Straight out of graduating from UCFB’s BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism programme, Tom Baldwin has secured an in-demand role at Premier League club Watford FC. From designing the website to interviewing first team players, his diverse role has opened several pathways in the thriving industry. Here, the UCFB Wembley graduate tells us about the job and how his time at UCFB helped him land it…

Tell us about your role at Watford and how you landed it.

My role at Watford is Content Editor. My specific focuses are the website, programme for matchdays and app for Watford FC. This covers a lot of things such as attending press conferences, interviewing players and staff, match reports, working with the academy teams, creating engaging content and much more.

I landed the job by applying after a position became available, advertised on the website. It was also advertised on Twitter through Sky Sports and UCFB’s Gary Taphouse. It was a long process over a few months and when I got the interview, I got straight to work asking everyone who I knew and had networked with about their experiences and their tips for sports media job interviews. It was hugely helpful, and it meant I left the interview with no regrets, knowing I had tried my best and explored every avenue. You would be foolish not to ask for their advice as they have been there and done it.

What have been some of the best moments so far?

A proud moment has been walking into the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as part of the Watford media team when we played Spurs at the start of the season. Walking into a Premier League stadium full of fans doesn’t get old. Working at Vicarage Road and the training ground has been amazing as well, a stadium full of character and history. The people at the club have been fantastic, all ranging in experiences. So far, my job has been so varied and no one day has been the same. Creating relationships has been hugely enjoyable and interviewing players and staff from the first team and the academy has been a highlight. Especially feature length interviews where I get the chance to learn about their story and motivations.

What have you brought to the role from your BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism degree?

A lot! Content editing involves a fair amount of writing and making editorial judgements, so my course certainly helped prepare me for my role at Watford. The first and second year especially taught me a lot about writing for specific audiences; when you’re writing for a club, the supporters only care about what happened to their team. Second year also allowed me to practice interviewing techniques which I still use when speaking to players and staff. I transcribe those interviews and upload them to the website, whilst using specific writing techniques and structure. Finally, my course enabled me to put what I learnt into practice with my media role at Wycombe Wanderers in my third year.

What have you learnt so far from working at a Premier League club?

Everyone is so experienced and willing to impart their knowledge. This means you learn so much from your colleagues. Of course, with the Premier League comes the size and audience that take notice of your content. It’s a nice level of pressure that keeps you at your highest level and helps to push you further. There are always fantastic networking opportunities, meeting and working with media professionals at the top of their industry.

You worked in the media department at Euro 2020 and Wycombe Wanderers during your degree. How have these helped you in your current role and how important is it to gain experience while studying?

Hugely important. Experiences at major tournaments like Euro 2020 are unrivalled because you’re with media from around the world. That’s rare nowadays due to the pandemic. UCFB introduced me to that role so I’m thankful for that.

Wycombe Wanderers was a fantastic introduction to the industry and at a high level too. The people there across the season taught me many things that are still applicable in my new role at Watford. I’ve found in the media industry that a degree and experience are similar priorities for employers. The degree allows you to learn the knowledge, make mistakes and improve. The experience then allows for you to put it into practice and learn all the quirks of the industry that no one can teach you. They both go hand in hand. The great thing about UCFB is they allow you to do both to a very high level.

How did you find your time at UCFB?

Extremely enjoyable for two reasons. All institutions will teach you the necessary skills, but where UCFB is different is that it allows you to put these into practice. Placements at National League clubs and opportunities at EFL clubs make it stand out from the rest. My experience at Wycombe Wanderers, which my lecturer introduced me to, allowed me to showcase my skills and use them as a learning opportunity. Opportunities like that are priceless in the sports media industry as they allow for great networking opportunities and you get to learn the quirks of the industry that you can only understand through experience.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to study at UCFB?

It’s not a traditional institution but this allows UCFB to try new things and offer unique access to the working world of sport. Some of the lecturers were great and I’m still in contact with them today. I went into UCFB knowing I aspired to get into the wider sports media industry and finished knowing specifically where I wanted to go. Take it from me, a lot of my colleagues past and present have graduated, are studying or are planning on studying at UCFB. That’s no coincidence.