For Sport Grill’s latest guest, we have interviewed ex Boro TV presenter and now Bein Sports star, Kay Murray.
Having initially started out her career at Boro TV, Kay now works for Bein Sports USA. Along the way, she has done an internship at The Observer and worked on Real Madrid TV interviewing the likes of Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
This is a must read for anyone looking to enter sport journalism or just interested in the life of a sports journalist. Kay not only offers a detailed insight into her career but also plenty of inspiration so enjoy reading this post.
- Growing up, what inspired you to go into the sporting media industry?
I loved football since I was a child and as I grew up, I realized that I wanted more than to just go to and watch the games each week. I would have been happy to work behind the scenes at a football club but an opportunity came up at Boro TV and I couldn’t turn it down.
- What was it like working on Boro TV as a reporter before stepping up and presenting the pre match show, back when Boro TV was a proper channel?
It was initially a couple of week’s work experience when I started out at Boro TV, helping out with research and production duties, but I was told of an idea they had in the pipeline for a pre-match show so I put together a folder of ideas that I thought would work and was given the opportunity to make a pilot.
The show, Soccer Surgery went ahead that season and still to this day, it was one of the most fun shows that I have ever worked on.
It didn’t get much better than hanging out at the pub with a brilliant co-host like Gary Philipson, chatting about Boro with fellow fans and local figures of note.
- When Real Madrid came calling, how did you feel about one of the world’s biggest football clubs wanting you, after stints in the print media and TV Shopping industries?
I applied for the Real Madrid TV position ahead of the international channel’s launch and although I was shortlisted, I didn’t get the job.
I knew people who were working there and once a position became available ahead of the channel’s second season, they put my name, CV and showreel forward again.
It was such an exciting time to hear that I’d got the job this time around. It was also a little overwhelming to be leaving behind the life I had made for myself in London.
I had been enjoying my job as a trainee reporter on a local paper. I moved out of my flat, sold my car and had to leave my loved ones behind. But it was the right decision and I’ve never looked back.
- You linked up with the Galacticos and started out behind the scenes before stepping up to being the TV reporter then presenter, like you did at Boro TV. What was it like working for a foreign club TV channel compared to Boro TV and is there any advice that you would pass onto young journalists?
Even though it was still a lot of fun, it was also a lot more serious than my role at Boro TV.
Real Madrid are such a famous club and always in the public eye, so you had to be sure to act accordingly in your role. The channel was also broadcast to countries all over the world too.
I travelled with the team to away games and Champions League matches, which was something that my role at Boro hadn’t required. I also had to learn another language, culture and way of life.
The best advice that I can give is to gain work experience, whether its paid or not.
I was an intern on The Observer sports desk when I was studying journalism and it really helped me because I learned some valuable experience from professionals who were at the top of their field. I was able to assist them, see the way they researched things and learn how they sourced important information.
Another thing I did was Hospital Radio, which allows you to do some good for the community.
You also have to make some things happen for yourself. There are so many avenues open now for young journalists, especially with the rise of the digital world.
You can blog, you can set up a YouTube channel, anything that helps raise your profile in a positive way and showcase what you have to offer.
Think outside the box and if one door is closed to you, look for another that is open and try that one.
- Jose Mourinho was at the helm during your time at Real Madrid TV so how easy was it to interact with the ‘Special One’, given his tendency to be moody if not happy with result or performance as often demonstrated over here?
In the beginning, it was very easy to interact with him, but in the later stages of his time at Real Madrid the atmosphere was very different. Because we were the club channel, we weren’t out to try and fabricate a story or annoy him, so it was easy to communicate with him and for the most part, he was great to work with.
- Bein Sport USA then came knocking. What persuaded you to leave Madrid and head Stateside to work for a specialist sports channel, having spent a few years working your way up Real Madrid TV?
I was ready for a change and was drawn by the challenge of broadcasting in America and being a part of the immense growth of the sport in this country. I’d also had a bit of practice in leaving one country for another for a new job opportunity.
- Despite working aboard, you still follow Boro. How do you cope with the time-zone difference affecting how much you see of matches, although Middlesbrough being in the Premier League last season must have made it easier given that foreign channels can show all matches at same time?
I get to watch or listen to games in the morning or early afternoon here which I love. I’m not used to having to wait until the late afternoon or evening to see my team play anymore!
Although it doesn’t matter what time-zone I’m in, I’ll always stay on top of any Boro fixtures.
Last season, it was a lot easier to see them because the Premier League is massive out here. I hope to see them there again very soon.
- Now that Boro are back down in the Championship, what do you think they need to do to get back up then fight for comfortable mid-table finishes?
I’ll leave that to the manager and board to decide!
Its been great to see some of the videos of the players pranking each other, having fun and spending time together off the pitch though.
Team unity is always essential for success.
- You have said on record that England lag behind in giving women opportunities in football; “It’s getting a bit better but I ended up doing a lot better in Spain,” Northern Echo 2011. Now that opportunities for women in sport is rising six years later – particularly as women sports are rapidly coming into their own, do you feel that we are now on our way to providing British women with a platform to have successful careers in football on and off the pitch?
There’s definitely been an improvement in that area, which is encouraging to see. I’d urge all females aspiring to work in football to check out womeninfootball.com , which is a network of professional women working in the industry who provide support to their peers.
- Finally, what would you say to young women who want to break into the sporting media industry?
I want to send the same message to young women and men looking to work in the industry. Work hard, make sure you’re always prepared, just don’t try and ‘wing anything’ and believe in yourself.
Also, help people around you, you’d be surprised at how often you bump into these people later down the line.
Read, watch, listen etc to established professionals that you look up to. It a good way to get tips, but that said, always be sure to have your own little unique touch on anything that you do.
With special thanks to Kay Murray for taking time out of her busy schedule to do this interview.