The fourth young reporters programme took place during the European Under-21 Championship final tournament in Italy and San Marino.
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For three weeks, a mentoring team of expert journalists led by Keir Radnege, Riccardo Romani, Martin Mazur and Andrea Giannini introduced their protégés to the different pillars of sports journalism – research and preparation, formats and structures, and ethics – underlining the importance of the written and social media, photography and video operations. In addition, the young reporters also had a chance to learn more about UEFA and its contribution to football.
The programme, organised jointly by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) and UEFA, involved 19 reporters from three continents and followed successful programmes at the European Under-21 Championship finals in Israel (2013) and the Czech Republic (2015), and UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 in the Netherlands.
“Our young colleagues had a unique chance to enjoy the life of a professional reporter,” said Martin Mazur, a sports journalist from Argentina and one of the AIPS mentors. “They were covering training sessions, press conferences, mixed zones and open media days, reporting from the matches and post-match media activities. During the process, not only did they learn how to deliver on time, but also how to comply with the rules and regulations of a big football tournament.
“They were encouraged to search for stories and work on different assignments, on top of the articles, videos or podcasts they were producing for their local media outlets. As the future cornerstone of European and global sports journalism, our young reporters had a chance to hear and see how deep the roots of football grow, its social and cultural impact on society, and clarify all the ideas they had about this beautiful game.”
Through special presentations and Q&A sessions, the mentors helped the young journalists expand their knowledge of the complex European football landscape and answer all their questions on various topics such as refereeing, match operations, national association development, technical development and football education, futsal and many other topics. At the end of the course, just a few hours before the final between Spain and Germany in Udine, the young reporters met the UEFA president, Aleksander Čeferin, who presented them with their certificates and wished them the best in their future careers.
“You are the future of sports journalism, not only in Europe. And the modern trends in journalism rely too much on negativity and sensationalism. You have the power and knowledge to change it. I am not asking you to turn your head the other way when something is not right, but the very opposite. I just want you also to use your skill to promote positive stories, and football has so many of them to offer. And trust me, people love reading and watching positive stories, too,” Mr Čeferin said.
Founded in Paris in 1924, the AIPS is the peak professional body representing the international sports media, with more than 9,500 members worldwide.
The young reporters programme is a cornerstone initiative for AIPS that offers the new generation of sports journalists a unique opportunity to experience a top international event at first hand.
This article appeared originally in UEFA Direct 186