SJA Notebook: Diversity call, broadcast win and exclusive sessions for young journalists

Catch up with our regular column of sports journalists making the news …

And don’t forget, dates for your diaries … our annual SJA British Sports Awards will be going virtual on December 10th and the deadline for the British Sports Journalism Awards is January 10th enter here.

Diversity must start at the top, says SJA vice-chair Mann

Sports Journalists’ Association vice-chair Leon Mann spoke about his campaign to diversify the media at this week’s Society of Editors’ virtual conference.

Mann, the founder of the Black Collective of Media in Sport, joined Sunday Times reporter Shingi Mararike, Women in Journalism chair Eleanor Mills and Vic Motune, Head of News at The Voice in a ‘Diversity in the News Media’ debate.

He explained how he had moved into journalism after working as an anti-racism campaigner, adding when he first looked at sports journalism he didn’t see anyone who was black who didn’t have an experience of playing professional sport.

“I found amazing, fantastic, welcoming people,” said Mann. “There were some very, very well meaning and committed people around diversity – but there was an environment that wasn’t inclusive – there was no real understanding of diversity that I experienced – it still sits in the ‘nice to have’ charity box.

“I took it on myself to campaign. I went to the most senior people I could find and what I found was that bosses were open. But a lot of conversations about diversity are not led by black people. I sometimes wonder when I look at diversity initiatives if any black people had been sat around the discussion.

“We have asked what are you going to do differently because everything you have done now has not worked. You will go to a premier league football match where out of 22 players there may well be 20 players who are black, yet you look around the press there and you will be the only black journalist.”

Ensuring there is more diversity at the top of the editorial newsroom structure not just at entry level is essential to meet the challenge of creating a media that reflects society.

And Mann stressed there needed to be greater focus on who is making the decisions.

“Do we have any black people, do we have any women around the table making these decisions at the highest level? We are relying on the wrong people,” he added. “We have to look at recruiters. We know we recruit in the image of ourselves. If those who recruit are a panel of white men, then we face problems.

“We see a lot of things about apprentices but I want to see more action at senior leadership. If you only look down at black people and not left and right that tells me how you see black people.”

Read more via Editors UK: Society diversity debate calls for more representation at the top of the industry

Latest rights win for SJA network of the year

talkSPORT will be the exclusive radio broadcaster for England’s tour of South Africa starting this month, with every ball of every game live on talkSPORT 2.

The station – named network of the year at this year’s SJA British Sports Journalism Awards – will broadcast over 60 hours of coverage across talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2, including the warm up games, two hour-long preview shows and a daily 30 minute podcast – Following On that will air at 9am every weekday on talkSPORT 2.

The broadcasting team includes talkSPORT cricket regulars, Mark Butcher, Steve Harmison, Gareth Batty, Alex Tudor, Neil Manthorp, Jarrod Kimber and Andrew McKenna, plus England bowler Kate Cross and former South African players Shaun Pollock, Dane Vilas and Alfonso Thomas.

Exclusive advice for reporters and photographers taking first steps in industry

The Sports Journalists’ Association are holding two exclusive events to give advice for those taking their first steps in the industry on Thursday November 26th.

Alongside sponsor Canon we are hosting a webinar and Q&A for young sports photographers, led by The Sun’s Richard Pelham and Getty Images’s Richard Heathcote, both previous winners of the SJA Sports Photographer of the Year Award. Alex Pantling, last year’s Young Sports Photographer of the Year, will also be joining us.

Aspiring journalists are also invited to join a panel and Q&A discussion on the future of sports journalism that will feature members from a variety of backgrounds from broadcast to digital, agencies to newspapers.

SJA chairman and PA Media sports editor Ashley Broadley, will be joined by vice-chair Leon Mann, talkSPORT’s Faye Carruthers and The Guardian’s Sachin Nakrani in a panel discussion chaired by Sportsbeat managing editor James Toney. Email to request sign-up details.

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