So you want to be a sports editor…

As a member of the student media group at Staffordshire University (One Media Group, or OMG) ever since starting at uni, I’ve had my eye on the Head of Sport role. But this isn’t going to be a heart-felt sob story about how someone else got the job. I got it and I like to think I’m bossing it.

Five hours of radio airtime a week? Not a problem. Introduce a Five Live-style commentary show covering uni sports teams? Got it sorted. Organising 15 or so reporters to fill the slots on these shows AND write reports for the web AND create content for the radio? Hardly breaking a sweat.

Not only that, I also get time to present, appear as a panelist and commentate for all three shows alongside all the work I have to do for my course (apparently the reason I’m at uni). Doesn’t sound like too much of a challenge, really. At times it has its difficulties but usually I don’t loose any sleep over it.

Until now…

Every academic year Staffs Uni plays near-neighbours Keele in the annual Varsity competition. It’s a bit like the various Oxford v. Cambridge sports competitions, except we hold everything on one mammoth day and it’s less posh (at least it was until I came along). 17 sports from across the spectrum played this year on March 20 against our biggest rivals and OMG covers it all in every way possible.

And of course it’s the Head of Sport who organises all this coverage, culminating in two live commentaries of the men’s rugby union followed by the men’s football.

I have relished Varsity in each of the last two years and I relish it again this year. For journalism students it’s probably as close as we get at uni to the sort of professional environment most of us want to work in. But is it daunting this time round, considering OMGs success or failure covering the event is effectively my responsibility? You bet.

It may be in March, but I’ve been thinking about Varsity 2013 since about November. Just little things, making notes, that sort of stuff. Now though it’s getting real; meetings galore, with reporters, with the students’ union, with the student TV group (who aren’t the same as OMG) and our opposite numbers at Keele.

The big thing for me at the moment is starting to allocate jobs to my team. The easy bit was deciding the commentators for the football match; myself and my deputy Michael Redford are covering it as it’s our final year and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from our many commentary partnerships on Game On (OMGs weekly commentary show). A bit harder was telling the others that they won’t get a chance to do it as it is usually very hotly contested. Fortunately the advent of a rugby commentary alleviates this slightly.

But the biggest challenge will be trying to match everyone with one of their three preferred fixtures, staffing the production computers, the social media sites, our live text updates, the presenting slots and covering the men’s fencing (usually the one nobody volunteers for).

Can I keep everyone happy? Hopefully. Am I going to have upset some people? Inevitably. Am I still looking forward to every facet of coordinating OMGs Varsity coverage? Definitely.

Wish me luck…


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