Emma interviewing Jay-Jay Okocha
Long holding an interest in journalism since a young age, Emma Norris was first made aware of UCLan’s BA (Hons) Sports Journalism course at the age of 15. “Being a massive fan of sport, it seemed to be the perfect way to combine two passions in my life and I couldn’t have been more right,” Emma said.
Since graduating in 2012, Emma has gone on to work for her childhood football club, Bolton Wanderers FC, as the Media and PR Manager. Emma’s role is varied, and involves serving as the main point of contact for all external media requests, liaising with the manager and players in regards to press conferences and media appearances, organising interviews and gaining as much positive PR for Bolton Wanderers as possible.
The UCLan Alumna also writes press releases and website articles, edits videos for the clubs’ YouTube and iFollow channels, while a very big part of her job, however, is collating content and writing pieces for the match day programme.
As with many graduates, Emma didn’t walk into her dream job straight away. Initially working as a copywriter for JJB and JD Sports, she continued to pursue a career in football.
“Back in late 2012, the club advertised for a new journalist to join the media department – I was interviewed for the position, but unfortunately lost out to a more experienced candidate,” she said.
“This didn’t deter me, however. After ringing up for feedback, the Head of Communications offered me the chance to come and work home matches to get the experience that I was lacking – an opportunity I jumped at. In the meantime, I continued with my role at JD Sports until I received a phone call from the club in July 2013, asking me to come in for a meeting.
“Unsure of what this would bring, I attended and was stunned when the club offered me a role in the department, on recommendation from the media staff members. I started the job in September 2013, and I have been able to grow my job role, so much so that I am now Media & PR Manager, having worked my way up from Social Media and Communications Assistant.
“I would not have gotten where I am today without persisting and offering my services as early on as possible, and I would encourage anybody looking to get into a similar role to do the same.”
As part of Emma’s efforts, Bolton Wanderers won Sports Trader’s League One Programme of the Year for the 16/17 season. This included 30 issues throughout the campaign, amassing 84 pages per programme.
“I honestly couldn’t be happier – it isn’t a job for a faint hearted and the hours are long, but it’s one which I relish coming into every single day,” said Emma.
Despite learning the trade at her dream club, Emma still thanks UCLan for providing the skills needed to succeed in sports media.
Emma added: “If you’re passionate about journalism and sport, I don’t think there is a better place to be than UCLan.
“It really is true when people say that university can change your life – UCLan definitely did that for me. The support and experience from the tutors, coupled with the numerous opportunities offered in terms of gaining valuable experience outside of university life, has proven to be the catalyst in my route into the industry.”
12 March 2018