Gun blogger headlines Sports Writers Festival

He's the Irishman who started a football blog in Spain about a club from north London heading up this weekend's Sports Writers Festival in Sydney.

The 46-year-old from Dublin enjoys traffic of up to 150,000 a day to his blog, news website and through the various apps linked to his expanding internet operation.

That's on top of the 750,000 subscribers and listeners to his podcast every month.

Mangan's Areseblog had humble beginnings in 2002, started just outside of Barcelona long before the days of wireless and broadband internet.

After studying broadcasting and journalism in college, Mangan's early career was as a radio DJ but he "fell out of that" and moved to Spain at the end of 2001.

He was keen to improve his computer skills and decided writing a regular blog about Arsenal would give him the opportunity to do that.

"The initial idea wasn't necessarily to make a big website about Arsenal - it was really about trying to learn new things in terms of web design, and designing pages and adding features and functionalities to websites," Mangan said.

"It became apparent very quickly that was not going to be my forte. I really enjoyed writing about the team and writing about football in general as well and it sort of kicked on from there."

The popularity of Mangan's blog grew and grew. He had to bring in extra help and then started his podcast in 2006. The enterprise is now a full-time commitment.

He's at the coalface of a new-age vehicle that is changing the media industry at a frighteningly rapid rate.

As newspapers across the globe continue to shed staff and search for revenue streams to replace those the internet has taken away, the online space occupied by successful bloggers in Mangan's mould continues to become more crowded.

"Online is the future for everything when it comes to what's being written or broadcast, podcast. If you're an individual I think it gives you a greater freedom to develop your work, or showcase it or make a portfolio of what you can do," Mangan said.

"While there will always be people who will want the newspaper, over time I think that number will dwindle significantly. We all grew up and your dad brought the newspaper home and it was always there in the house, but if that isn't happening why would you even consider it.

"It works in tandem, what we do on the site could not exist without the work that journalists do on the beat. You still need people on the ground, you still need people at the press conferences, you still need people to ask questions.

"It's changing and it's different but I don't think all the nails are in the coffin [for newspapers] just yet."

As for anyone keen to follow in Mangan's footsteps, he's more than happy to proffer some simple advice.

"Write regularly, write often and stick to a schedule that people come to appreciate," Mangan said.

"If you set up a blog tomorrow or a podcast and you write every morning and everyone expects your piece to be there at nine o'clock in the morning, make sure it's there at nine o'clock in the morning.

"When you're writing or when you're podcasting, be yourself, be honest, that's the key. It's very easy to say what you think people want to hear, but ultimately what will happen there is you'll get found out.

"You'll contradict yourself somewhere down the line because you can't remember what you thought because you were too busy concentrating on what you thought people liked to hear.

"Even if nothing comes from it, you could create a portfolio of work that will stand you in good stead if you're looking to do something in the future."

Andrew Mangan will headline the Sports Writers Festival in Sydney this weekend.

This story Gun blogger headlines Sports Writers Festival first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.