British media address the underrepresentation of BME in the sports media industry29 October 2014


Diversity in the UK’s sports media industry was the focus of the Black Collective Of Media in Sport (BCOMS) ‘D Word’ conference, held on Monday (27 October), as one of the highlights of the Football People action weeks.

The event brought together over 130 attendees, including journalists, equality experts, academics, students and community leaders, and representatives of British leading media companies.

An opening session explored the importance of diversity in the industry and views on how to bring about a change.

The panel, chaired by Ronald McIntosh, BBC Sport and Channel 4 broadcaster, featured Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, Darren Lewis, Mirror Sport Football Writer, Jeanette Kwakye, former GB athlete and sports journalist, Reshmin Chowdhury, BBC Sport and BT Sport journalist, and Professor Diane Kemp.

Nurturing talent and developing partnerships
Two workshops looked into identifying solutions in addressing underrepresentation, including how to recruit a more diverse workforce and how a lack of diversity can affect how stories are told.

Among the points highlighted by the participants were: the need for media companies to better understand their audiences, nurture talent and develop different methods of recruitment; the promotion of affiliations between the industry and universities/colleges; and the need for a wider visibility of BME journalists not only on screen, but also in planning stories and other fields of sports media.

Addressing the audience, Daily Mirror Chief Football Writer Martin Lipton said: “There is no diversity in the media business because the business is run by white, middle-aged man.”

Nevertheless, there is an increasingly desire within the industry for meritocracy.”

“Creating opportunities at the very bottom will help people make their way up.”

A closing session brought together editors and heads of department in field and discussed how the industry can work together to create a more representative sports media in the future. The speakers included Head of BT Sport, Simon Green, BBC Head of TV Sport, Philip Bernie, Sky Sports News Executive Editor, Andy Cairns and The Voice Sports Editor, Rodney Hinds.

The topics and suggestions discussed at the event, which was held at the London College of Communication, will be compiled in a guide that will published and widely distributed to promote good practice on the field.

Set up in 2009, BCOMS is a network of sport media professionals funded to discuss concerns about the under-representation of BME people in the industry and work towards positive change through innovative networking, campaigning and training programmes.