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BCOMS 2021 Masterclasses: what to expect and why you should apply


Words by Anish Dogra

The next edition of masterclasses from the Black Collective Of Media in Sport (BCOMS) gets
underway this autumn as organisers of the programme, Leon Mann, Drew Christie and
Ashanti George-Faure aim to pave the way for the future of sports journalists from under-
represented groups.


Despite the uncertainty the pandemic has caused over the past 12 months, BCOMS have
continued to ensure that people from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, LBGTQ+ and under-
represented groups are being given opportunities to work in press rooms, offices and
football stadiums across the country. Thanks to the amazing work from everyone behind the
scenes at the organisation, this year’s programme promises to be bigger and better than
ever thanks to the partnerships with Facebook and Nike London.


As you are reading this you might be wondering what this programme will be about, why it
will be beneficial to you and what you can expect to learn from it, well how about you hear
it from no other than the founder of BCOMS, Leon Mann.


“The programme is designed to help young people find a way into the sports media,
whether they are interested in broadcast, written or online. For us, it is really important to
open all possible avenues to those who want a career in this exciting field. They will learn
some excellent skills in terms of interviewing, editing, content creating and other technical
aspects of the job.”


“More importantly for me, they will have the chance to grow a network. The amazing
people working across this industry can guide and offer advice in aiding the mentees to kick
start their career. The professionals will offer vital skills for any young person’s development
and in turn will help them get their foot in the door of the sports media which is extremely
competitive to get into.”


“We have had so many success stories from the masterclasses in previous years and I have
no doubt that those signing up for this year’s class will be the next success stories coming
from BCOMS and entering into the sports media. Good luck to everyone who will be
applying!”


Leon’s words are a glimpse of how exciting and rewarding this programme is. As I write this
article I echo his words having been on the programme in 2019. Since then have been
fortunate enough to experience some incredible opportunities, this included interviewing
Harry Kane, Ledley King and Heung Min-Son. It culminated in being employed as an intern
for the organisation and being part of England press conferences via zoom speaking to manager Gareth Southgate and members of the squad such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mason Greenwood.


As part of the programme, the students will be mentored by some of the biggest names in
the game, they will be given advice, taught skills and undertake practical scenarios. As a
teaser, some of the lead tutors on the course who will be delivering the masterclasses are
Jeanette Kwakye, the former five-time British Athletics champion and the first Female Black
UK TV presenter for Boxing on terrestrial television. As well as Hugh Woozencraft, the host
of the talkSPORT kick off show and the host of The Times The Game Podcast.


If you are still thinking of applying, the cohort of previous classes have shared some
testimonials about the programme. First up is Keanu Rattray who is now the social media
manager for BCOMS. “I can only describe it as a life-changing programme, I met so many
people that I never thought I’d meet and had some once in a lifetime opportunities that I
never dreamt of doing. It’s a pleasure and honour to be working with BCOMS on this year’s
programme in helping young people who aspire to work in the sports media industry.”


Mayowa Quadri was part of the first class of this programme. Thanks to the help of this
incredible establishment, he is now working as the editorial and brand officer for VERSUS. A
social media platform with over 100k followers on Instagram. “BCOMS was a truly inspiring
programme. It enabled me to meet like-minded people within the media space and exposed
me to roles I never knew I could do. The networking along exposure through work
opportunities enabled me to build a solid foundation and move fully into media.”


After these testimonials from previous mentee’s of the course and from the co-founder,
hopefully your decision to apply will no longer be in question. In an industry that is as hard
to crack as Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan defence in 2010 (definitely not his Spurs defence,
sorry Leon) this organisation and the course will give you the necessary tools to achieve
your goals and start your career in one of the most exciting industries.

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