Snack Media and the Football Writers’ Association joined forces once again on Wednesday night to host a speaker event which tackled the subject of BAME journalists breaking into the sports industry.
The panel featured:
Carina White, Head of Business Affairs & Partnerships, Tongue Tied Media & board member of BCOMS (The Black Collective of Media in Sport)
Vaishali Bhardwaj – Sports Reporter, formerly of The Evening Standard
Sami Mokbel – Football Reporter, Daily Mail
Joel Beya – Content Creator and Presenter, Cheeky Sport
Held at the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM,) the panel shared stories of their own experiences breaking into the industry. Over the course of the evening, three messages were continually raised:
Speaking about life before Cheeky Sport, Joel Beya revealed he “didn’t think [he] had the correct diction for @5liveSport” which is why he set up his own channel instead.
Cheeky Sport was born out of Joel’s belief that he had the characters to talk about sports through social media. He recognised he could capitalise on a niche area that others hadn’t touched. Cheeky Sport now has over 16 million views on YouTube and over 17K followers on Twitter.
Each panellist admitted they had conformed to certain business stereotypes when first starting out to try and impress senior figures, such as dressing smartly at all times, but later realised they weren’t being true to themselves. Sami perfectly summed up a message the entire panel sought to get across through their anecdotes: “if you believe in your own ability and make yourself the best you can be, then ultimately you will succeed.”
Changes need to be made at entry, mid and senior levels
The panel agreed that while it’s important to focus on encouraging more BAME journalists to work in the industry at entry level and allow those from disadvantaged backgrounds to be given opportunities, changes also needed to be made at “mid level, editor level and senior levels in order to see more BAME representatives” – Carina White.
Although organisations such as the BBC have consciously made an effort to encourage more BAME representatives and females into the industry, there is much more progress to be made, especially at local and national newspapers which have proven more rigid in trying to move with the times.
Be allies to one another
The power of unity was echoed by all panel members but especially Carina, who encouraged each attendee (BAME and non-BAME) to look out for their colleagues and to help those who may be struggling from conscious or unconscious prejudice.
Colleagues are often seen solely as competition, especially in such a saturated industry, but working with other people from a wide range of backgrounds and using that diversity to generate compelling ideas only makes your workforce more efficient and unique. The prevailing message was to use your colleagues as tools, rather than enemies.
For more information on Snack Media and to be considered for an editorial role as and when they arise, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and examples of your written work.
Watch this space for more events!
Featured image courtesy of Sports Gazette.