By Jake Smith
The IMMAF Young MMA Journalists competition is an ‘amazing opportunity for young reporters from around the world to learn from seasoned professionals and cut their teeth on site at a major international sports event”, said the former head of Associated Press’ Olympic service Steve Wilson.
The two winners will be given the opportunity to cover the 2021 IMMAF World Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, under the guidance and mentorship of Wilson- a highly experienced and respected sports journalist who is now also acting Chairman of IMMAF’s Marketing and Communications’ Commission.
Throughout his illustrious career, Wilson has covered some of the biggest sporting events on the globe. He reflected on his introduction into sports reporting and how covering a lower level sports team to begin with, helped his career. He said:
“I began covering sports during my first year at university. I attended Tufts University outside Boston and began my journalism career working on the Tufts Observer, the campus weekly paper. I started out covering the women’s field hockey and women’s tennis teams.
“This was a great experience because I had to learn to make the stories interesting and not just a list of the results. My work paid off when the women’s hockey coach trusted me to the point that one day she dropped a huge story on me – she was about to file a sex discrimination lawsuit against the university. I had a front-page story that week and that launched my career into news reporting as well as sports reporting.”
As part of his role within the International Olympic Committee, Wilson is a mentor for the International Olympic Committee Young Reporters’ Programme meaning he sees, first hand, the development of young journalists.
“Being a mentor in the IOC Young Reporters’ Programme has given me so much satisfaction to see how the young reporters learn and develop and move into professional media careers. It has proven to be a life-changing experience for many of the young reporters. I feel very proud to see them succeed.”
In a commitment to help develop the talent outside of the cage, as well as inside the cage, the competition will be run annually. Wilson sees this as a big statement of intent from IMMAF. He said: “I see this as a definite commitment of the IMMAF to engage with young people and encourage young journalists to follow and cover the sport. Amateur MMA is a young and fast-growing sport.
“It is the perfect sport for young journalists to cover and deliver content to a young generation of fans.
“The competition is important because it will help promote Amateur MMA as well as help develop young media members. It is a win-win situation.”
Having been at the top of the sports reporting landscape for many years, Wilson is always keen to offer advice to the next generation of journalists. He explained what he believes it takes to make it in the industry.
“I have covered major sports and news events all over the world in my career. I feel so lucky to have been able to travel the world and experience different cultures and ways of life – all while pursuing my passion for reporting and writing. If there is one piece of advice I would give to a young journalist, it would be this: Stay the course. It’s hard work. It may not happen overnight. It takes commitment and determination. Be passionate. The breakthroughs and successes will come.
The competition closes on March 31st. For more information head over to the competition page link.