TEAMtalk's Samuel Bannister: My Career Journey

Samuel Bannister is a full-time journalist with Planet Sport's He graduated with a 1st class honours degree in June 2020 - and joined Planet Sport full-time on January 1, 2021 after successful placements in all the three years of his degree. 

Samuel exemplifies the thriving placement scheme and genuine route to careers journalism we offer in partnership through Leeds Trinity University. Here Samuel tells his story to Planet Sport's Simon Wilkes.

Simon Wilkes: Take us back to the first placement you did with TEAMtalk…how did that come about and what was it like?

Samuel Bannister: Early on at my time at Leeds Trinity University I attended a placements drop-in session about potential placements there was an opportunity on offer with Planet Sport. I swiftly applied and as part of the selection, collaborated on an article to get an idea of what website I would be best suited to. It was pretty clear that TEAMtalk was going to be my home.

I was initially supposed to undertake half of my placement with TEAMtalk before switching to another Planet Sport site, but the TEAMtalk placement proved to go so well I simply stayed on with them for the full five weeks - and beyond!

My first placement was an important experience and an enjoyable one; I was made to feel welcome and everyone on the team helped me settle in. In terms of the job itself, I quickly found out what I enjoyed and settled into a rhythm.

SW: You came back for more of the same in your second year - did you feel more confident then?

SB: Yes, especially after doing some freelance shifts for TEAMtalk in between the first two placements. Since I already knew the team and the nature of the work - even though there was obviously still more to learn - I knew I could hit the ground running and just carry on as I had been doing.

During my second placement, I was given a regular tasks to develop some ownership of particular subjects, which helped me feel even more like part of the team and stretched my abilities further. My confidence definitely improved throughout that second stint.

SW: In your final year placement, you branched out into video, being involved in the filming of the Football365 Show - how was that?

SB: Learning more about video was an important new skill for me and took me out of my comfort zone more.

Whereas my first placement was a chance to put into practice what I had been learning at university, by this point I was adding skills beyond what I was getting from my degree owing to the module choices available on the course.

The experience enabled me to gain a more complete skillset, either by watching others - like during the F365 Show, which was a fantastic insight into the industry - or having a go myself with my own videos, which developed my confidence even more over time.

SW: Leeds Trinity University's job placements are a real feature of the journalism course - was that a factor in your choice of LTU for your degree?

SB: As I'm from Leeds, proximity was important in my decision, but that didn’t mean I was just going to pick anywhere local.

LTU stood out for its facilities and the smaller campus size, making for a more personal experience, which is what I was after. That also helped with the transition into the world of work, particularly through the placement programmes that are embedded into every LTU degree.

After what it has led to, I can definitely say I made the right choice!

SW: What advice would you offer to students looking to secure placements in the media industry?

SB: I was lucky to find a placement that suited me perfectly, which won’t be the case for everyone, so I would just suggest, keep your options open and if you’re unsure if something is exactly right, just give it a go and see where it leads.

Don’t be afraid to ask for opportunities and try to make a good first impression. This will all pay off in the long run.

Also, make use of all of the resources that are available to help, like I did at the LTU drop-in session back in the day. You might just find the perfect placement opportunity you’re looking for.


Check out Samuel's full TEAMtalk article history here.