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UCLan graduate, to multi-award winning sports journalist

Multi-award winning journalist and University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate, Nizaar Kinsella, is a prime example of how hard work and commitment pays off.

Since graduating in 2011, the Manchester-born journalist has excelled in his sports journalism profession and is now Chelsea FC correspondent for the world's biggest football website Goal.com, bringing exclusive news from the leagues, teams and players that matter to over 64 million football fans.

Working for Goal.com, Nizaar’s role ranges from breaking news on player transfers ahead of competitors and interviewing high-profile footballers such as John Terry, Cesc Fàbregas and John Obi Mikel, to travelling internationally to cover football matches at major tournaments.

During his four years of studying journalism at UCLan, Nizaar made sure he stood out by undertaking various work placements, to winning the BBC Innovation Award for coverage of the 2010 Conservative Party Spending Review and its effects on local areas in the North West. He said:

“We had a newsday where we had a load of universities compete against one another where we ran a multimedia BBC style newsroom with radio, TV and online coverage.

“We also built a website for all the footage we made and I was the one who led the radio side of things.

He added: “That was definitely one of my highlights of the course”.

Nizaar believes that getting involved with student media, where he won the Outstanding Achievement Award for his role as station manager, was invaluable. He said:

“It was my first big award as a journalist, and with regards to getting a job, that really helped me and gave me confidence.”

Nizaar described the journalism industry as extremely competitive, however, with the help and support of the staff at UCLan, he was able to find employment. He said:

“On the course they push you to find work and that was really good.

“It was good having people like Deborah Robinson and Julie Freer pushing you to get work placements, which helped me massively to get my first job.”

Nizaar’s first post came as a Digital Producer at the Institute of Physics in London and despite the fact that this forced him to move away from his northern roots, he believes this benefited him considerably. He said:

“I quite like being up north, so I didn’t really like the idea of moving to London, but I took the plunge and haven’t looked back since.”

After an impressive start to his career, Nizaar landed himself the job of Video Journalist at the Daily Mirror, a challenging and very fast-paced role where he was responsible for a combination of editorial work; filming exclusives; and huge breaking stories from news, to celebrity and sports.

In November 2015, as the only senior journalist at the office during the time of the Paris attacks, Nizaar took on the responsibility to verify all the facts of breaking news content as the story unfolded. He said:

“It was a very video-led story. I worked four or five hours after my scheduled shift as it was a massive story and you do what’s required when something like that happens”.

In 2016, the team scooped the Digital Award at the UK Press Awards for their exceptional live rolling news coverage of major news stories including the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the Oscar Pistorius trial. Furthermore, the team was presented with the Trinity Mirror Digital Excellence Award in recognition for continuing outstanding performance.

By Donna Sladen