Reporting from London 2012

Toby Harrison

Toby Harrison, who studied at St Mary’s University College, has secured a placement at The Independent during the first week of the Games.

He says: “Hopefully I’ll be able to get involved in the games and get some reporting done but I’m just getting ready to throw myself into whatever tasks get thrown my way.

“I managed to get the position before I started the course. I knew that there would be a serious amount of people applying for similar roles so I just tried to get in there as early as possible. I got pretty lucky with the timing of the placement, I was told there was a space from around mid-August and then asked if I could help out a couple of weeks earlier as it would be so busy with the Olympics.

“The training has been great and I have a much better idea of what to expect now compared to when I started the course. I’m a big rugby fan and I would like to do some travelling with work, a dream job for me would be anything which allowed me to be involved in the IRB Sevens Series in any capacity. I’m also very keen to get involved with radio and maybe even some commentary if I was really lucky.”

Marina Izidro

Marina Izidro, an international student from St Mary’s University College, will be working as a producer at the games for SporTV, the biggest sports broadcaster in Brazil. Marina is also staying on in London to work for the Brazilian Paralympic committee in their communications team during the Paralympic Games.

Marina says: “I am a journalist from Brazil, currently in London. I have worked in the area for over eight years and I am passionate about the Olympic Games. After working as a reporter at the Beijing Games in 2008, I have decided that I would like to work at every Olympics until I retire!

“I moved to London last September to study an MA in sports journalism at St. Mary’s University College. The Olympics are the next step now. I will be working as a producer for SporTV, the leading sports channel in Brazil and, during the Paralympics, for the Brazilian Paralympic committee.”

Mitch Sayers

Mitch Sayers, who started the NCTJ-accredited MA journalism course at Staffordshire University in September, has landed a key role with ITV. Mitch was also the NCTJ student council rep for Staffordshire University in 2012.

He says: “I had an interview with a senior ITN editor for various positions that were coming up over the summer.

“Speaking of passions for journalism and a wish to get involved in London events, she said there might be places available to work on the Olympics and Paralympics. I said I’d love to be involved in such a big event and a few days later I was offered the position of picture logging for the Paralympics.

“I’ll be dealing with video and pictures that come from the event, as well as logging and flagging-up newsworthy items for ITN.”

Jon Vale

Jon Vale, a student from the University of Brighton, has secured a position with LOCOG during the Olympics. Jon was also the University of Brighton representative at the 2012 NCTJ Student Council.

Jon says: “I’m going to be working for the Olympic and Paralympic News Service – the Games’ official press agency – reporting on press conferences from both the media centre and the athletes’ village. It’s all about getting fast, accurate and balanced reports on to the wire as quickly as possible, something that’s really ingrained in any NCTJ course, and my work could well appear in newspapers and websites all around the world.

“The actual job came via one of my university lecturers, Rob Steen, and after having some interviews at LOCOG’s offices in Canary Wharf, Sunni and I were lucky enough to get the job. I’d already had a few knock-backs on the job hunt so I really can’t thank Rob enough for arranging such a fantastic opportunity; the contacts our lecturers have here are second to none and without them, I’d probably be spending my summer trawling through job sections rather than at the Olympics.

“The training I’ve had has been excellent. Even though I’m on a sports journalism course, there’s a real onus on learning to be a journalist rather than a jumped-up blogger with a laptop, and my shorthand and news writing skills in particular will be absolutely imperative for when I start. I’m still keen on a role in journalism somewhere, preferably in sport, so this represents an amazing first step on the ladder.”

Jermaine Haughton

Jermaine Haughton, a Journalism Diversity Fund bursary recipient, studied at News Associates in London. He is working with the Press Operations team at the Olympics.

Jermaine says: “As a Venue Media Centre (VMC) team member, I will be working for the Press Operations team at Wembley Stadium, assigned to look after the 5,800 journalists, photographers and non-rights holding broadcasters ensuring they have all the facilities and information needed to perform their duties effectively.

“As a born and bred Eastender, I am very keen to be a part of the world’s greatest sports event in my home city. Using my media training and experience, I hope my efforts will help make London 2012 the best Olympic Games ever. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’ll consist of much hard work, but will ultimately be very rewarding.

“I want to test my skills in an extremely pressurised environment. I’m looking forward to working in a diverse team of volunteers from different backgrounds from all corners of the country, making further contacts and friends. This will be the first time I have ever been to a major athletics event, so I’m incredibly excited to learn how such large showpieces are organised and operate.”


Emma Paton

Emma Paton, who is currently finishing her studies at St Mary’s University College, has been selected to work with the British Olympic Association (BOA). She will spend the six weeks before the games working at the BOA head office in central London and will work on their news service during the Olympics at Team GB House in Stratford.

Emma says: “My role before and during the Games is Team GB News Service Writer, which will involve tasks such as: contributing to the production of the daily Team GB Newsletter (writing previews and summaries during the Games), producing athlete, BOA and NGB feature profiles, distributing flash quotes, notes and capsule summaries following Team GB competition, assisting in writing and sending out press releases and advisors and maintaining the Team GB Twitter feed (rolling update of Team GB activity).

“I was put forward for the position through studying the NCTJ-accredited MA in sports journalism at St Mary’s, which is taught by Sportsbeat editors and News Associates colleagues. During the post-graduate course I have built my portfolio, contributing regularly to the Sportsbeat news desk and also to I have also recently been working with, primarily focussed on their Olympic section.

“I am a sports enthusiast and have a passion for Olympic sports; being a 400m runner with the aim of representing GB at the Rio Olympics. I would love to ultimately enter the field of broadcast journalism!”

Sunni Upal

Sunni Upal, who is completing his training at the University of Brighton, has won a role as an Olympic and Paralympic new service reporter with LOCOG in July and August.

He says: “It is a five-week shift starting 6 July and will mostly involve writing-up press conferences at the International Media Centre in Stratford for the worldwide news feed.

“My lecturer put me forward for the role but I still had to attend an interview and see-off the competition and I was able to do this thanks to having shorthand at 100wpm.

“Getting this role feels like reward for, and recognition of, all the hard work I have put in to get a career in journalism. I have been writing for my local newspaper since I was 16-years-old, something which the interviewer from LOCOG found particularly impressive.

“But, make no mistake, this is just the start. Any work involved with LOCOG will only be temporary but the experience and being able to put it on my CV give my chances of getting a job a massive boost.”


Jon Waring

Jon Waring from News Associates has secured a position with the British Olympic Association (BOA) for three months.

He says: “For the first two months I’ll be part of the BOA communications team based in central London, where my responsibilities include attending Team GB team announcements, writing press releases and working with Sportsbeat to produce the official Olympics media guide. My last month will be spent working for the news service team reporting on the Olympics, and will be based at Team GB House in Stratford.

“It’s great to be able to attend and assist in coordinating the media at the Team GB announcements. I’m used to going to press conferences as a journalist, so to be able to experience life on the other side of the fence is a really valuable experience. I’m a sports enthusiast so I’m delighted to be a part of the greatest sporting event on earth, and the fact it is a home games makes it even more exciting.

“I was put forward for the position after completing the NCTJ Multimedia Diploma in Journalism at News Associates, London. Before that I was working in the City but have always wanted a career in the sports media industry so decided to make the change. The course was fantastic and the contacts I made at News Associates and Sportsbeat have definitely helped me to achieve this role.”