An insight into the publishing world…

Posts tagged ‘sports’

Introducing Sports Writer Martin Whiteley

My good friend and sports writer Martin Whiteley is the star of today’s post. Martin has always been and continues to be supportive, enthusiastic, and encouraging of my career. I try my hardest to do the same for him. We first connected online when I was Programme Editor for the Hull Wasps Basketball team and when I was in charge of their Twitter updates.  Martin used to retweet, share, comment and generally help spread the message about the basketball team. He’s proof that good lasting connections can be made over the internet. Here he discusses the practicalities of getting articles published, motivations behind the craft, and specifically about advantages of writing for The News Hub.

Martin Whiteley

Martin Whiteley

Hi, Martin. Please give us an introduction to yourself and your previous work.

I have always been a lover of writing, ever since I was in school, and have always been passionate about sports. I first started writing to make some extra money while working as an assistant to the golf professional at Springhead Park golf course in Hull. Since then, I’ve contributed to golf magazines and have written for Beyond the Benches, Exclusive Sports Media, IRL Media, and others. My latest project has been writing sports articles for The News Hub.

There is a rapidly increasing number of online platforms for news writing and reporting, and this is especially true of sports writing. How do you combat this to make yourself and your writing stand out?

With the number of websites covering every topic imaginable growing daily it is becoming increasing easy to find one that covers the subject that interests you. The same can also be said if you wish to write about your passion.

The problem is, the chances of the site paying for your submissions are also very high and not in a positive way.
The most popular subjects are inundated with thousands of websites all promising you the chance to ‘get your work noticed with a large following, that will ‘build your portfolio.’ The only problem is when you ask them, ‘What do you do to advertise your site? What marketing are you doing so that the articles can be found?’ you usually never hear from them again! As most people can write it is seems a quick way to earn money with the impression of not having to do much work!

This is my issue with some writers. For them, it’s more about the financial reward and they think little about the impact of the writing itself. That’s why I started writing for The News Hub.

Tell us a little bit about The News Hub.

The News Hub pays $50 or £30 per article and with a bonus of $150 or £100 for the top six contributors each month, TNH lets you covers anything you want to write about. Before all the ‘Jane or Jonny-come-latelies’ go rushing off to sign up, they have one important rule. You must be in the top 10% of the category of the subject you have covered!

Every writer worth his or her salt will have a box full of rejection slips and only persevere because they love writing

What is it that makes The News Hub unique?

With a lot of sites, even if you contribute regularly, the likelihood of your work being spotted is very slim. Over time when people fail to see positive change or impact, the amount of content subsides, or the person running it gets fed up and decides they would rather go down to the pub with their mates that upload the article that you have spent time preparing.

I was drawn to The News Hub because they do a lot to promote your work as well as give you lots of ideas of how your articles can be seen by the masses. What is unrivalled is the commitment they have to not only having a website that has outstanding work on it and not just any rubbish that people class as acceptable, but written by people who share the same passion as they do.

The onus though is totally on the contributor to find the best way of maximising this for their own work. No writer can expect all of the work to be done for them. Half of a writer’s job in today’s publishing climate is marketing yourself, where once it was the publisher’s job to do it for you. It’s about that balance.

writing, books and publishing are labours of love and not to be used as a way to earn quick money.

What do you think sports and news writers need to do to have a good chance of becoming successful in the industry?

In two words – determination and perseverance! Every writer worth his or her salt will have a box full of rejection slips and only persevere because they love writing and are not just looking to make a ‘quick buck.’
Article writing is hard work and until you build up your own networks of communications there may not be a great deal to show money-wise for a while.

What misconceptions about writing and publishing does the News Hub wish to stamp out?

As the lady who runs this blog knows herself, writing, books and publishing are labours of love and not to be used as a way to earn quick money. The News Hub website feels the same and should be treated as such. Even more so today these types of website are a very rare breed, but certainly most welcome for the true writer. I look forward to futher building and strengthening my career this way.

News-hub1

You can follow Martin on Twitter @673martin

To find out more about The News Hub, visit https://www.the-newshub.com/

Their twitter handle is:
@TheNewsHub

Do you have any further questions for Martin? Input them into the comments box below and I will get your questions answered!

Introducing Sports Writer Samuel Stevens

Today I interview a guy I met whilst volunteering as Programme Editor for the Hull Wasps, a National League basketball club in the local area. Volunteering for the Wasps gave me a wealth of experience and knowledge that I never would have had if it wasn’t for the Chairman David Bushnell giving me a chance to try something in a sport I knew almost nothing about! (Thank you very much, Dave – I owe you a lot!) Volunteering is one of the best things you can do, besides work experience, that can help bag you that all-important first job. I am definitely proof of that.

Sam Stevens joined the Off-Court team as Programme Designer and also assisted me with writing articles for the publication. His design and writing skills blew us all away. I admired Sam’s professionalism and skill from the first time I met him. I knew then, and even more so now, that Sam would become one of the great successes of this generation. And he hasn’t let me down so far.

The game-night programme that Sam and I worked on together.

The game-night programme that Sam and I worked on together.

Whilst volunteering alongside studying for a degree at the University of Hull, Sam also edited Hull University’s magazine Hullfire, and he is a very talented sportswriter. He has written for the Daily Telegraph and now works for the Independent. Needless to say, he is definitely one to look out for in the publishing and media world.

Sam Stevens

Sam Stevens

Talk me through your CV and how you got to where you are now.

Up until a couple of years ago I didn’t really see much use for a CV. I definitely didn’t have anything to put on mine! As a spotty teenager, looking like an extra from The Inbetweeners, my first job was with my local Co-Op.

Once my A-Levels were out of the way, I began to develop more of an idea about what I wanted to do with my life. As I have found since, however, this can change even as you get older and wiser.

After working on the students’ newspaper at the University of Hull, I gradually started to find myself on trains heading for internships with papers such as the Daily Telegraph and the Independent. Alongside really enjoyable voluntary spells with Hull City and Hull Wasps Basketball Club, I was then offered a job with the Independent.

Nowadays I’m still working for the Indy around yet another degree, this time a Master’s in Journalism, while I try and scavenge the money to fund my future travels.

We volunteered together on the Hull Wasps basketball programme. How important do you find volunteering to be in helping young people start out in their careers?

Quite frankly, volunteering is the difference between those who make it and those who don’t. It’s all very well earning a first class degree from Oxbridge or wherever but someone who is willing to work for free appears far more employable.

One day I hope discussions about ‘working for free’ are a thing of the past. Of course some companies simply cannot afford to pay their voluntary staff – and I don’t begrudge them for using volunteers to survive – but thankfully we appear to be walking the road towards paid internships for all.

In terms of working for Hull Wasps, I revelled in the reasonability which we were both given by Dave (Bushnell, the Chairman) and I believe that we produced a truly brilliant publication. Considering we were working completely alone on a shoestring budget, I think we can be proud of what we achieved. It definitely gave us a firm grounding which we’ll need in the years to come.

Quite frankly, volunteering is the difference between those who make it and those who don’t.

Tell me about your biggest achievements and proudest moments to date.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moment that I was asked to stand up in front of 150 of the country’s brightest sports journalists in London. I had been invited down to the capital after winning an award in honour of the former Daily Star football writer Danny Fullbrook.

radio sam

A charity launch was being held in his honour and I was given the opportunity to drunkenly introduce myself to the great and good of sports journalism. With only the occasional slurring of my words to cringe over afterwards, I somehow managed to escape with a pocket full of business cards and phone numbers. I still consider that evening to be the day where my luck changed and can now even call some of those intimidating journos my friends.

Did you always want to become a writer?

Yes, but not a journalist! I had always dreamed of being a television scriptwriter and often found myself plugging myself in to a set of earphones and listening to dramatic music. By doing this, I could imagine the scenes I would write. I would watch endless boxsets and make notes of lines of dialogue or themes which I liked from each series.

Perhaps one day, when grey hairs start to replace the ginger ones in my beard, I may sit down at my desk and have another go at writing my smash hit.

What advice would you have for somebody hoping to get into sports writing and/or journalism?

Journalism (and any media-based career for that matter) is about who you know, not what you know. By all means swot up on your field of interest and make sure nobody can beat you in a quiz on it, but make sure that you’re meeting new people all of the time. Only that way will you be able to get placements, which lead to internships, which in turn lead to jobs.

Make sure that you’re meeting new people all of the time.

What drew you to sports writing to begin with?

I’ve always had an odd relationship with sport in that I was often the geeky kid with his head in the programme rather than watching the match. My mates would often pretend they didn’t know me when, in my twenties, I’d still be collecting signed memorabilia or sticker albums.

As much as I love sport itself, it’s always been about the fanfare for me. Walking into a new football ground in particular is like walking into a theatre or a coliseum. The smell of burger vans coupled with the roar you only ever hear at football matches still make the hairs on my neck stand on end.

sam awards

Which teams in which sports do you support and why? Do you ever find being unbiased difficult?

They say that the teams you support influence the sort of person you became and I can definitely relate to that! People have often said that loyalty is both my biggest strength and weakness.

After years spent in half-empty stands watching Leicester City play some of the most atrocious football you could possibly imagine, for some reason I continue to stick by them. It must be love!

As part of my role with the Independent I’m very lucky in that I get to report on Leicester quite often. While I must confess that I have been known to jump up and fist pump in the press box from time to time, I’d hope that no such passion bleeds into my work.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older but I can detach myself from the events on the field more now than ever.

What do you find the hardest and what do you find the most enjoyable about your work?

The hardest with sports journalism, particularly football, is dealing with the fact that you are often writing for an audience who knows more than you. If, for example, I am at Stamford Bridge writing about Chelsea, I am tasked with writing about the Blues with the conviction of a hardened supporter. Believe me, they’ll let me know if I get something wrong.

The flip side of that coin, however, is people feel so passionately about their sports teams that you are genuinely enhancing their lives if you can bring some good news. The thrill of breaking a story about a club signing a world beater (and watching the joy overflow onto your Twitter feed) is enough to inspire anyone to keep doing this daft old job.

We both attended the University of Hull. What made you choose Hull? What is the most valuable thing your time there left you with?

I actually ended up at Hull purely by chance. I had no intentions of even going to university until the very last day where, typically for me, I suddenly decided that it didn’t sound like such a bad idea after all!

After making a couple of hurried phone calls, I soon found myself strolling down Princes Avenue with a completely new life to be built. The most valuable thing I take from my time at university, in fact, only came to me a few weeks ago. It was all a whirlwind at the time but I really did enjoy some of the best days of my life there.

I met some beautiful, fascinating people that I’ll keep in touch with for the rest of my life while I can barely recognise the boy looking back at me when I see a picture of myself at eighteen-years-old. I didn’t really see it at the time, but I owe Hull so much.

What are your hopes and visions for your career in the future?

Well, at the moment, I’m studying towards a Master’s in Journalism but after that I genuinely don’t know what the future has in store. A few months ago I may have been daunted by that uncertainty but now I’m thriving off it.

I would like to branch out a little, possibly into the charity sector and work within PR. Journalism is obviously my bread and butter but there is a long time between now and retirement and I would be bitterly disappointed if I became a one trick pony.

Depending on when I’m able to gather together enough cash, I’d also like to spin a globe one day and go wherever fate takes me. I may, though, have to rig the results and ensure that my finger lands on a South American country.

You can follow Sam on Twitter @SamuelTStevens

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