BA (Hons) Sports Journalism students recently interviewed Vincent Pericard, former St Etienne, Juventus, Portsmouth and Stoke City striker, in a Q&A session at LCC.
Ahead of meeting Vincent, the students had a number of sessions on research and interviewing skills to develop their ‘news sense’. In preparation for reporting on the interview, they also learned about the various formats in which sports journalists are required to write.
During the Q&A session about his career and success on the pitch, Vincent spoke openly with students about his problems with depression. Relating to his experiences of joining Portsmouth as a 19-year-old, Vincent shared his view that British football clubs could do more to help foreign footballers settle when they arrive in the UK.
A strong advocate for persuading football clubs and governing bodies to do more in addressing mental health among players, Vincent is now studying a Business and Enterprise degree, developing business ideas which offer players the support he wishes had been available to him.
Ed Krarup, a student on the course, said ‘I loved hearing about Vincent’s experiences in the Champions League where he played with and against some of the best footballers of a generation, but it was the difficult periods of his career which were truly eye-opening. Recounting his experiences made us realise he was fundamentally just a human being, like any of us.
‘Preparing for this Q&A required research on Vincent himself. The internet and publications consistently documented the struggles he faced adapting to England, but as journalists, we need to ask questions that go deeper than the facts which already exist.
‘To ask the questions in the first place requires a certain degree of confidence; a skill which is often overlooked by those beginning to learn the trade. Putting your hand up and asking a famous sportsperson a delving question in front of your peers is difficult, so you have to be knowledgeable and demonstrate a level of politeness and sensitivity.
‘Vincent’s open and friendly style only corroborated that sportspeople are not trying to trip you up, or make you uncomfortable or nervous. In many cases, the interviewee is just as nervous as the interviewer!’
Course Leader Mark Barden explains that ‘the aim of this session was for students to put their learning into practice with someone from the sporting world; the challenge is to ask questions which elicit interesting answers from our guest. It also helps to get our students comfortable with speaking to professional sportspeople.
‘The session is filmed so they can watch it back, transcribe quotes and then generate content for their editorial practice portfolios.
‘Most importantly, it’s about developing the kind of professional confidence and communication skills that enable you to get great stories and share them with audiences in compelling and engaging ways.’
Find out more about BA (Hons) Sports Journalism.