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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

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, but the lecturers on the course also have so many contacts who they are more than happy to put you in touch with for relevant projects. Had it not been for the lecturers, I would not have been able to secure my first freelancing gig at M&Y News Agency.

Tell us a little about your career story so far

I started covering Swindon Town’s matches for M&Y News Agency in my second year at Solent University. I started covering Premier League matches before graduating and then joined the Southern Daily Echo to report on Southampton FC. I was fortunate enough to be approached by The Athletic in July 2020 and have remained there since.

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

My initial role for The Athletic was to report on Southampton FC, but in July 2022 I relocated to Manchester to start covering City and United, as well as general football news. The majority of my day is spent on the phone chasing stories and writing. Because of the football news element, one day I’ll be on the phone to FIFA and agents discussing the new intermediary regulations and the following day I could be chasing news about Manchester United. 

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 don’t spend too much time looking back as my role is so busy, but there have been several moments where I take a step back and think how lucky I am to get paid to do this job. A recent moment that sticks out is travelling to Monaco to interview Rafaela Pimenta, one of the most powerful agents in football. Breaking stories, particularly about Manchester United where it is so competitive, always gives you a buzz.

What's your area of study to you?

Sports journalism isn’t just watching Premier League football and writing about it. It’s about picking up the phone and speaking to people — you won’t break stories or land interviews by staring at your laptop all day. 

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

Pick up the phone and call people. Opportunities seldom fall into your lap, especially when you are starting out, so you have to make them happen for yourself.  Also, work out the type of writer you want to be, develop it, and then stick to it.