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Feature: Sports Journalism MA, Marina’s story

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Feature: Sports Journalism MA, Marina’s story

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With a new cohort of students embarking on the MA Sports Journalism course at St Mary’s University, Twickenham this September, Programme Director Dr Daragh Minogue talks about recent graduate success. The most frequent question I’m asked by applicants is, “Will I get a job in the sports media when I graduate?” For the last couple of years, my answer is invariably the same, “look at our graduate employment record, it’s what we are most proud of.” Our international graduates tell a similar story. The MA in Sports Journalism will almost certainly improve your career prospects back in your home country. Take Marina’s story, for example. Marina Izidro is a Carioca, a native of Rio de Janeiro and currently a reporter with SporTV, Brazil’s biggest sports channel. After Marina graduated in 2012, I was keen to catch up with her. Thankfully, St Mary’s was able to send me to Brazil during the FIFA World Cup (so I could also fulfil a lifelong ambition and see a football match in the Maracana).
Marina Izidro Profile Picture
Three days before the opening match between the hosts and Croatia, I’m having lunch with Marina in a typically busy neighbourhood restaurant in Gavea, a suburb of Rio. She takes me back to the summer of 2011, “I was in a junior production role at SporTV with limited opportunities for promotion and no chance of working at London 2012. But that’s where I wanted to be.” After finding us on the internet, Marina quit her job and arrived in London a few months later to enroll on the course. Alongside her studies Marina gained some valuable experience with our training partners, Sportsbeat, reporting on numerous Olympic test events in the run up to games, “I also produced a story for BBC World about Jamie Oliver opening a restaurant in Brazil and did some translation and filming for Four Four Two.” Marina kept in touch with SporTV. She quickly made herself indispensable to their planning operations for London 2012 and their news desk was clearly impressed with the stories she was filing for Sportsbeat. A short reporting contract for the Olympics soon followed. Not satisfied with this, Marina also got a job in the communications office for Team Brazil during the Paralympic Games. Marina passed all her NCTJ Diploma exams, except shorthand, but she got her speed close to 100 words per minute, a remarkable achievement for a native Portuguese speaker. “Although I don’t use it anymore, I must be the only reporter in Brazil who knows Teeline.” Marina completed her studies by writing a dissertation analysing British press coverage of London 2012. Written from a Brazilian perspective, she drew some important lessons for a media system that previously operated under a dictatorship 29 years ago. She clearly demonstrates that a free and critical press is central to a successful sporting mega-event, like the Olympics or the World Cup. On her return to Rio, SporTV eventually offered Marina a full time reporting job and a pay rise, but she also noticed something else in the newsroom. “I could see my colleagues now respected me.” In a typically male dominated workplace, this was recognition indeed. Marina can’t recommend studying in London enough, “In Rio, no one really lives on campus at University, whereas at St Mary’s it is so different. I became part of a community”. She fell in love with Borough Market, Camden Town and Richmond Park, where she trained for the Paris Marathon. Oh yes, I forgot that, she ran the Paris Marathon … a week before her NCTJ exams! Coming to St Mary’s University certainly paid off for Marina. She even talks about returning one day, maybe to work in SportTV’s London office in Camden, but she’s not looking past what will sure to be a career highlight for any Carioca working in sports journalism - the Rio Olympics in 2016. Daragh Minogue, Summer 2014.
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