- Post date:
- Monday, 2 July 2018
British-Iranian sports journalist Mani Djazmi recently reported from the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the BBC World Service. Connect caught up with him to find out what it’s like to be a registered blind journalist, and the realities of travelling the world for work.
Mani was born in Tehran in 1980, and came to England for a sight-saving operation when he was four. The operation was not successful and he became totally blind.
From a young age Mani had a thirst for watching the news, and after doing work experience at his local evening newspaper he fell in love with journalism. He started out being interviewed on the BBC’s In Touch radio show before going to Iran to cover international games and interviewing his heroes. Today, he is a presenter on the BBC World Football radio show.
Is there a typical day in your job?
My working life is very varied. From going on trips around the world and watching football matches, to interviewing footballers and presenting or producing programs from the studio.
In May, I travelled to Dubai, Zurich, London, Manchester, Stockholm, Gothenberg and Ostersund to do pre-World Cup interviews!
What adaptations enable you to be a football journalist?
When I’m abroad I have a helper to guide me, pick out interviewees and describe things. I use my BrailleNote to read scripts, which I’ve written on my laptop and transferred to my BrailleNote on a USB stick. My laptop has JAWS and I use it to edit audio, reports, and interviews.
How do you approach people in crowds to get interviews?
I don’t think it’s easy for anyone, whether they can see or not. You have to speak to lots of people to hopefully get three or four decent responses from fans. My helper will approach people to ask if they’d like to talk to the BBC. If it’s a yes, I step in.
How do you navigate huge crowds at football matches?
My helper is a luxury as they guide me to wherever we need to go when it’s really busy. I really enjoy being in large crowds and have been to plenty of football matches alone. The more people there are, the better the sound is for the report.
Often we have to stay two or three hours after the game finishes to get interviews. Usually, by the time we leave all the taxis and buses have gone and there’s very little public transport around. That’s when my helper will look out for a cab.
Is sports journalism as glamorous as some might think?
It’s not! I’m very lucky to travel as much as I do, but we stay in the cheapest hotels. There’s also a lot of waiting around for interviews. My record is nine hours, and we didn’t even get the interview in the end. Patience is definitely a quality all sports journalists need!
Keep up with the latest sports action on Mani’s Twitter @BBC_Mani or visit the BBC's website to find out about the different career opportunities available at the BBC.