Aspiring female sports journalists encouraged to ‘go for it’ in new video

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and Sky Sports News have teamed up to produce a video encouraging more women to pursue a career in sports journalism.

The video, produced by Sky Sports News in partnership with the NCTJ, features contributions from successful sports journalists working for Sky Sports News, BBC Radio 4, the Daily Mail and the Irish Post. It highlights the roles available to women sports journalists and the contribution that women can make to sports stories.

Sports journalists featured in the video agreed that it is not as unusual to see women talking and writing about sport and employers are addressing the traditional gender imbalance. They encouraged women with a passion for sports journalism to ‘push themselves forward’ and seize the opportunities that are available to them.

As part of her contribution to the video Jo Wilson, presenter, Sky Sports News HQ, said: “I think maybe 10, 20 years ago there was much more of a gender imbalance. I think that has changed dramatically so I’ve come into this environment where you don’t feel like you’re a minority.

“You just have to look around the Sky Sports newsroom to see that there are a lot of women who work here. So I think now more than ever there are opportunities no matter what gender you are and that’s because women before me have paved the path, so that people like me can now thrive in an environment like this.”

Jo, who completed her NCTJ training at Glasgow Caledonian University, added: “For any women thinking about getting involved in a career in sports journalism I would just say absolutely go for it.”

Martha Kelner, Daily Mail athletics correspondent and former journalism student at the University of Sheffield, said: “I think the more women we can get in the entry level jobs, then the more chance there is for them to rise to the top.”

The video was launched at a women in sports media day held at the University of Brighton on Tuesday, 22 March. It is part of a drive by the NCTJ, working on behalf of the journalism industry, to encourage more diversity on journalism courses.

Sky Sports News executive editor Andy Cairns, who is also a trustee of the NCTJ and chairman of its accreditation board, said: “There can be no barriers to success for those who want to pursue a career in journalism by studying on an NCTJ-accredited course. The accreditation board challenges courses to demonstrate that they are open to students from all classes and backgrounds in society. I’m especially keen to ensure training centres meet the target that 25 per cent of students on accredited sports journalism courses should be women by the end of this parliament.

“Currently over half of those on accredited journalism courses are female. But for accredited sports journalism courses, female students are too often greatly outnumbered by men.

“At Sky Sports News, we are proud that 30 per cent of Sky Sports News production staff are women and we now have a 50/50 gender split among our presenters. There is more work to be done and we need to build momentum by encouraging more women to think about sports journalism as a career.”

Contributors to the video include: Nemesha Balasundaram, Irish Post journalist, Kate Burlaga, Sky Sports Digital deputy football editor, Martha Kelner, Daily Mail athletics correspondent, Caroline Lapperton, Sky Sports News HQ co-producer, Jade Lauriston, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme sport producer, and Jo Wilson, Sky Sports News HQ presenter.

Read about the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism (Fast Track) at UCFB