With the games continuing to come thick and fast at Euro 2020, it means there is more football than ever that needs to be covered across the media spectrum. Jack Fealy, a BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism student at UCFB Wembley, has been given the chance to report on this summer’s tournament live on air for Radio Essex – an opportunity he has grasped with both hands.

Here, Jack tells us about his job this summer and his time at UCFB so far…

First things first – tell us how the opportunity to work for Radio Essex came about?   

I got in touch with one of the presenters at Radio Essex, Chris Brooks, who helped me out massively. I had known Chris for quite a while, and I thought dropping him a message would be a great way for me to gain some experience within radio. He invited me down to the station and to my surprise, he and the team had made me a part of their plans to cover the Euros this summer. It was an amazing feeling knowing that I would make my professional broadcasting debut and that I would be getting some vital experience on the radio, covering football and covering the Euros! I owe so much to the guys at Radio Essex. They were so accommodating as soon as I stepped through the door, receiving guidance and advice from the get go. They have been brilliant with me.

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How do you research for match previews and how do you make it interesting for the listeners?  

I am doing the best job in the world. My research is watching football. I will go over the previous international results and games from both teams and take down crucial points such as goal scorers, man of the match and team news, as well as notes about the venue, records, outcomes, etc. The best way to make it interesting for the listeners is to keep it short, precise, and snappy; to make sure you get the point across efficiently and effectively. Paint images in the listeners’ heads to keep their attention. You don't get much time on air, so you've got to make the most of it. 

How do you condense 90 minutes of action into a short match report package for radio? 

Similarly to the preview, make sure you keep it concise to have the most impact. Take the most important moments and describe them, as well as post-match quotes, to create an entertaining radio package. It is so enjoyable. I am loving every moment of it.

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What about broadcasting appeals to you for post-graduation and your role in the sports media industry?  

Ever since I was a young boy I have always loved entertaining and allowing my voice to be heard, wanting to be a part of the broadcasting industry. Mostly, I love talking football, discussing, debating, and telling the news in an exciting and exhilarating way. Broadcasting is an amazing way to express your voice and opinions. Being on the radio will allow me to reach my overall ambition and goal which is to become a TV sports presenter, gaining crucial experience to develop my skills to a professional level.

What other experiences have you had during your time at UCFB that have helped your knowledge and understanding of the industry?  

Although we have been affected by COVID-19 and lockdown, I have had a number of great experiences within the industry and gained great knowledge in my first year at UCFB. I was a Media Assistant at Hashtag United for six weeks during the filming of their third Hashtag Academy series. During my time there, I also presented UCFB's behind the scenes content of the Hashtag Academy. I have interviewed many greats within my desired field such as Patrick Barclay, Alan Smith, and the legendary Martin Tyler, where I gained brilliant guidance and feedback. I also presented and commentated for WDSportz, covering the Essex Senior League and the Isthmian League. I began my own podcast, as well as writing for Arsenal VAVEL and more recently I became a freelancer for online publishers Planet Sport. All of these experiences within my first year have improved my skills to more of a professional level, preparing me for the future.

What are your predictions for the rest of the tournament? 

I have been surprised with Euro 2020 so far. Some teams have proved critics wrong, whereas some who were praised, have fallen. There have been many impressive teams already in the tournament. I really like the Netherlands, and I fancy Belgium. And of course I believe that football will come home. However, I think Italy has a very high chance of going all the way. For me, I think the Italians will claim the Euro 2020 crown.

Finally, what advice can you give to those who are looking at UCFB and thinking of coming here to study? 

The advice I would give someone who is looking to come to UCFB is if you want a successful career in sport, UCFB is the place to be. UCFB provide amazing experiences within the sporting industry that will prepare you for your future career. Opportunities in media, marketing, business, broadcasting, you name it. UCFB provides you with brilliant guidance, placing you on the road to success. But one thing I will say is, dream big. If you aim for the stars, you will fall on the moon.