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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Under The Spotlight

Tyrese Campbell & Lasse Sorensen

STOKE CITY and Education and Lifelong Learning partner Staffordshire University joined forces once again earlier this month for a mock press conference at the Club’s Clayton Wood Training Ground.

Academy starlets Tyrese Campbell and Lasse Sorensen were tasked with fielding a number of questions from 28 second-year students on the university’s Sports Journalism degree course.

The event was organised by the Academy’s Head of Education Greg Briggs and university lecturer Ian Bayley to enable the young individuals involved to practice and enhance what will become future real life skills.

As part of their working framework with the Club, players are required to undertake various educational programmes and workshops to support them through their future career, whether that be in or out of the game.

One such element incorporated into the Academy’s lifestyle curriculum is media relations where players gain a greater understanding of the industry via presentations, guest speakers and field trips.

To enhance such work, the press conference project was formed with the local university three years ago and has since seen two players every season put up in front of aspiring journalists.

As in previous years, students were tasked with seeking answers to form pre-match previews that would suit the target audiences of the Stoke City website, Stoke Sentinel and opposing side’s local newspaper.

This year’s event was once again deemed a success by both parties and Greg Briggs told how important he felt it was for the Club’s young players to understand and experience dealing with the media.

“It’s really positive for our boys to be exposed to an environment such as this because it’s one they are going to be in quite often if they make their way through the game,” Briggs said.

“The experience they will have gained from answering different kinds of questions is huge. Sometimes they can be difficult, and they need to think on their feet, but we encourage that because they learn how to deal with them.

“The boys are now at an age where they have a good understanding of the game and I thought that was reflected in the way they communicated their detailed answers.”

He added: “We always look to incorporate media work into their lifestyle programme. We’ve had companies in the past come to speak to the boys and we also have a link -p with Sky Sports to allow them to see how they operate.

“It’s something we encourage them to be fully immersed in from the outset because we have seen how quickly players can progress and all of a sudden they may have to deal with local, national and international media on a regular basis.”

Ian Bayley, lecturer in Professional Sports Writing at Staffordshire University added how the link-up had worked well over the years and the benefits it provides for both parties.

“It’s a fantastic experience for our second-year students, many of whom will not have experienced first-hand a press conference environment before,” the Sentinel's former Stoke City correspondent said.

“The students love this part of the course every year and we always receive feedback at the end of the academic year to say that it was their favourite assignment.

“We’ve always had strong links with the Club, and in fact quite a few of our former students have either worked, are still working or have enjoyed media internships at Stoke City over the years. 

“The Club can see how great an experience it is for their young players to handle a press conference situation and everything that comes with it, from the setup of the room to the different type of questions asked. 

“It’s a win-win situation for both parties and we pride ourselves on the fantastic relationship we have with the Football Club. 

“You could teach students all day in a classroom but there’s nothing better than actually getting out there and seeing how the real world operates.

“The students have interviewed two players today, who, if they go on to become professional footballers, will need to deal press conferences and the media on a regular basis. 

“The Club see this as a chance to indulge in some media training for their young players which is the right thing to do because media education is important, particularly with how big the media is today.

“If you become a top professional footballer nowadays there is no getting away from the media and you need to know how to handle it.”