Wednesday 16 November 2011
Former Barclays Premier League star Mark Bright is backing a new competition that will give a budding journalist a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Bright, who made 143 Barclays Premier League appearances with Crystal Palace, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic, is now a top reporter for the BBC.
And he is trying to help aspiring journalists break into the industry through an exciting scheme that will provide an up-and-coming writer with a taste of reporting on the Barclays Premier League.
Barclays, the title sponsor of the Premier League, have teamed up with the Football Writers' Association and Mail Online to launch the Barclays Aspiring Football Writer Competition.
Budding football writers are invited to submit their own articles and match reports on the Barclays Premier League, with the best entries published on the competition's website - www.barclaysfootballwriter.com.
The panel of expert judges - consisting of Bright, FWA Chairman Steve Bates, Mail Online Sports Editor Mike Anstead and Dan Wass of Barclays - will choose the best entry next February.
The winner will be rewarded with a week's work experience with Mail Online where they will get a priceless insight into the life of a football writer. They will also get a trip to a Barclays Premier League match at Manchester City and a tour of the press areas from a leading football correspondent.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for an aspiring writer," said Bright. "We are looking for basic grammar, spelling and accuracy of course but also for some creative writing and a bit of personality.
"I would have loved that opportunity when I was trying to break into the media after hanging up my boots. I used to think that the reporter would just sit and watch the game and then write a report and that was it. But it is so much more than that - especially in this technological age.
"Even now, I watch the most experienced writers and wonder how they manage to watch the match and write at the same time - especially when a last-minute goal goes in to change the whole story of the match.
"Going back 20 years or so to when I was playing, the industry was very different. The local reporter was almost a trusted member of the team. He would come down to the training ground most days and chat to whichever players he wanted and he was able to build up a trust and a rapport.
"Access is now strictly controlled by press officers and the way news is reported has changed beyond recognition with the advent of the internet and then audio and video clips and then Twitter. It is now more competitive than ever to break into reporting on the Barclays Premier League, so the Barclays Aspiring Football Writer Competition can provide a real platform for the winner."
The competition website - www.barclaysfootballwriter.com - will act as a valuable resource for fans, with video tips and advice on getting into the industry from some of the most celebrated football writers in the country, including the Daily Mail's Matt Lawton, The Sun's Shaun Custis and Matt Dickinson of The Times.
The closing date for the competition is 6th February 2012. Go to www.barclaysfootballwriter.com for full details.