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The sports media will come together today at the #DWord3 conference organised by BCOMS (Black Collective of Media in Sport) to seek solutions to address the under-representation of women, BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic), LGBT+ and those with disabilities in the industry.

BCOMS will share new research into under-representation at the 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 include:

  • 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 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 will speak at the conference.

The London Deputy Mayor, Matthew Ryder, will also join the #DWord3 and share his thoughts on the importance of diversity in sport, the media and society.

Workshops designed to identify solutions to address under representation in the industry will take place across the day, with the ideas and action points generated to be published in an innovative diversity guide – supported by the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) – that will be sent to every media outlet in the UK.

The #DWord3 is hosted by BT Sport at their studios in Stratford, London, and is supported by IMG, Refresh and the Fare network. The event is 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:

“Since the first #DWord in 2014, there has been some progress in the industry and we believe our work and conferences have contributed to this through highlighting challenges and solutions.

“However, away from some positive shifts for female broadcasters (though the numbers of BAME women continue to be unacceptably low), our latest research underlines just how far the sports media is away from reflecting modern society – let alone the UK’s national sports.

“This impacts how stories are told. It impacts how audiences engage and view sport and people from diverse backgrounds. It impacts the aspirations of young people to be sports journalists. Things must change.”

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