Behind-the-scenes: a media matchday at Carrow RoadIn the latest edition of his monthly blog, Senior Club Journalist Ben Mouncer talks through hosting the press at a Canaries home game.
NESTLED at the back of the City Stand, squashed between the Director’s Box and the Snake Pit, you will find a row of laptops.
To clear up any doubt, they are manned, for burrowed somewhere behind them are those who tell the story of Norwich City Football Club.
The 65 seats in the press box are where the fortunate few who get to watch the game for a living are housed during those frantic 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon.
It doesn’t wrap up there. The pitch perimeter will be dotted with photographers, the tunnel area with floor managers and the gantry with camera people. On the occasion of a live television broadcast of a big match, up to 200 media professionals will get to work at Carrow Road.
Yet that sizeable operation has its spring in a humble room at City’s Colney training base, where the lead up begins two days prior with our press conference.
It is here where our regular partners in local and national media congregate – a standard day will see Archant (Eastern Daily Press/Evening News/Mustard TV) and Radio Norfolk quiz Neil Adams to uncover all the important news regarding the Canaries, and a bit more. They are often joined by representatives from press agencies, the BBC, ITV and, on occasion, Sky Sports.
When picking a player to also face the cameras, it isn’t just a case of a lucky dip. The press team will liaise on the most suitable option, taking into account recent events on the pitch and how many press conferences and interviews they have done recently, as well as considering any angles that journalists may follow, for example whether said player has any links with the opposition.
Conference done, and the newspapers, bulletins and airwaves will be well stocked with team news and tactics talk for the build-up to kick-off.
On a matchday, journalists will come through the press room any time between three hours and 30 minutes before the start of the game. Take a walk through it and it will be abuzz with conversation, not just about football but often about the food that’s on offer!
Snappers will choose their spot for the match, presenters will tune into their ISDN points for broadcast and reporters will await the team news, which comes an hour before kick-off.
Just as supporters take their seats, the journalists will take theirs. Any final preparation duties are fulfilled and in-game, eyes are glued as often to laptop and television screens as they are to the action.
All types of Canaries coverage is provided, ranging from the on-trend methods through social media and live blogging to the traditional match reporting and commentary.
At the final whistle, everyone shuffles down to the press conference room in the bowels of the City Stand while I join my colleagues from the Communication team in the tunnel, where we stand ready to greet the manager and prepare him for his media duties, win lose or draw.
After a quick chat, Neil will slide into one of the rooms near the home changing room for television interviews before speaking to his former commentary ally Chris Goreham for Radio Norfolk. Finally, he will face the print journalists to complete a routine that usually lasts for 20 minutes.
As part of that process a player is chosen, sometimes two in victory, while exceptions are made if a broadcaster has travelled from afar to catch up with an overseas Canary.
And long after the stands have emptied, the conversation is still ongoing as tomorrow’s headlines are written, hopefully telling the story of a Norwich City triumph.