In this section

Journalism students interview former England Footballer Alan Smith

Our Journalism students were treated with a fantastic opportunity to interview former Arsenal, Leicester and England Striker Alan Smith as part of their Interview Techniques unit.

Since retiring from professional football, Smith has gone on to become a successful football pundit and commentator. He appears regularly on Sky Sports and features as a co-commentator on the highly successful EA Sports FIFA video games.

The interview was carried out in the style of a press conference, with the classroom laid out to replicate the atmosphere of a real event. Students were required to carry out background research on Alan Smith, devising questions to ask him about his career. Smith discussed topics such as stories from his playing days, his work at Sky Sports and his thoughts on Watford FC’s return to the Premier League. This enabled students to hone and develop their interviewing skills in an experience that more accurately replicated the real world of journalism.

Watford fan Charlie Hedges was keen to find out what Smith thought of the local team's chances of survival in the Premiership this season. She said: "It was great to hear what someone as high profile as Alan Smith had to say about Watford and the fact that he thinks they will stay up."

He was also interviewed one to one by student James Brooks as part of the TV Presentation Techniques unit.

James said: "It was a great thrill for me to interview Alan Smith who is a legend in football. He had so many interesting stories to tell about his playing days and work at Sky as a commentator. It was a day I certainly won't forget."

Ashley Harvey used the visit to practice his journalism skills adding the story to his own news blog which was retweeted to Alan Smith's 48,000 followers.

Ashley said: "It was a great exercise for us journalism students and showed how a news story can reach so many people in such a short time. Alan Smith was such a nice person and so helpful to us all."