By Emma Hartley
From being out in France covering the Women’s World Cup to a BBC Kick Off placement in my local area what a summer it has been for me so far.
This summer has certainly been a huge one for me where I’ve not only developed as a young football journalist but where I’ve developed as a person. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone, worked hard and done things I thought I never would which has built up my skills and made me even more confident working up and away in this incredible industry.
My summer was well and truly kick started when I flew out to France with the University of Derby for the Women’s World Cup in June. I flew out there so excited and determined but I also traveled out into the unknown. I didn’t know what to expect and what was going to happen. However, I was ready to push myself out of my comfort zone the minute I got out there as that is installed into me and my work ethic. It can be hard to do that sometimes and it is very challenging but every single time I do it I feel so proud of myself and hit huge achievements.
The trip was absolutely incredible from start to finish and I really did live a dream for two and a half weeks. From being in press boxes, press conferences, on the radio, having work published and vlogging I truly did make the very most of every single experience.
As many of you know I have my very own YouTube channel- Emma CFC TV and when I was out there I decided to vlog every single day from the minute I got on the plane to travel out there until I stepped off the plane to come home and return to my family. I am very passionate about vlogging and even more so when I was doing it in a different country. I find vlogging so enjoyable and one of the main reasons I do it is to bring fans with me on the experience that aren’t able to go to the games. I was privileged enough to be able to go to many games in Nice and Montpellier but I know a lot of fans weren’t able to go due to work commitments and finical circumstances etc so I felt so content being able to bring the experience to them all and so that they could feel involved and like they were out there too.
I was happy with the vlogs I made out there and I was proud of myself for doing a vlog every single day because it is a large commitment and you have to be dedicated to it for it to be successful which I was. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone especially on the match days. Before every single game I went outside the stadium and I talked to a diverse range of fans gathering all their pre-match thoughts and opinions. I love going up to random people and speaking to them and finding out their stories it is so interesting. Talking to people you don’t know is also an essential part of journalism so I was really happy with how that all went and I also met some great people through it. Also the growth of the Women’s game is really important and very exciting so I was also happy to bring a new and different segment to my YouTube channel.
I also had the privilege of interviewing the different women players out there in the mix zone some of which were Chelsea players which was a dream. Also I got to meet Steph Houghton and Emma Hayes which was an incredible experience and one I will never forget.
During my time out there I received a phone call from my local radio station- BBC Radio Cumbria asking if I would like to go on the radio. I was so honored it meant the world to me to be asked to do that and I enjoyed it so much. There and then I found my passion for radio. I have always had a huge passion for broadcast but this was a new and unfound love of mine and something I definitely look to purse. When my time came I was so excited and all my family listened back at home which meant the world to me. I also felt very emotional to go on because my Grandad passed away in April and he always use to listen to that station when he was alive so I knew he would be looking down on me and would be so proud. Then BBC Radio Cumbria contacted me again four days later and asked me to come on again which I was so proud of I truly loved every moment.
Also something truly incredible happened on the trip which was definitely a massive and memorable highlight to me. During a press conference after one of England’s games I asked a question to Phil Neville about Georgia Stanway and she is from my local area. I got such a brilliant and positive response and that was the first ever question I had asked in a press conference in my life so it gave me such a big confident boost. Afterwards I offered the audio to BBC Radio Cumbria and it went out on their social media and on the driving home hour radio show which I was so pleased with.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better with the radio I then received a phone call from BBC Radio 5 live and they wanted me on to also talk about the Women’s World Cup which was another milestone. To make four radio appearances out in France in just two and half weeks was insane and it motivated me even more.
During my time out in France I also had nine pieces of written work published with Football London, FA WSL Full Time, She Kicks, Manchester Evening news, Get Reading and The Mail (my local newspaper at home in Barrow). I have a passion for writing and I also write for the Chelsea Echo but I knew before going out to France I needed to boost my confidence with writing. However, I can now say that has changed and I feel more confident when it comes to writing especially because of the World Cup that contributed to that. I felt so proud to get that amount of work out there and also I had a piece published in the Barrow newspaper which meant a lot to me as I also got it printed in the local print version as well which was brilliant and it got sent home to my parents which I was so proud of.
Furthermore, before going out to France I applied for a BBC Kick Off work experience placement. I knew it would be perfect for me. This placement offered ten days of work experience at my local radio station at home- BBC Radio Cumbria for 5 weeks, 2 days a week. Also, it offered two days of intensive training at BBC Wood Norton. After I had sent my application in I was then shortlisted for an interview. During my time out in France I had a phone call interview one afternoon then a day later I found out I got the place, so out of all the people that applied in Cumbria I was the person that got the only place that was on offer to the entire county. It was another incredibly proud moment for me personally and something I was so happy to get because to work with the BBC is incredible and I knew it was going to develop my skills even more.
When I come back from France a few weeks later I travelled down the country for the two day training course. It was a very intense but valuable and brilliant two days and I learned a lot. I met thirty one other BBC Kick Off reporters and we did all sorts from radio, to online, to broadcast and print. We were pushed out of our comfort zone and tested which truly developed me and boosted my confidence. Day one of training we looked at BBC sounds, iBroadcast & metadata training, cue & script writing, interview skills and iPhone filming. Then on day two of training we looked at the BBC Values, audio editing, social media, radio reporting & presentation and interview filming & photography. We learnt a lot and it set me up perfectly going into my placement.
The following Monday I started my placement. I commute early every morning to my placement and it takes an hour and a half each way. The experience so far has been amazing. I am in the news room every single day of placement which is brilliant to be surrounded by many other journalists and radio broadcasters and reporters. I have picked up so much valuable advice already. Also, I have sat in on radio shows and bulletins which is brilliant to see how it is all done and how it all works. Also, on Friday evening I sat in with my mentors on the hour sports programme from 6-7. It was great. Also on Friday I had two radio appearances I was on BBC radio five live in the morning talking about Chelsea FC and then on that same day I was on BBC Radio Cumbria with a radio package I had created in the day.
On Friday I went out into Carlisle city centre to talk to Carlisle fans ahead of their season starting the next day. I did vox pops then took them back to base and edited them all. I worked to deadline and I got them done to the highest possible standard. My mentor then checked them and he didn’t need to edit or change one bit of it, it just then got broadcasted straight onto live air which was a huge achievement for me. To not even have my work edited one bit shows it was completed to a very high standard. When it got broadcasted out that night it was such a massive achievement at the end of the day because I had worked hard on it throughout the day and then it was out live. I knew I had achieved something big.
Now I am currently half way through placement and I have four days left. So far the experience has been brilliant and I can’t thank everyone at Radio Cumbria enough because they’ve made me feel so welcome and gave me such a great insight into what it is like to work for the BBC.
So, it is fair to say it has been a truly great summer and the skills I’ve gained and are continuing to gain are really helping and developing me as a young journalist. I am very much excited for the future.