PM awards outstanding sports media diversity champion
The Prime Minister has today, 19th October, recognised Leon Mann, from London, for his outstanding contribution to increasing diversity in the sports media.
Leon Mann, is a sports journalist who founded the ‘Black Collective of Media in Sport’, a network that raises the prospects and profile of underrepresented Black sports journalists in the UK. While up to 30 per cent of professional football players in the UK are black, there are 0 Black sports columnists in national mainstream papers who are journalists, and not previous or current sportsmen and women. Leon’s network collects and monitors diversity data, encourages aspiring candidates to apply for new roles in sports media, and connects the future generation of diverse sports journalists with those who are currently working for major publications. Leon, who has over a decade of experience working at the BBC and ITV, also co-founded the ‘Football Black List’ in 2008. This annual list, released in The Voice UK, celebrates and highlights the contributions of Black people across football and aims to ensure there is diversity in front of and behind the camera.
Leon Mann is the latest recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
In a personal letter to Leon, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your dedication to improving access and inclusion within sports media is having a transformational effect on young Black professionals who aspire to work in the industry. By establishing the ‘Black Collective of Media in Sport’ and co-founding the ‘Football Black List’ you are inspiring the next generation of diverse sports journalists.”
Leon Mann said:
“It is an honour to receive this award for my work trying to increase diversity in the sports media. BCOMS recent research highlights a lack of BAME and female representation on screen and in the national newspapers that needs to be addressed urgently. The situation behind the camera, in newsrooms and within senior management is not much better. This impacts how stories are told, how communities engage with sport and how we portray diverse people. By working together, funding initiatives in this area and with strong leadership we can change this uncomfortable dynamic. I look forward to continuing to push this agenda forward.”
Leon is the 1028th winner of the Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA. Over 6,000 Points of Light have been awarded in the USA, and former Presidents have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK. There is a similar cross-party approach to the UK programme and MPs from different parties often present their constituents with their Points of Light awards.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Points of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.