• Joe Boulcott

Growing up to study Sports Journalism in the age of COVID-19

From growing up as a sports fanatic, to studying sports journalism in a world ruined by the coronavirus – but what is it like in this climate?

As a kid, all I knew was football.

No matter what was going on in the world, any problems went away as soon as the referee blew that first whistle.

My introduction to football was really in 2006, when my dad really made sure I would follow in his footsteps and support West Ham United.

A first true sporting memory of mine was a Marlon Harewood winner against Middlesbrough at Villa Park to send Alan Pardew’s plucky Irons into an FA Cup Final at Cardiff, against Liverpool – and Steven Gerrard.

Everyone knows what happened in that game, so I won’t mention it, but somehow that final and England’s 2006 World Cup nightmare against Portugal didn’t put me off football.

Joe Cole’s stunning strike against Sweden was a highlight of that World Cup, whilst I remember vividly the iconic Zinedine Zidane headbutt and the aftermath of such an extraordinary moment on the world stage.

Growing up, I would just watch and play sport throughout the week, but then as I started to get older, I knew that it was sport journalism that I really wanted to get into.

Whether it was listening to podcasts, reading articles or watching punditry on television, I was always engrossed and wanted to do it myself.

I could talk endlessly about sport – and would do – with friends on the playground, only fuelling the desire to do it as a profession: hence why I took a course at Solent University.

The desire to write and talk about sport as a profession, as a job, is something that is only increasing all the time, especially now in 2020, where there is so much content available on so many different platforms that anyone can create, access and enjoy.

The ability to create your own content truly allows anyone to make a mark in the world and share the content they produce, making it a great time to start creating and producing.

The role of a journalist has changed over the years and now with a new generation coming through, covering all platforms is more important than ever.

Although right now, due to COVID-19, people are not able to meet or talk face-to-face, those who push through and still create are shining brighter than ever in an industry growing by numbers all the time.

As a student, we are still encouraged to create content and have done since March despite the conditions - staying active and busy is essential at the moment.

The virus has further affected the role of covering sport, with most purely watching from home and talking about it over the internet rather than in person like the good old days.

Soon enough though, sport will get back to normal, fans will be making noise in the stadiums and everything will seem right in the world again.

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