A Birmingham journalist has lifted in the lid on the changing role of the football reporter.
Mat Kendrick, football editor for Birmingham Live and the Birmingham Mail, made his comments when he visited Birmingham City University’s BA (Hons) Sports Journalism course.
He gave the first year students an insight into what it is like to work for one of the nation’s biggest regional news outlets.
Kendrick, a life-long Villa supporter, told the group how he had witnessed first hand the emergence of online platforms as the sale of newspapers declined.
“Birmingham Live is getting more clicks than the amount of papers we would sell in our heyday,” he said. “And we can see exactly which stories people are reading – which is a great help.”
He added that it was still important that successful sports journalism should always be “about what people want to read”.
Kendrick said: “The reader is the most important part of a story. As a journalist you represent the reader.”
One crucial thing Kendrick learned about successful sports journalism was that it should always be “about what people want to read”.
“Like seeing a West End actress without their make-up”
Despite a love of Villa and a love of journalism, Kendrick said he wouldn’t want to work for the club he supports.
“I’ve seen behind the scenes at the Villa,” he said. “It’s like seeing a West End actress without their make-up on!”
From an early age, Kendrick realised that he wasn’t going to be able to play for Aston Villa, so the next best thing for him was writing about Villa.
Saving up his money, he would buy the Sunday papers and from this he developed a love of sports journalism – and a nose for a good story.
As a young journalist, he admitted he was worried he would be star struck and intimidated interviewing the players he paid money to watch every week – but he added that it ultimately didn’t happen.
“I don’t get star struck as my journalistic head takes over,” he said. “It’s more important that I get the story.
“There’s a job to do, to represent the readers. That’s more important.”