Case study

Freelance sports journalist — Matthew Howarth

Matthew never dreamt his degree would lead to a job in Germany writing about a sport he loves

How did you get your job?

I went to the University of Kent to study sport and exercise science and after that I did a Masters in sports journalism at Sheffield Hallam University.

When I graduated from that I did a week of unpaid work experience at the Newcastle Evening Chronicle newspaper, followed by three weeks at the Sheffield Star newspaper. I also took part in a one-day masterclass at the Guardian entitled 'How to be a football journalist'.

After applying for several full-time jobs, I was finally offered paid work by, which is the official English-language website of German football's top division.

Start your own blog and write about anything you feel like - opinion pieces, previews, match reports - it's important to get used to writing articles regularly

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My postgraduate course was obviously a huge help in securing my current job, but if I hadn't studied sport and exercise science at undergraduate level, I may never have got a place on a sports journalism course. In that sense, I'd say both degrees were equally important in getting my first job.

What are your main work activities?

No two days are ever the same in journalism, but when I'm working for, I write and/or edit match previews, match reports, news stories, features, etc. for the website. Occasionally, I'm sent out to report on Bundesliga matches and conduct interviews with players and/or managers.

When I'm not working for in Munich, I translate articles for and the FIFA Weekly football magazine from home.

How do you use your degree in your job?

The skills I learned during my postgraduate degree (e.g. how to write match reports/features) have proved invaluable. However, it's only when you start your first job that you become accustomed to the tight deadlines and really start to improve as a writer.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Writing about football for a living isn't too bad, is it?! There is a lot of pressure involved, especially if a really big news story has just broken and we're working tooth and nail to get it on the website as quickly as possible. Match days are also rather hectic, but being able to watch football matches from a stadium's press box really is a dream come true.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

The deadlines can be tough, especially on days when there's a lot going on. There's also a lot you have to think about on match days. As well as the match report itself (which has to be on the website as quickly as possible after full time) we also have to provide live updates on Twitter and download pictures of the relevant match for the website. There's usually a collective sigh of relief when Saturday's matches are over.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

Hopefully, I'll be doing more of the same, though if you'd told me five years ago I'd be doing this for a living, I never would have believed you. Who knows what the future holds!

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Start your own blog and write about anything you feel like - opinion pieces, previews, match reports - it's important to get used to writing articles on a regular basis. You can provide regular links to your blog on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Other than that, I also found reading other people's work very helpful. Blogs on the BBC football website, the Independent and the Guardian are all well-written and should give you some useful tips.