Sports reporting isn't for the faint-hearted. You need knowledge, confidence, ability to think on your feet and the boldness to ask hard questions.
Latonya Lole displayed all these characteristics when she got the chance to be a netball reporter for a day – and, if her recent on-screen performance is anything to go by, she could well be a star in the making.
When Lole sent a video to ANZ with an example of her interviewing skills, they knew they'd struck gold for their netball grant scheme, offering support to grass roots netball communities across New Zealand. The 15-year-old from Mt Albert Grammar in Auckland is a keen netball player, known for her bubbly, charismatic personality.
When the head of sport at Mt Albert Grammar found out about the ANZ's netball grants programme, she instantly thought of Lole.
"She encouraged me to make a video of myself interviewing my netball team," says Lole. "The team at ANZ must have liked it because three weeks ago I found out they wanted to give me an opportunity to be ANZ's junior netball reporter."
That opportunity came quickly. The Silver Ferns were having a press conference covering the announcement of the new team; Lole was to cover the event and interview the players post-announcement.
On the day of the press conference, Lole was taken on a tour of the NZME offices. There was a surprise waiting: "When I walked into the office I saw my name on this massive screen– it was so amazing!"
After hair and make-up, she was taken to meet well-known sports presenter Laura McGoldrick for a mentoring session. Lole took the opportunity ask what she should concentrate on in order to fulfil her sporting dreams.
"Laura told me I needed to do well in English and Media Studies, and that Drama was a useful subject as well, so I'm going to concentrate on those areas next year."
After the mentoring session, Lole and the camera crew headed to Heritage Hotel for the press conference. With national media gathered, as well as a line-up of New Zealand's best netballers, Lole had a lot to take in.
But she thrived in the high-pressure environment: "It was so great being at the announcement, with all the media around, and then getting to interview the Silver Ferns. It made me realise that this is really what I want to do when I leave school."
At the conclusion of the press conference, Lole interviewed players, including her heroes Claire Kersten and Silver Ferns captain Katrina Grant.
"Meeting Katrina in person was so inspiring. She has such amazing resilience and she's a great player."
Lole impressed everyone (including the players) with her boldness and ability to ask tough questions. She left even more determined to realise her goals: "I'm now even more keen on sports broadcasting as a career."
Lole has had an exhilarating time lately when it comes to netball. A week after her turn as an ANZ junior netball reporter, her school team had a "massive win against Howick. We ended up coming third in the competition, which was really amazing."
To finish Latonya's day as the ANZ junior netball reporter, ANZ set her up with ongoing training with a leading television performance coach to ensure Latonya continues to get the support she needs to achieve her dream.
ANZ is currently running their netball grant programme to support netballers around the country. They are asking Kiwi netballers to tell them how they can help them achieve their netball goals – be in a new court, a meeting with their heroes, or training sessions with top coaches.
No request is too big or too small – ANZ wants to see and hear from anyone who has a netball dream that they would love ANZ to help come true.
Visit anzcourtside.co.nz for more information.