Trio signing off from SJA Committee

Changes to Committee as Karthi Gnanasegaram, Faye Carruthers and Tom Jenkins conclude their stints; Jenkins departs after five years, while Gnanasegaram served for four years and Carruthers three; new Committee for 2023/4 to be announced shortly…

By Jon Holmes

Karthi Gnanasegaram with Patrick Collins at last month’s AGM

Karthi Gnanasegaram, Faye Carruthers and Tom Jenkins have all concluded their spells serving on the Sports Journalists’ Association’s General Committee.

The SJA showed its appreciation to the trio for their contributions over the course of recent years at the Annual General Meeting on April 26.

Their departures follow the news that Patrick Collins is stepping down as SJA President after eight years in the role.

Broadcaster Gnanasegaram joined the Committee back in May 2019, although her journey with the SJA really began three years earlier when she accepted an invite from Collins to attend the British Sports Journalism Awards.

She recalls: “I was rather vocal during that dinner as I didn’t think the room represented the industry that I worked in and I was rather surprised that most of the women on stage receiving or giving out awards were either widows or daughters of former journalists that had passed away, rather than current high-profile female journalists.”

Karthi with Columnist category winner Jonathan Liew at the 2018 Journalism Awards

Before too long, the BBC Sport presenter and commentator took the opportunity to join the Committee, in part to help encourage more representation of women and people from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

“In joining, I have seen how hard this group of volunteers works to help journalists all across the industry, including how it is working to improve the diversity of the SJA membership and the industry in general, across age ranges, gender, disability, sexual orientation and ethnicity, as well as embracing the latest technological trends.”

Gnanasegaram has not only been an Awards judge in that time but she also welcomed viewers to the live-streamed Awards show in March 2021, when the ceremony went virtual during the pandemic.

Looking to the SJA’s future, she adds: “I have been particularly impressed with the Committee’s dedication, driven by Rachel Steinberg and James Toney, to provide training and incentives to the younger generation entering the industry via the SJA Academy.

“There has been a huge amount of positive change in the SJA membership, events and Committee – but there is still a lot of work to do.

“The industry though has an excellent guide and supporter in the SJA Committee.”

Carruthers was appointed as the chair of broadcast judges on the Journalism Awards in July 2019 and was then brought on board by the Committee the following year.

Faye Carruthers presenting at the most recent SJA British Sports Journalism Awards ceremony in March

She says it has been “a privilege” to serve the Association.

“The evolution of the SJA since I was first invited by Philip Barker to judge an Awards category back in 2017, has been immense, and to be asked to take over as a chair of judges was a huge honour.

“I’m incredibly proud of the small part I’ve been able to play in contributing to the ongoing success of the Awards and working with a hugely talented group of people on the Committee to highlight the incredible work being produced across our industry.

“From improving diversity on the judging panels and expanding the Awards to encompass the changing sports media landscape, it’s been a joy.”

The talkSPORT presenter / reporter adds: “The support and encouragement I’ve received from many of the Committee, but particularly James Green, Ashley Broadley, Mary Fitzhenry, Jim Rosenthal and David Walker, has been invaluable and I can’t thank them enough.

“It’s easy to forget this is an Association run by volunteers who are passionate about making this wonderful industry the best it can be and they work tirelessly behind the scenes to improve diversity, support freelancers and provide training to young people coming through.

“Without this dedication, the sports media industry would be a poorer place and I’m excited to see what the new Committee members can bring to take the SJA forward again.

“This isn’t goodbye, I will continue to be a sounding board when needed and will always help support the Association in any way I can in the future.”

Jenkins, the two-time SJA Canon Sports Photographer of the Year whose superb images continue to grace the Guardian and Observer pages, had been a Committee member since 2018.

He was recently back on the Journalism Awards shortlist, in the News Picture category, for his memorable shot of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in tears after their last competitive tennis match on the same court, at the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena last September.

The SJA would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Karthi, Faye and Tom for their Committee tenures.

The SJA Committee for 2023/4 will be confirmed in due course.