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Stuart James – about technology in journalism

January 12, 2013

We were given this assessment in school in which we were to find and interview a professional journalist on the topic of ‘using technology for journalism’. As I want to go in to football journalism (at least as it seems now), I wanted to find a sports journalist who covered football games. And luckily I did!

Stuart James, who works as a football reporter for The Guardian and The Observer, did not just accept the interview, but he also invited me to come and watch the game between Aston Villa and Stoke in Birmingham with him as he was going there anyway to report. Therefore I’ve shot the interview from the stadium, to kind of send out a message that sport journalism is my “thing”.

As a football reporter, you are constantly surrounded by technology and as Stuart says: “Embrace technology” is really important. You cannot be resistant to it when working in this business and as technology evolves, journalists must keep up as well to be able to continue doing their job well.

Stuart tells us that his laptop is the most essential and important technology device that he owns for his job.

“If I’ve left that at home then I have problems,” he said. He needs to constantly be connected online and send reports, receive information etc via his laptop in order for him to do his job properly. He explains that he also has a dongo which he can plug in to his laptop if there is not a WiFi connection so that he can still get online.

Even though Stuart is surrounded by all this technology like his laptop and his Blackberry, he is still missing one thing.

“If I could invent one thing, I know definitely what this would be. When I’ve done interviews it takes me a long time to transcribe afterwards, typing up all the words and sometimes it might be an hour or an hour and a half interviews. So with the speed I type, and the speed people talk, it could take me maybe three hours. I wish there was some technology so that I could put my dictaphone in to my computer and then all the words would appear on the screen.”

I think this is an interesting thought. I thought actually that this kind of stuff already existed somehow. I do not know why but I find it kind of strange that with today’s technology we’re still missing stuff like that. We can send people to the moon and explore Mars but journalists have to write everything someone else says, like in an interview, with their bare hands. And as Stuart says, it could be really hard to keep up.

I was thinking to myself, after reviewing the day at the ground with him, how it would have been if I got there and we could not use any technology at all. That means I would have walked in to the ‘press lounge’ and just met a few journalists. The TVs hanging on the walls showing the “pre-game-talk” would not be there informing us on what is happening before the game. The headsets to hear the commentators or the small TV machines at the press box would not be there as well, making it harder gather information or see details if something happens. And not to even mention using a pen and paper to write down reports during the game and the interviews with the players after the game. We are so spoiled today…

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