When nine-year-old David Riccio wrote his first NRL match report for his grandparents, little did he know it would be a part of what he was doing as a grown-up. He is the sports writer for The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph.
“It’s a piece of paper I would love to see today,” Riccio told Mediaweek after the inaugural The Ultimate Footy Lunch on June 21. He was sitting on a barstool with a small football in his hands branded with Fox League and The Daily Telegraph.
“When I went to games as a boy, I was always intrigued by how the cameraman got the vision from the match to my TV by the time I got home. I have always been intrigued by media and sports from a very young age.”
Riccio started off in the industry as a mail boy at AAP. “That was my way into the world of media,” he said. He moved to News Corp in 1999 and hasn’t left since. Riccio isn’t only a known name to the readers of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. He is often seen on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show and heard on Sydney’s 2GB.
The digital age has impacted on sports reporting “significantly”, Riccio said. “Social media has had a big part to play in the growth of online news platforms.
“Everyone can be a journalist via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If someone’s knee gets hurt during training, it’s on Twitter within 10 seconds.
“We have to be diverse and be willing to think outside the box. You have to look beyond the press conference. Think, ‘How can this story last for more than one day?’”
With the NRL season in full swing and it being popular among readers of The Daily Telegraph, Riccio is currently focusing all of his energy on covering the sport.
The first women’s State of Origin game will be played on June 22. While this is a “great start” for NRL embracing the women’s game, Riccio said there is a lot of work to be done.
“NRL has been a slow burn in that regard. It has watched AFL, cricket and soccer embrace the women’s game and they are all years ahead of the NRL, but you have to start somewhere.
“NRL has botched the announcement of the specific teams. There are only four teams in the inaugural women’s season of the competition. NRL has also failed to go to the right markets. Cronulla Sharks have been pioneers of women’s rugby. The Sharks and South Sydney were both overlooked.
“I would love to see the women’s State of Origin as a curtain raiser for the men’s game on Sunday. That’s where I believe it should have been, not on a Friday night in a North Sydney oval.”
What will Riccio be doing after the NRL season is over?
“I love being able to diversify once the league season is finished and I tell you what, you need to get away from NRL,” Riccio said. “It is a seven-day job through the 26 weeks of the year, so I love to get away and cover other sports.”