what it involves

A typical match day involves me arriving at the stadium two hours before the game starts. This gives me time to chat to other journalists, eat some lunch and then do any final preparation for the match, if I need to. I then watch the match at the same time as writing my report, which is normally sent once the referee blows the final whistle. After that, I sit down in the press conference to speak to the managers. I then rewrite my match report but base it on what the managers have said. From there, I go into the mixed zone to try and grab a player to interview for a follow up piece which will appear in the newspapers on Monday.

This course is for you if you have a passion for sports news and you want to be given the tools to learn how to deliver that news to an audience.

What’s your career highlight so far?

I have had many pinch-yourself moments so far. Interviewing Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Jürgen Klopp all stand out. But my current highlight is having an article published in The Times. It is my dream to one day work there, so when I saw my name written above the story I had written, it was a moment I won’t forget.

What's your area of study to you?

Sports journalism isn’t just watching Premier League football and writing about it. It’s about being inquisitive, having a natural flair to your writing, having the confidence to ask questions, and ultimately picking up a telephone to ring someone. As a generation that spends a lot of time playing on our phones, all too often we are too scared to use it to call someone.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?

If I were to give one tip to students looking for a career in this industry, it would be to put yourself out there. Had I not volunteered at M&Y News Agency in my first year, I wouldn’t have been covering Premier League football in my final year. Don’t just expect opportunities to fall into your lap – you have to make them happen for yourself.