Gary Parkinson, online editor of FourFourTwo gave this advice as part of a Masterclass on opportunities for newly-qualified journalists in consumer magazines/websites.
You'll find the full Masterclass at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide.
Gary Parkinson believes it is easer to make it as a football writer than it was when he set out: “At the risk of being an old fart it’s a lot easier these days, because you can submit stuff, you won't get paid but it will get run and your name will get known if you are any good.
“I can think of three people who got jobs around the industry on the strength of references based on what they have done for FourFourTwo.
“The website of a title such as FourFourTwo involves a mass of work to be done and they need work experience, placements to get it done.”
In the video Gary explains that the number of outlets gives you huge opportunity to show what you can do and, hopefully, get noticed.
He has views on the sort of journalism qualification you need. Should it be a sports journalism degree or postgrad qualification?
He thinks a more general journalism degree is better. As he says: "I've covered everything from architecture to Arsenal". Who knows what skills he might need in the future.
And, while paper qualifications are important, it’s your demonstration of how you can do the job that is really vital.
Gary's advice: be proactive, pitch ideas to FourFourTwo and other magazines.
A pitch for FourFourTwo should be: “Precise and concise, two maybe three paragraphs long, explaining what the idea is, how you’ll expand on it, who you’ll interview, what length and what angle it could take.
“Because it could be that somebody likes the idea but you’re pitching it as a jokey thing and he might think it’s deadly serious. So, be flexible, but also give ideas. Basically, look for reasons to be hired.
“Add links to show what you have done – have a blog or a YouTube channel."