My Thomas Read bursary work placement with Sky Sports News

Back in September I was awarded the Thomas Read bursary by the JDF which allowed me to study at News Associates in London.

As part of the bursary, two weeks work experience at Sky Sport News was included and I completed my placement there in April.

After my induction to the Sky campus, which included a tour of the many buildings, I went to the building which contains Sky Sport News amongst other things. I then got a tour of studio area and how the team is split across the building.

I started my day off in the digital processing unit where much of the subbing and editing takes place for the website. After being shown the ropes on the backend of the site, my first task was subbing a WWE article, which after tweaking, I published online. I was also shown how graphics are made for adverts and during live sport, videos are edited, plus content is put out on social media channels such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter.

Additionally, because my work experience started on a Monday, I was able to see preparation for Monday Night Football which was being filmed that evening. It was fascinating watching how different departments come together to create the show.

For my next days, I joined the MultiPlatform department where I had some of my work published on the site. I wrote articles about PSG pledging support to the reconstruction of Notre Dame, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s views on Liverpool’s Champions League tie and Fred Rutten leaving his role as coach of Anderlecht.

Another new technique I learnt was how to create a video story for the website. I took a clip of a fight in an ice hockey match between Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders and turned it into a story.

I also spent some time in the gallery for the sports bulletins on Sky News, helping to edit the scripts and seeing how a live broadcast goes out on TV.  

The next department I was moved to was planning, which involves making sure the schedule runs smoothly for the content that goes out on the SSN channel. I researched statistics for the two Champions League semi-finals, so the production team could use that, as well as finding out the state of play for relegations and promotions in the Championship, League One and League Two.

My second week at Sky was fully focused on production and the content which goes out live on SSN. I spent the first day being shown the systems and how to edit packages which could potentially be shown on the channel. To start with I had to get to grips with the editing system, but once I did I could make packages to go out on TV.

Two of my packages went live on SSN, one was to do with Forest Green’s chairman Dale Vince. He is a United Nations Ambassador and was going to speak to UEFA about climate change. The second was a preview piece for Sunderland against Portsmouth in the race for promotion in League One.

A couple of times, I also went to the SSN gallery to see what role the producers and directors play during the hour when they are looking after the channel.

On my last day I went out with reporter Michael Bridge to a Crystal Palace press conference. Before we went into the training ground, Michael filmed a live piece to camera outside giving insight on what Roy Hodgson might speak about in his press conference. Later, we filmed the press conference and I watched as Michael prepared beforehand and then asked his questions.

The experience at SSN was amazing, seeing first-hand how a sports news channel works and being able to sample so many different parts of it.

Without the Thomas Read bursary, I might not have been able to witness how the newsroom works and have some of my work featured on the SSN channels. 

Nicola Kenton

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