The one-day conference, #DWord2, will bring together some of the most influential people in the sector, including broadcasters, journalists and equality campaigners to present their findings and discuss the problem.
The event, held today in London, will feature two workshops focusing on how to recruit the next generation and look at which initiatives promoting greater diversity in the industry have been effective so far. The organisers hope to come up with realistic and deliverable aims for sports media, which will be documented and distributed through a new D Word guide.
Speakers at the conference include ground-breaking broadcaster and former England rugby star, Maggie Alphonsi MBE, Head of BT Sport Simon Green, BBC’s Head of TV Sport, Philip Bernie, Executive Editor of Sky Sports News, Andy Cairns, Sports Editor at The Times, Alex Kay-Jelski and Channel 4 Commissioning Editor for Sport, Stephen Lyle. BBC broadcasters Hugh Woozencroft and Jessica Creighton will host the day.
This is the second conference BCOMS organise as part of the Fare action weeks, the first taking place in 2014 with the mission of putting diversity firmly on the agenda for the industry’s key decision makers.
Leon Mann, BCOMS founder and broadcaster, said: “We are delighted to be holding the #DWord2 conference at BT Sport.
“The current state of diversity in the sports media is pretty depressing. But let’s not waste time feeling down about it. We need to find solutions, ask searching questions of our own contributions in this area, and ultimately set some achievable goals for the industry to deliver.
“We can’t wait for things to get better with time. Nor can we accept a situation where you have to win an Olympic gold medal or play in the Premier League to get a shot in this industry. If we do – we let down another generation of aspiring sports journalists from diverse backgrounds.”
A recent research conducted by the group looked at 456 sports media roles which covered four major sporting events in the summer – The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, the UEFA European Championships in France and premier tennis tournament Wimbledon – and found that under 10% of the sports media professionals were from an ethnic minority, of which only eight black journalists were not either a current or former athlete.