The D Word2 Guide Launch, held in Central London on March 7th, unveiled the document which offers expert guidance on how to address under-representation across broadcast, written and online media in sport, whilst also providing a fantastic networking opportunity.
The event, hosted by Channel 4 News sports reporter Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, attracted delegates from different corners and echelons of the industry, representing a host of diversity strands. The panel on the night consisted of Guardian head of sport Owen Gibson, sports journalist and recent host of 2016 GLO CAF awards Mimi Fawaz, UK Sports Partners Manager at YouTube Dan Pheysey and the UK’s first black sports editor of a national daily newspaper Kadeem Simmonds from the Morning Star.
Download the D Word 2 Guide here.
There was an extensive networking opportunity for all involved on the night to expand their contacts within the industry, join in the debate by raising issues and discussing the importance of events such as the D Word2 Guide launch and the chance to ask the panel questions.
When asked what his best piece of advice would be to aspiring or struggling sports journalists, Simmonds said: “Work hard and don’t say no. A lot of people only want to cover the big events – Premier League, Anthony Joshua etc. Expand your horizons. Have four or five different sports in your portfolio.”
Tom Perez, Head of Comms, Football Beyond Borders: “Events like this are essential, because people who are interested in making the world a better place through sports and media can come together and share ideas, challenge ideas… if you don’t have people from different backgrounds and ways of thinking, then you’re not going to challenge your own prejudices and you’ll never learn.”
The continuation of the online #DWord2Guide conversation, which began at the D Word2 conference at BT Sport studios last October, generated some thought-provoking material.
Jon Holmes, Home Page Editor at Sky Sports News, offered his thoughts in a report of the evening, which also summarised some of the key points and proposed solutions to the lack of diversity within the sports media industry. For example, combating nepotism through the use of mentoring, recognising that sports stories which reflect diversity help to tap into the demographics that media outlets should be reaching and that senior bosses, including those who already represent one diversity strand, need to change the way they make their decisions in order to discover diverse talent.
Networking at events like the D Word2 Guide Launch was a much-discussed topic of the evening. Utilising opportunities to meet people in the industry, broaden your contacts and exchange ideas with others is simply crucial at all professional levels – but especially for those facing a degree of adversity.
The guide, which includes some particularly alarming statistics regarding the gross under-representation of females and BAME candidates covering recent major sporting tournaments, serves as an eye-opener and a tangible resource to remind those across the industry that there are reasonable measures that can be implemented to begin to remedy the situation.
BCOMS founder Leon Mann offered a final line at the end of the event: “The Guide underlines the need for urgency. We need to get these stats under the noses of leaders and decision makers. It’s not a moan, it’s offering solutions… Follow us on Twitter (@bcomstweet) and you’ll see we’re putting out job opportunities, we’re lobbying and talking to bosses – we’re not going away.”