medianet meets: Andrew Butler, content writer,

In the latest in our medianet meet series, we talk faith, football and journalism with Andrew Butler, content writer at

How did you get into the media?

I graduated with a degree from Oxford Brookes in Sports and Coaching Studies in 2011 – it was the height of the recession, and there were no jobs around for anyone, especially someone with essentially a degree in PE. I moved home, thought journalism looked fun, did a masters in newspaper journalism and went from there. I managed to get a job doing six hours a week at BBC Radio Nottingham answering phones on the late night phone-in, and gradually got more work the longer I hung around.

What’s an average week like for you?

It completely varies. Some weeks I’ll start at 7am, have two days off during the week, others will be late shifts, and weekend work is pretty much a given – it is, after all, when most of the football’s on. Outside of these times I run, cycle, play football and try and get to a couple of comedy gigs a week.

Complete this sentence. My day starts with…

A bowl of cereal, any radio station that plays indie music circa 1996 to present, Twitter, then Facebook.

If I ruled the world, I would…

Make it compulsory to cycle any journey of less than three miles. Make first class the standard across all forms of public transport. Make everyone read at least one book by Danny Wallace or Malcolm Gladwell. Give everyone a day off each week just to do sport. Put billions of pounds into research to develop sweet foods that don’t ruin your health. Implement better wi-fi everywhere. Oh, and sort out the environment forever. I could probably win an election on those promises, but I’d be a terrible prime minister.

What’s one thing you wish the Church knew about the media?

That there’s an incredible amount of good people working in the industry. The vast majority are kind, friendly, unbelievably funny and genuinely care. Quite like the Church, in a way.

If you didn’t work in the media, what would you do?

Aside from outlandish suggestions, it would probably be a teacher, but a good one. Probably in something like sociology or history but also substitute in and do a few PE classes too. I had a teacher at school like that; he taught geography but occasionally did sport. One hour you’d be learning about longshore drift, the next you’d be doing high jump.

Which three media personalities – living or dead – would you love to have as dinner party guests?

The author and broadcaster Danny Wallace, he’s my hero. The author Malcolm Gladwell, because you could talk to him for hours about all sorts. And probably David Beckham (he’s a media personality, right?), not just for football chat but I know he’s a tidy man so he’d probably lend a hand doing the washing up.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

Make yourself indispensable, and carry on learning new skills. Danny Wallace (above) once said his mantra for his work was: “Follow the fun. But make sure, once you’re doing something fun, do it well enough so that you get asked to do other fun things.” It was along those lines, at least!

Who mentors you?

I’ve had a few over the years, both pastorally and professionally. I don’t particularly have one person I speak to for advice – but it’s useful to have a few people around that you can be specific with, whether that’s with faith or work.

What advice would you give to people who want to break into the media?

Say yes to everything. It’s hard work, and there’s an element of stigmatism about working for free, but in the first bits of work I did I was writing football match reports in the rain, two hours away from where I lived – but I knew it was necessary. Saying yes to stay puts you in situations that at least gets you out and about. I’ve sat poolside in Olympic synchronised swimming, commentated in hockey at the Commonwealth Games, and most recently had my hair done like Lionel Messi… which was an interesting experience.

What’s the most difficult work situation you’ve faced as a Christian?

Trying to maintain regular churchgoing, missing out on stuff that might be useful rather than covering a non-consequential sporting fixture is tough, occasionally.

How can we pray for you?

To help, in some small way, to use the opportunities we have in the media to create a better, more coherent world.

Have you got your tickets yet for the Church & Media Network Conference, taking place on 20 October at the RSA in London? Tickets are selling fast, so book your place today.

Chine McDonald

Chine McDonald is director of communications at the Evangelical Alliance. She is a trustee of the Church & Media Network, which runs the Medianet.

  • pithy & entertaining