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The D-Word to be a talking point

VENUE: The LCC will host the D-Word conference

AT A time when diversity is the buzz-word of the day, there are many who've been actively campaigning long before it became fashionable.

The Black Collective of Media In Sport Network (BCOMS) is one such group and their D-Word conference on October 27 is the product of five years hard work.

Organiser and journalist Leon Mann feels this event has been a long-time in the making and is keen to ensure everyone involved – employees and employers - get the maximum benefit possible. On the day attendees will include representatives from Sky Sports, BBC, ITV and many others.

Mann told the Voice of Sport: “Over the years we have met with different leaders from the industry and have been wanting to discuss the best way of widening their talent pool.

“There's been some good conversations recently about media diversity, but there's been nothing about sports media specifically.”

This isn't about taking those in power to task, the conference's key aim is to cultivate ideas and solutions for an industry that lacks the diversity of the sports it covers.

He added: “The key message is, a staffing diversity that reflects modern society produces a better product.

“This isn't just about doing the right thing, this is about making the product better because it at the end of the day is a product.”

Long term, BCOMS has a clear goal of what it can do to ensure the conference turns actions into words.

“They'll be a media guide sent to every single organisation to give them ideas on how to promote diversity within their sports media.

“Ideas for shared practises and contacts to increase recruitment options. In a broader sense, a better understanding of the issues facing those in sports media.”

It is clear there needs to be a better understanding about the situation facing the decision makers in sports and those looking to work in the industry. Recent comments regarding the Rooney Rule have highlighted the lack of understanding in sports media.

“Dismissive comments are massively unhelpful, and shows a lack of interest and engagement which can lead to much greater problems.

“A lot of people don't seem aware that the Rooney Rule has nothing to do with quotas. It's not positive discrimination, it's about positive action.”

That said, Mann feels the journey ahead could well be a progressive one. “It will take time so lets get on with it, and make a change.”

The conference takes place at the London College of Communication (LCC), London SE1 6SB. To register email: leon@leonmann.co.uk. All attendees must be registered

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