Ever wondered what it would be like to work with Sky Sports News? We spoke to James Green about his journey and role as Freelance Sports Reporter.
Hi James, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you tell our readers about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?
Thanks for having me first and foremost. I’m currently a freelance sports reporter with Sky Sports News and I’ve been working with them now for over two years. I have been plying my trade as a presenter for the past 15 years now, working on entertainment shows, corporate gigs and live events. But there was always something missing and I knew I wanted to work in sport.
I had a dream to work on Sky Sports News and there was a period of time when Sky would only employ people with a journalism qualification or background, which I didn’t have. So, at the age of thirty one, I made the decision to go back to study and chose an NCTJ in News and Sport Journalism at the Press Association. Taking that step back was the best decision I made and I have never looked back.
When did you know you wanted to work in football?
When I was eleven. Football had always been a huge part of my life growing up. I used to write match reports for my homework when I was just six years old! It’s what I’m passionate about and it really is a dream to be able to call it a job.
A Freelance Sports News Reporter for Sky Sports and others, what does a “normal” week look like for you?
I’m not quite sure I’ve ever had “normal” weeks. I’ve been freelance since the age of twenty two, so all my weeks are different and will vary depending on what work I have on. More recently, the end of the week tends to be busier with Sky as these are the key days for the Premier League manager press conferences. It might be in-person or via zoom, but I approach them the same way, with detailed preparation and research. I might only get to ask five or six questions, but I always make sure I’m across everything that is going on with that specific manager/club to ensure I’m never caught out.
I also feature almost weekly on the Early Kick Off Show (via Skype) which again requires detailed research the night before.
In between times, lots of reading of the sports pages and keeping on top of the latest news.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
Outwork the next person. It is an incredibly competitive industry, that is full of talented people, but you have to find a way to stand out. I’m always hustling, reaching out to people, trying to meet new people, sending my CV and showreel out to increase my work opportunities. When working, as I have mentioned previously, preparation is key. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing, as you’re always learning new information, but it’s also ensuring you know exactly what is going on. You can’t just “wing” it in this industry and those that do get found out.
What are the most enjoyable and difficult parts of your role?
The most enjoyable are the people you meet and the insights you get into elite sport. So many moments you have to pinch yourself about who you’re with and where you are. But also live TV. For me there’s a real thrill to working in a live environment, high pressure, high energy, but incredibly enjoyable.
The difficult part is coping with the quiet times in the freelance world, like I’m sure many can resonate too. It’s keeping motivated in these time, not letting it affect you and to keep pushing on.
You have covered some of the biggest games in the sport and interviewed many players and managers. What’s been your standout moments/highlights so far?
I’ve been so fortunate to experience so much in my career so far. For Sky, to be trusted with covering Newcastle United’s takeover day outside the Premier League was a great opportunity and a highlight because of how big the story is. Also, working on the Hundred launch at the Oval for Sky Sports News was a lot of fun.
I worked on a Europa League magazine show for UEFA travelling around Europe meeting players and being invited behind the scenes at clubs like Chelsea, Valencia, Benfica and Rapid Vienna and was topped off by covering the final in Azerbaijan.
The key is enjoying every moment and not thinking too far ahead.
Who are your favourite football reporters or journalists at the moment and what do you think it is that makes them so brilliant?
There really are some brilliant reporters and journalists out there. Fabrizio Romano is superb and at the forefront of breaking transfer news from all over the place! Sky have some terrific reporters amongst their ranks, to name one is really tough. One a friend of mine who has just left to work with FIFA, Bryan Swanson, was always a standout covering the biggest breaking stories. BBC’s Dan Roan is terrific too.
We are very lucky in this country to have so many who are knowledgeable, articulate, are able to bring their personality to the forefront and importantly are trusting too.
What general advice would you give to individuals looking to pursue a similar career path as yours?
Outwork the next person. Be patient. Add different elements to your skillset. Get as much experience in different aspects of journalism as possible. Seek advice from those who are in the industry, learn about their different journeys into the position they are in. And practice speaking out loud and reporting to a camera at home. The more you do, the more confident you will be when the time comes for it to be for real.
What do you do to switch off outside of work? Any hobbies?
Golf I love (I’m not that great though!), trying to work on getting better, but its taking some time! Love running and regularly take part in half marathons, particularly recently to raise money for a very important charity close to my partner and I’s hearts called Saying Goodbye. And love spending time with my family, friends and a beer or eight at the pub!
And finally James, where can people find you on social media to connect?
@jamesgreeninuk on all platforms. Drop me a message, always available to help people.
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