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DWord3 gives sports media industry a wake up call

GOOD TO TALK: BCOMS founder Leon Mann
Photo credits: Ernest Simons

THE SPORTS media came together on October 8 at the #DWord3 conference organised by BCOMS (Black Collective of Media in Sport) as they sought solutions to address the under-representation of women, BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic), LGBT+ and those with disabilities in the industry.

BCOMS shared its recently undertaken research into under-representation at the #DWord3 conference on the number of BAME and women sports journalists sent to cover major sports events this year. The network looked at 338 roles across broadcasting and the written media reporting on the FIFA World Cup, Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Wimbledon, Commonwealth Games and the inaugural European Championships.

Key findings included:

· 3 female writers from the UK sports media were sent to cover the FIFA World Cup, out of a total of 63 journalists, from the national newspapers

· 1 Black sports journalist was sent to cover the FIFA World Cup, again, from the 63 sent by the national newspapers

· 5 of the 338 roles looked at by BCOMS across the major tournaments were given to black journalists without a professional sports background

· 7 of the 338 roles were given to Asian sports journalists

· 0 BAME females were found across the 109 roles in the newspapers covering the major sports tournaments BCOMS researched

Some of the highest-ranking bosses from across the sports media including Simon Green, head of BT Sport, Steve Smith, director of programmes and content at Sky Sports, Niall Sloane, director of sport at ITV, Stephen Lyle, head of sport at Channel 4 and Shaun Custis, head of sport at The Sun Newspaper spoke at the conference.

London’s deputy mayor for social Integration, Matthew Ryder, also joined the #DWord3 and he gave a speech on his thoughts on the importance of diversity in sport, the media and society. He also partook in a short Q&A with two young people from the Borough of Hackney.

Throughout the day workshops were designed to identify solutions to address under-representation in the industry, ideas and actions points were generated which will ultimately be published in an innovative, diversity guide, which is to be released in the near future.


DISCUSSION: Leading members of the sports industry were on one of several panels during the day

BCOMS are proud to announce that it is to be supported by the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) – this guide will be sent to every major media outlet in the UK. As the conference was nearing its end, BCOMS was also delighted to announce a new partnership with London Sport which seeks to increase the diversity in sports media but nurturing, training and mentoring the next generation of sports journalists.

The #DWord3 was hosted by BT Sport at their studios in Stratford, London, and was supported by IMG, Refresh and the Fare network. The event occurred as part of the #FootballPeople action weeks – the period (11 – 25 October) sees the largest series of anti-discrimination activities in sport take place across Europe.

Leon Mann, BCOMS founder, said: “The #DWord3 conference was a huge success and has hopefully given the industry a wake-up call on the urgency needed to see a sports media that is truly reflective of modern day social and also our national sports.

“We are now focussed on putting together a strong #DWord3 guide – to help the industry find practical ways to increase diversity. We have also launched a fantastic partnership with London Sport to identify, train and mentor young, diverse people who want to work in sports media.

“BCOMS is an unfunded network, so there is only so much that we can do – but we are determined to do all we can within our very limited resources.”

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