Interview with sports reporter Anne-Marie Batson
Anne-Marie Batson is a budding multi-sports reporter and broadcaster from Essex who made a significant career change a few years ago.
After working in corporate communications for several years, she is a building her own business spanning sports media, hosting events and PR with a dash of EQ and personality.
Her clients include BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, talkSPORT 2, Give Me Sport Women and LiveWire Sport/Wimbledon. She’s extremely passionate not just about about a range of sports but also, equality for men and women in the sports space.
Anne-Marie has also interviewed tennis players, football players and managers and is known for her empathetic conversational style.
Football runs in the family as her Uncle Brendon Batson OBE, one of three black professional footballers to play for West Bromwich Albion FC in the late 70s, known as ‘The Three Degrees’.
What’s your career background?
I have loved sport since forever. Originally, I wanted to become an actress but, this changed aged 16 when I changed course and fell in love with media studies, instead. I studied the topic in college as well as university. After graduating, I secured roles as a runner/junior researcher in the documentary and broadcast TV industry.
Working in the TV industry made me realise some things and I decided to step away. Rather unexpectedly, I fell into community work, first as a youth worker than setting up my own youth projects focusing on media and television.
Wanting a more secure footing in the world led to taking a full-time role in corporate communications. But, in the mind, the desire to work for myself in sports media never went away.
By chance, someone offered me the opportunity to report pitch side from a FA WSL match on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. My brilliant adventure started from there.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I have always wanted to work for myself. My parents will say I don’t like being told what to do – which is partially true. I respect authority and rules. But I’m capable of making my own decisions.
Family and close friends will describe me as ‘determined’. This trait runs through my life such as setting up my own company and buying a house. Working full-time helped hone my craft to a point. So, I needed to mix things up and evolve.
My idea came from many conversations and reflections with family and friends. Can I do this? How can make this work? How can I help people? A close family member put me in touch with two people in the sports industry. I met the pair for coffee separately then, met someone else and got the ball rolling (pardon the pun) myself.
I choose a working style reflecting how my mind works. I am good at doing more than one thing. I’m trying to juggle my other passions, like podcasting and hosting events. My goal is to intertwine and make this work.
How did you get started?
I found it incredibly hard trying to get a foot in the door. So, I started building my network, studied online and attended evening classes to get my skills up to scratch. There were days I felt like chucking in the towel!
I kick myself sometimes asking why I didn’t get started earlier but, there is not too much room for regret. Just keep doing what I am doing.
What’s your USP??
If I was a stick of seaside rock and someone cut me half, the words would say: creative, empathy, determined, independent, passionate, respectful and 100% stylish.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Recommendations, referrals and visibility. The key is to increase my networking and continuing to build on it. People need to know who I am and how I can help. So, joining relevant groups on and offline, make comments on social media, connect with others and build my reputation.
Why is work so important to you?
Work is part of my essence although one important point is my personal purpose. This drives my work and personal goals. My work adds meaning to my life but, work does not define who I am.
What is your proudest moment so far?
There are three proudest moments, so far.
Being asked me to host the Kick it Out ‘Raise Your Game Conference 2019’ with BT Sport presenter Jules Breach. The phone call made me jump around the room afterwards. Getting the opportunity to volunteer as a mentor for ‘Kick it Out’ (football’s equality and inclusion organisation) then, co-hosting their event is something I take seriously.
My second proud moment is co-hosting the ‘Wimbledon Coffee Morning’ show every day live during the 2019 Grand Slam Championships. Did I believe I would work at this blue-chip global sports event? Never in a million years! I pinched myself everyday being there. Up on the broadcast roof, collaborating with a top production team and walking around the grounds amongst the crowd and players.
Finally, I’m proud of myself for making the leap in my career.
Who inspires you?
From a celebrity perspective, I am inspired by any person who can juggle multiple careers like Jennifer Lopez. Appreciate she’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m not a dedicated fan. But here’s the thing. She is someone who has cross appeal and an uncanny ability to wear several hats. I can only respect how she manages to do all this and dazzle everyone in her path.
Growing up, my parents juggled their careers, marriage and children, which is no mean feat! My Dad has a tremendous work ethic, which means this must come from him.
How do you balance your career with life in general?
This is great question because I am figuring this out, still.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
Quite simple when working for yourself: live it, breathe it, know it.
You can find out more about Anne-Marie Batson on her website.