What is it like landing a dream job as a BBC sports reporter? And how difficult is it to break through?

A journalist has spoken of how his tenacious attitude and determination was key in getting ahead in his career.

Daniel Raza, 23, began working in the media as a hobby at the young age of 15 when he presented a sports show in a local radio station. Daniel now works for BBC TV Sports News. 

Daniel shares his work trajectory and how using his initiative and taking risks was pivotal in his journey.

“I began working voluntarily at a local radio station, Unity FM, which is where I realised there were so many inspiring stories from regular people in the community that weren’t getting the coverage. Finding creative ways to tell those stories was always fun to me and incredibly fulfilling. 

“As well as that, I got to talk about sports and interview athletes.  The idea of being able to do that as a full-time career was always attractive to me.

“I then moved onto British Muslim TV where I did a show called SportsTalk. I gained ample experience in radio, TV and also a little reporting. 

“I think diversifying my skills is what got me into journalism and it’s something I’d recommend to everyone.”

Daniel said his “no fear” approach to work led to some unexpected encounters on the job.

“When I was about 16 years old, I had no inhibitions, so I would just email loads of famous athletes asking them to come on my little sports show on the community station.

“Every now and then I’d get a positive response. 

“For me the biggest ones were Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder who have both held World Heavyweight boxing titles.

“It’s funny dealing with agents and managers when you’re that age because you don’t really grasp the size of these opportunities.

“It just goes to show that if you’re having fun and really enjoying what you’re putting your effort into, you can really get a lot of pleasant surprises.”

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Having qualified with a BA in History from Coventry University, Daniel admits this was “not a traditional degree when you think of British Asians.” It was during his academic journey when Daniel knew he wanted to pursue a career in the media.

“I was adamant that I will work in the media in some way or another, whether that was TV, radio or print.

“I was actually producing TV shows whilst I was at university, although that was part time. 

“The scare stories of the media being a difficult industry to break into did have an effect on me. I studied History in case Journalism didn’t work out.”

Daniel began working at BBC TV Sports News after gaining an internship as a researcher through ‘Creative Access’ who specialise in bringing BAME people into creative industries. 

“We don't see a lot of Asian faces on the television or hear enough diverse voices on the radio. It’s almost embedded into people that chasing a career down that path is a bad idea. Things have changed though.

“There is such an appetite and now for content that reflects the lives and experiences of people from the Asian community. 

“There are so many voices and stories that aren’t being heard and as representation increases in media, we’ll see more of what reflects Britain as a multicultural society.”

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A personal highlight, Daniel reveals was his project that he undertook during his time in university. His documentary explored the lives of Indian soldiers in World War I and World War II. He said he was “amazed” when he discovered how many people were interested in learning more about the contribution of south Asians to this country’s history.

“I thought about how in school I was barely taught about the role my ancestors played in the First and Second World Wars. 

“I did some research to look for memorials up and down the country.  Unsurprisingly there were very few. 

“It made me question whether attitudes towards immigration and people with different backgrounds would be different if there was more of an awareness that people from all around the world fought for Britain. 

“I also felt it was important as a convergence of my identity as someone both British and Pakistani. It’s a reminder that we need to rethink our place in British history. Our ancestors made far more of a contribution than we’re taught.

“I encourage everyone to try and find out more about our past because History isn’t simply what you’re taught in school. Everybody has their own individual story.”