Entry Three... April 2013: The start of the day: Editor's Conference
Mail on Sunday is based on Derry Street, right next to High Street Kensington - a busy and fairly glamorous road full of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The building which houses the Mail on Sunday also houses the Daily Mail, The Independent, 'I', Metro and The Evening Standard. It's a huge place packed full of journalists. You bump into the Sports Editor of the Daily Mail in the lift, see the Features Editor of The Independent on the escalator...it creates a vibrancy in the building. It's not sterile, like so many newspaper offices, but lively and buzzing. It's a good place to work.
The job of a Sports Editor sounds like a self-contained role in which you storm ahead and create the sports pages that you think are the best that can possibly be achieved. That's partly true, but the fuller truth is that the job is to act as custodian of the sports pages on behalf of the editor.
The sort of pages you create reflect both your own likes and dislikes, but also those of the editor. The newspaper needs to come together as a whole. He or she has the clearest idea of exactly who the target reader is and what that reader wants. It would be insane if the sports pages went off on a completely different direction and weren't written with the same sort of reader in mind, so - the editor is a key figure even in the rather separate pages of the sports supplement.
At Mail on Sunday there's an emphasis on being newsy, bright and appealing to the reader, but also there's an emphasis on doing things differently - trying to find interesting feature ideas to suprise and delight readers, as well as inform them. The ideal sports pages have a balance - a mixture of match reports, personality-packed interviews, big investigations and lighter, more whimsical pieces and the all-important results section at the back.
Because the overall leader of the newspaper is the editor, every morning there's 'editor's conference' where the department heads (news editor, features editor, politics editor, diary editor, city editor and sports editor etc) gather in the editor's office with the editor, deputy editor and associate editors to run through what stories they're working on that week. It's an interesting process that forces you to really think through the stories you're working on, and how compelling they are. As you present them you need to be able to answer questions about them and take advice on them. It's a useful forum, and one which ensures that you start the day with a crystal clear idea of what you're working towards.
Because of editor's conference being such a key part of the mornings, you tend to start every day by reading all of the newspapers and talkng to writers to find out exactly what's going on in the world. For anyone interested in becomign a sports reporter, sports sub or sports editor the vital thing you need to do is read all the sports pages - work out what articles you like, what writers you like - what you thnk of them - what they're good at, bad at...become an expert. Many newspapers are available free online, others are in libraries...read as many as you can.
So, life of a sports editor so far - read everything you can about sport, have lots of good ideas and be able to pitch them at the highest level, and have a great team of people to work with.