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 My son William, daughter Mary and I watching the World Cup in summer 2018
 data to broadcasters and newspapers, but I soon went out on the road as a technician. I travelled all over the place, working on events such as the Champions Trophy in India, Cricket World Cup in the West Indies and Australian Open tennis. I saw the world, met a lot of good contacts and watched a lot of sport but I wasn’t writing. So, in December 2007 I resigned and used my Christmas bonus to do a diploma in journalism back in the north-east in Newcastle with the Press Association.
They didn’t have much time for my 1st class degree in English Literature from Durham. All my highfalutin ideas were quickly knocked out of me as I learnt the practical skills you need to be a journalist: shorthand, a grasp of defamation law and the reassuring brief that nobody is going to read beyond the first three paragraphs so make your copy snappy! I loved it, though, because the course was embedded in a thriving daily newspaper so you actually had the chance to be a journalist and not just learn about being one.
From there I joined The Daily Mail on their graduate scheme, ostensibly as a news reporter. But I obviously didn’t do a very good job of masking my real ambitions, as “sport” was written in big capital letters across my CV when I went for my second interview. Thank goodness for that, though, as the “back of the book” was always where I wanted to be.
Lest I dare to think I had made it on Fleet Street I was sent straight to the Hull Daily Mail for my first four months. But what a wonderful time I had. Hull City
had just been promoted to the Premier League for the first time and I covered a bit of everything - sport, news, court reporting, whatever I could get my hands on. It was an invaluable experience.
I worked for MailOnline when they called me back to Daily Mail HQ in Kensington, but moved on to the paper after about six months, working as a sports reporter but
mainly covering London football. It was quite a baptism of fire. I’m not sure what anyone made of this northern 20-something girl who was very often the only female in the press conference room, but
“Laura from the Mail” stuck at it and the bylines and back-page stories began to become more frequent.
Then London 2012 loomed into view and everything went up a gear. I branched out into more sports, wrote
a weekly column, ghosted pieces for Daley Thompson, did more work on TV and radio and then covered the Olympics and Paralympics on home soil during an unforgettable summer. Sport was front and centre for months and it was wonderful to be a small part of it.
I was promoted to athletics correspondent and in 2013 Rich and I got married. Our son William was born in September 2014. I knew that, as a mum with a young baby, I could no longer hurtle around the world as a sports reporter, even though my husband is incredibly supportive, so I elected to take an office job and was promoted to sports news editor at the Mail.
I am responsible for the news sections of the sports pages - primarily making sure we have a back-page story that sends all our rivals into a tailspin. I decide where to send which reporters, work with them to get stories over the line and then give their copy a gentle tickle (or sometimes a complete overhaul!) when it comes in. It is an incredible demanding role but I have grown to really enjoy it.
Our second child, Mary, was born in March 2018. I still feel there are plenty of things for me to do and achieve in sports journalism. There has never been a female chief sports writer or a female sports editor of a daily national newspaper, for instance. Maybe it’s time that changed...
Laura Saunders
  Lifting the Champions League trophy in Munich

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