We head to the North East to speak to our latest Industry Insider and Chief Newcastle United reporter for The Chronicle, Lee Ryder!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello I’m Lee Ryder and I’m currently the chief Newcastle United reporter with the Chronicle at Reach. I travel with the team to the games and compile match reports and interview the manager and players.
I’ve been doing this since 2005 but worked for other titles in the lower leagues covering Hartlepool and Scunthorpe before that.
What do you do in your current role?
It’s pretty much a role that sees me review the fortunes of the team. It is hugely rewarding but you feel the emotions of the squad and staff when results don’t go to plan. Understandably this sometimes results in heated Press conferences and some fan debate on many subjects.
What does a normal week look like for you?
It starts on the back of a game at the weekend and the mood is dictated to by the result.
If Newcastle win then people are more willing to talk, and the euphoria helps you get more interviews.
Defeats often result in negativity and some players are unwilling to speak.
Managers are bad tempered sometimes and you are the first person they face!
We build up to the next game with chats with pundits and players and then have a Press conference to preview the weekend or midweek game.
An away game can often involve a long journey, so planning is also a big factor.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I studied media studies, photography and journalism.
My aim was to cover any team at the beginning, but I was handed a dream opportunity to report on Newcastle United.
I knew about a year after leaving school it was something I wanted to pursue.
But it took about six or seven years to get all the qualifications and then five years working a lower league level before getting a break in the Premier League.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I think that Facebook is really starting to be a big tool for journalists now. The social media platforms give us much more than column inches in the newspapers so we can reach out to fans in different ways.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
The main focus is to keep people informed the best we can. It’s nice to be ahead of the curve on some stories, but accuracy is vital.
In your area of work, what is something you feel most people don’t talk about or focus on enough?
I think the human side of journalists often is forgotten. Anybody with a phone has direct access to you. I’ve got experience so I have learned to shrug it off. But others who are new to the job my find it unpleasant if they are getting 20 odd messages of abuse.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
I think every day you can learn something new. When I was younger there were some things, I didn’t want to take onboard. Sometimes criticism can help you. When there’s a pile of critics flying at you the best thing, I would say is be calm. Seek advice from seniors whenever you can.
How to connect with Lee Ryder on social media…
Twitter account is @lee_ryder and I’m on YouTube too.
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Lee Ryder! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.