What does an Editor actually do?
If I were to sum up my role in one sentence, it’d be ‘to oversee all content that is distributed under the SportBusiness International brand’. The two main parts of this are the monthly magazine and our online output. I ensure that everything we write is of the highest quality, consistent to the SportBusiness International brand and, most of all, relevant to our subscribers. In addition to that, I conduct high-profile interviews and also write articles myself.
Can you lead us through a typical day in the office…?
First of all, due to the nature of journalism, I’d say that both my team and I try to be out of the office as much as possible. The high number of sports executives working in London and the amount of people passing through the city means that we are not at our desks as much as some people may be as we try to capitalise on these interview and networking opportunities.
Saying that, when I am in the office, the first thing that I’d do is to catch up on any overnight news – this is a 24 hour industry and SportBusiness International covers the international business of sport. The time difference means that there could be pressing stories in the Americas and APAC regions that we need to cover, so I use Twitter as a key tool for capturing these stories, as well as reading through the large number of press releases that we receive.
I’ll then catch up with my team to find out where we are regarding certain articles. This will include the internal team as well as the specialist freelancers that we have in all of the different territories, capturing stories that may not be readily available here in London – what’s happening in Colombian volleyball, for example, isn’t easy to keep on top of from the UK!
I’ll then be working on personal pieces, my column in the magazine and editing copy that comes into me.
I also, quite often, get asked by external media outlets to comment on breaking sport business news and suggest why this may be happening and what the current trends surrounding the scenario are.
Finally, I attend numerous strategic meetings with both the editorial and sales team to discuss what we are going to be publishing and which sectors we are targeting in the coming months.
How do you become a leading sports magazine/website Editor?
I, personally, took the work experience route – I don’t have any formal journalism qualifications. During university I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I was good at writing and loved sport, so decided that if I could pave a career in this field, I’d be sorted! This gave me about 18 months to gain as much work experience as possible. This included student newspapers, the South Wales Echo, The Press Association and The Independent. I guess this is the ‘old school’ route, but it definitely worked for me.
Sports journalism, in particular, is a very competitive market. If you don’t want to go down the route that I took, there are numerous different journalism qualifications you can gain. We have a combination of both career paths in our office, so there is no absolute defined route.
If I were to offer a tip to anyone aspiring to gain a career in this field, it’d be to ‘find a niche’. Many, many people love, watch, talk and write about football, which makes it a very difficult field to penetrate. I was lucky that I accidentally found my niche in the business of sport, but I am delighted that I did. I’d say that sport business is under-resourced in the mainstream media considering the amount of money that is in it and the impact it has on the field, so it’s great for me to have found that as my niche and have an informed opinion that people value.
What are the qualities needed to be an Editor and what have you learned since being in the role?
First things first, you must be able to multitask. We have a 100 page (minimum) magazine going out every month; I have to edit articles, write articles, communicate with design, source industry news and also act as a key contact for external sources, so the ability to multitask is vital when juggling all of these tasks.
You must be personable and able to network. Meeting and talking to people is something that is interspersed within my role, but to develop this ability and establish quality industry contacts that you can call upon will only improve the quality of work you can produce and also help you in your career path.
Any journalism role will have strict deadlines, this means that being able to work under pressure is essential. Each month, the ultimate deadline is the magazine going to print, but we have various other deadlines to adhere to each day for this to be made possible.
Never be afraid to ask ‘why?’ – part of our remit at SportBusiness International is to record both best and worst commercial practice within the industry. Sometimes it may sound like a stupid question, but asking why someone is going about a task in a certain way can produce the most illuminating responses. Some of the responses will fall into the ‘bad commercial practice’ category, which we must report on. This may turn some heads, but it’s important to realise that you cannot keep everyone happy all of the time, one of the joys of being a journalist!
Can you tell us about a project/task within your career that you have particularly enjoyed?
I’d have to highlight the recent 200th edition of SportBusiness International magazine. We created a ‘Hall of Fame’ where we inducted 200 people who have been interviewed and contributed to the magazine along the way.
I was also able to bring together the five editors of the magazine since it was founded in 1996 and we discussed the highs and lows of the role as well as how the industry has developed in the last 18 years. Not only was this illuminating but it was also fun and unearthed numerous great anecdotes. It also made me realise what a privileged position I am in, right at the core of the industry.
Matt Cutler is Editor at SportBusiness International