AS I contemplated my last full calender year in my job, I got around to thinking how much it had changed over the years - especially in the last decade.
The internet has made a huge impact on the media - particularly the various sporting websites - as have social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Whereas years ago you could speak to a football manager on a Monday and, if you were lucky, pick up a couple of stories you could store away for use later in the week, that is virtually impossible in today’s 24/7 society.
For a start you are competing against the club’s own media department who are often more interested in getting the news on to their various media platforms rather than getting in touch with their local paper.
As they have greater access to all club officials and players than the media, it makes them hard to compete against and I personally get little job satisfaction in running a story, albeit with a slightly different angle, the day after it has appeared on a club website.
Vary rare, these days, do you get the chance to interview a new signing on the day he puts pen to paper. Even when you do, as was the case when Doncaster Rovers signed Habib Beye, the club’s media department were down and filming.
They are also there at both pre and post match interviews.
It is not something which just happens in Doncaster.It happens at every other Football League club.
It happens, though at a lower level, when it comes to covering Doncaster Knights and the Dons.
You sometimes wonder whether covering the main clubs to the same extent as in the past is still a good use of your time.
Of course it is because a genuine supporter of a club can’t get enough information about their team and will read any number of match reports - which fortunately remain unique and are still enjoyable to write following a weekend match - less so in midweek when you tend to have much less time to put a personal stamp on things.
Seasoned journalists, as opposed to many people involved in various websites, boast both the experience and the independence to tell it how it is and not be restricted in their reporting - particularly regarding things of a sensitive nature.
Those lucky enough on a paper to get the chance to do some feature writing can also still have an impact on local affairs and decision making.
I take great satisfaction that some Doncaster Athletic Club officials at the time felt my arguments in this column had played a part in the building of the new athletics stadium at the Keepmoat Stadium and invited me to get my spikes out and have a run on the track on the day it opened.
I may be old fashioned, but I still enjoy both writing for a paper and reading stories in a paper rather than online, though all of what I write goes online and that is the direction the industry is undoubtedly heading.
Despite the fact that not everything has changed for the better in sports journalism during my five decades working in the town - not least the fact that I never seem to be off duty these days - I will retire next year - unless I ask to stay on in part-time capacity - with a lot of fabulous memories .
I’ve covered various major finals at such as Wembley (old and new), Twickenham and the Millennium Stadium, and such events as world boxing title fights as well as interviewing many famous people - Frank Bruno, Steve Davis, Seb Coe, Bobby Charlton and Martin Johnson to name but a few.
I have also met thousands of people in the course of doing the job over the years, many of whom I regard as friends.
I hope to meet many more people on the local sporting scene and beyond in the next 15 months or so.