My time as The Offside Rule’s #WhatIf intern

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Eleanor Lee reflects on the “invaluable experience” she had as The Offside Rule’s #WhatIf Intern. 

From the outside, a daily podcast might seem an easy prospect. That’s certainly what I thought prior to my internship at Muddy Knees Media working on The Offside Rule but was quickly proved wrong during my first day. Although not an easy prospect, it’s definitely a ridiculously enjoyable one – especially when you’re part of a brilliant team.

I began at The Offside Rule with a huge enthusiasm for the Women’s World Cup and leave feeling like a global women’s football expert. The research that goes into a daily World Cup podcast is second to none and I spent my first day working on the script for that evening, which included writing match previews, researching players and sourcing statistics.

As soon as it hits 5pm, producer Abi, presenter Kait and I are sat watching the early kick-off, laptops at the go ready to make note of each and every talking point. It was at this point on my first day that I asked myself: watching every World Cup game, is this really work?!

We also watch the later games with two guests that then appear on the podcast as Kait’s guests. I was a little starstruck when Claire Rafferty was sat with us discussing the England game. Last month I was cheering her on in an FA Cup final at Wembley and this month I was chatting all things Lionesses with her.

I played it cool though – professionalism and all that.

The magic happens after the late kick-off. With our script full of stats and correct pronunciations, Kait, Abi and our guests head to the studio to begin recording that evening’s episode. I get home around midnight, with Kait and Abi staying later to finish up. Most nights producer Abi is up until the early hours of the next morning editing audio and perfecting the pod. Working on a World Cup is hugely rewarding, but far from glamorous.

As it was the group stages, matches were coming thick and fast which meant watching the 2pm kick-off, the 5pm and then the 8pm. At times I found it challenging to muster up plenty of talking points, for example, when Spain drew 0-0 with China. Other times, however, rewarded me with almost too much to write down (see: USA 13 – 0 Thailand).

Despite the late nights and dodgy train times, I was excited to come into work each day. Every game would bring something unique to the podcast, and that’s what keeps the episodes exciting. From a new world record to a heartbreaking defeat or perhaps even the odd controversial VAR decision, the group stages of this World Cup provided us with everything. It was a privilege to spend two weeks immersing myself within this unpredictable competition.

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When you’re an intern, you’re always at risk of feeling disregarded or not needed. I wanted my work to go to use and at The Offside Rule, felt like I was a true part of the team. The most rewarding part was listening back to a finished episode each morning and hearing Kait refer to a stat that I had found or some scripting that I had written. Muddy Knees Media and The Offside Rule have provided me with such an enjoyable, invaluable experience and I’m so grateful to have worked with such a talented bunch of people.

As my internship comes to an end, I leave having learnt what makes a successful podcast. Late nights, hard-work, coffee and Thai Sweet Chilli crisps. (Abi, I’m looking at you).

Follow Eleanor on Twitter at @eleanorlee_

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