Going live on the BBC: Journalism student on track for a career as a sports pundit
08 November 2023
Image credit: Jonah Holmes
A third-year Journalism & Creative Writing BA(Hons) student at Falmouth University's School of Communication has secured a placement with the BBC, supported by course lecturer and former BBC journalist Kevin Bishop.
After plugging away at live broadcasts and interviews both at home and away for over a year, Pablo Woolls-Blanco and the team involved in the live sports broadcasts from Mousehole AFC have been nominated for an award at the UK’s Football Content Awards (known as "the Oscars of the sports journalism world").
Pablo signed up with BBC Radio Cornwall to provide them with regular weekly updates on Mousehole AFC football club. After working with the club for over a year as their regular match reporter, he now provides reports for the wider BBC audience every Saturday afternoon. Pablo's BBC role involves reporting from home and away matches, giving previews, team lineups, kick-off, half-time and then full-time reports and interviews with players and the manager.
We asked Pablo about the new skills he's developed with the club alongside his new BBC South West contacts.
How did your experience as a BBC sports journalist come about?
Well, I’ve been reporting for Mousehole AFC for just over a year now, helping produce media content last season. Whether that’s presenting, conducting interviews or making social media content. After our promotion to Step Four and the Southern League, making us Cornwall’s second highest ranked football team behind only Truro City, it felt right to have BBC coverage of our games. I had previously been in touch with Ross Ellis of BBC Radio Cornwall’s Sport Programme previously, and in June I proposed the idea of doing live radio updates and coverage of each of Mousehole’s fixtures. So, after some discussion, we found an agreement and made it happen. It’s great for the club and it’s a great experience for me too.
What have been the highlights for you so far?
It’s been a really good test and experience for me so far. I’ve only really just got started, but already it’s challenging. Making sure you are available at all times to give an update, trying to keep up with all the details of the game, all whilst listening in to hear when they pass over to you...it’s something I’m still getting used to, but it’s been such a good opportunity and experience for me to test myself in live broadcasting. I like pressure, so it suits me!
How has your course helped to prepare you for the opportunity?
I’d already had good experience before the course with this sort of thing - livestreams, broadcasting to large audiences, being ready to give instant analysis with no preparation. That’s what I want to do, so I already felt confident in that regard. Of course, the degree has helped me out with understanding some of the kit, which levels are right for audio, and that sort of thing. There are some great lecturers here at Falmouth who’ve definitely helped me.
How will you use this experience to help your career after graduating?
Well, it’s exactly along the sort of path I want to be going down, so I have no doubt it will hugely benefit me in my career. I want to be a broadcast sport journalist, especially live and to large audiences, covering big sporting events and stories, so being able to do this gig for BBC Radio Cornwall and for a club with such a great story like Mousehole is a really unique opportunity for me.
Anything you’ve found surprising about the experience?
It’s definitely been a challenge. It requires a lot of focus and concentration to always get things right and be ready, on the spot, to give updates. It surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it definitely does test you. But I want to be tested and progressing with my work.
In regard to the award, it’s just more great news to be honest. It means a lot to the club, and it means a lot to me personally. If I’ve been able to help a club like Mousehole be selected for an award as prestigious as the Football Content Awards are, with so many great nominees across all the categories, then that is absolutely fantastic. I came here to take things to another level on the media side, and with all the praise we’ve got so far, to then be nominated for this is like the icing on the cake. I always want what’s best for the club so it’s brilliant. I’m very much looking forward to the ceremony in Anfield.
Alongside Journalism & Creative Writing BA(Hons) lecturer Kevin Bishop and Pablo Woolls-Blanco, Falmouth University photography student Jonah Holmes joined the content creators in their BBC coverage for Mousehole AFC. The trio are now set to find out the results of their shortlisting at Liverpool’s Anfield Ground on 16 November, where the Football Contents Awards will be hosted.
You can listen to Pablo‘s reports on BBC Radio Cornwall or via the BBC Sounds app. His regular match reports for Mousehole are available on the club website.