Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. In our latest feature, Billy Mulley sits down with BBC Sport Journalist, Alex Bysouth to talk about his career so far.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name is Alex Bysouth, I’m a broadcast journalist for BBC Sport and my main role is working for the website, writing features, live texts, match reports etc. I started out in news for a local paper but quickly jumped on to the sports desk at the Warrington Guardian when a job became available – and that set my path, really.
What do you do in your current role?
Thankfully, my role is quite wide-ranging in terms of sports I get to cover. I cover a lot of golf, football, tennis, both codes of rugby and boxing. Mainly, it’s working on live events, either in the office or on site, to deliver live texts and reports.
What does a normal week look like for you?
My week varies depending on what sporting events are taking place, so there’s no “normal” routine. But it generally involves either working some evenings or weekend days, when sport tends to happen. I’ll be either planning for those events, doing some research and working on preview features, or head down trying to keep across everything that’s going on once they’ve started.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport Journalism/Broadcasting?
I studied for a degree in sports science before realising I wanted to head into journalism, with one of my tutors suggesting I consider it. I didn’t really realise it was an option at that point. I did my NCTJ with Sportsbeat and managed to build up lots of practical experience too, reporting at Football League games, before getting my first gig at the paper. While there, I managed to pick up some BBC Sport shifts and just said “yes” to everything – I didn’t have much of a social life at the time, but it landed me a job!
Has the world of Sport Journalism changed since you first entered?
Even in the relatively short time I’ve been working as a sports journalist, the landscape has changed a lot. One of the biggest challenges for us and something we’re always asked to think about is how we can engage younger audiences better. That means being more creative than ever in the way we tell stories and produce content.
What about the Sport Journalism/Broadcasting industry appealed to you?
My mates often joke that it’s not a real job, and I guess it’s the idea of doing something you love for a living that attracted me to sports journalism – covering high-profile events, interviewing athletes, working on the moments everyone is talking about. Even on the rough days, you remind yourself you’re covering sport, and there are a lot of people who’d love to be in that position.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’m excited for 2021 because there is just so much great sport set to take place, not the least the Olympics, men’s Euros and Ryder Cup. Fingers crossed it can all go ahead.
How has Covid-19 Impacted your line of work?
I’ve been working from home since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has had its plus points as well as the obvious negative of there being no sport for a few months. During that time, I moved on to BBC News to help with the live coverage on their website, which was a good experience. Now sport is back, I’m covering it from my living room. Zoom has become key for conducting interviews and I’ve had to hog the TV to cover live events. I miss the social interaction of being in the office, but we’ve got a new baby so at least I can help out and change a few nappies on my break…!
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports Journalism/Broadcasting industry?
One piece of advice I was given that I think can be applied to many different situations is to be resilient – you’re bound to get knock backs or have days where you think ideas or stories aren’t panning out as you hoped, but stick with it. The other would be to say take up as many opportunities as you can, you never know what they do might lead to.
What do you wish you’d would have known before starting your career?
That there are many different paths you can take. Do your research and work out what is best for you. If you work hard the opportunities will eventually present themselves and then it’s just up to you to grab them.
You can follow Alex Bysouth on Twitter here.