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EURO 2020: At The Tournament with Louise Bawden

5 July 2021

EURO 2020: At The Tournament with Louise Bawden

WIF sat down to speak to Louise Bawden, Managing Editor of Operations at Stats Perform, to hear all about how the sports tech data and AI company has approached UEFA EURO 2020 

As you’d expect Stats Perform, the sports tech leader in data and AI, are currently just a tad busy delivering quality content throughout the Euros. Heading up the Operations team for Stats Perform News is the brilliant Louise Bawden. 

“I’m the newly promoted Managing Editor of Operations at Stats Perform. I've been in my role for about five weeks, so it's pretty fresh.”

The Euros are an incredibly exciting time for Louise’s team, as they plan, organise and deliver the newsgathering for the production and editorial teams, a project they’ve now been working on delivering since 2019. 

“What's been really refreshing is that we're starting to get that little bit of normality back. And it's been really great to have teams out on the ground. We had Isabella, who's our video journalist, in Rome for the opening game, so that was really exciting to have people on the ground and have people speaking to fans and covering the tournament.”

So what does EURO 2020 really entail for Louise’s team? 

“Operationally, it's a huge task. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this either, a Euros tournament in so many different countries,11 different countries...There's a wide range of different types of content; video, editorial, live text commentary, lots of different types, so we’re trying to make sure we have all of the newsgathering that facilitates the output for our clients.”

“I take it as a huge honour to be able to be in charge of our newsgathering operation because it is a huge task, to organise and make sure everybody's in the right place.”

It’s an honour that Louise most certainly deserves, having grafted tirelessly throughout her career. But where did it all begin for her? 

“I actually studied law at Nottingham Trent University, and then took a bit of a path change as I went through my university journey. I ended up writing for the university magazine, one of my friends was the Editor-in-Chief and she said to me 'you could be really good at this, why don't you come and be the sports editor for the magazine?’"

“And once I finished my degree, I decided to do a Masters in Broadcast Journalism at Staffordshire University. And then from there is really where I started my football journey.”

“I was given an opportunity by a gentleman called Jeff Pickett, who runs Niche Sport Media up in Liverpool, where I freelanced for him. And he was incredible, really an amazing mentor.”

Louise’s mentorship with Jeff acted as a springboard into the world of sports journalism and a catalyst for a brilliant career that has seen her become a Managing Editor by the age of 34. 

"If you'd have said to me five years ago, that I would be a Managing Editor of a major sports news agency, I probably would have laughed you down the road, but here I am."

Louise is a wonderful example of how hard work and knowledge can prove incredibly fruitful, but that’s not to say she hasn’t faced challenges along the way. 

“I think some of the challenges are that you go into a press room and you are the only woman. It's gaining that respect and it's showing people that you're there because you're good at what you do and you're knowledgeable and that you're just as competent as they are.”

So what advice would she give to young women seeking a career in sports journalism?

“I would say never give up. Even when you think that maybe you're not the right person for the job, or you don't have enough skills or expertise, go out and get those skills and expertise.”

“Don't be afraid to reach out to people, talk to people. That tenacity that I showed in the early part of my career, sending dozens of emails so that I could get an opportunity. But then when you are given the opportunity, make sure you can deliver. I banged on lots of doors, but when the opportunity came, I just made sure that I absolutely did deliver.” 

That wonderful combination of tenacity and knowledge is most certainly a powerful asset for any person seeking to grow and thrive in the football industry.

Thank you so much to Louise for giving us her time (and we've loved seeing Stats Perform’s content over the course of the tournament!).

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