Female Journalists head to Teesside for day of Inspiration

Gemma Nash gives Inspirational talk about TV presenting

Media professionals hosted a special event on Teesside celebrating female  sports reporters as part of International Womens’ Day

The ‘Women in Sport’ event – with Middlesbrough Football Club and Sky Sports – offered the opportunity for young women from around the region to take part in various workshops to build an understanding of the working world of  female reporters in Journalism.

Currently  only 7% of all sports coverage is of womens’ sport and according to a Guardian newspaper report the average proportion of sports stories written by women was a mere 1.8%.

The event was set up to try and tackle this issue and encourage more women into Sport Journalism.

Former Hartlepool Mail Sport reporter  Samantha Lee and 5 Live Sports commentator Vicky Sparks arttended the event

Samantha  spoke about her experiences  which including the opportunity to report on her  childhood club Hartlepool United.

Vicky also shared her career experiences which including being a pitch side commentator for the EFL Cup Final between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium last month.

The event then headed to Middlesbrough Football Club’s Stadium – the Riverside, where Sky Sports Journalists held a range of workshops focusing on presenting, reporting and the use of digital and social media.

The Sky Sports Journalists included Teesside University’s very own MA Journalism graduate Leanne Johnson Arnison.

Leanne  now works on Sky’s boxing team creating various content including  the popular  Show – Behind the Ropes.

Leanne spoke about her experience following and interviewing British Boxing star  Anthony Joshua before his big fight with Eric Molina.

Leanne, alongside Sky TV presenter Gemma Nash and Sky Social Media editor Jordan Halford, ran keynote talks where they spoke about their career, challenges and ambitions in the industry as well as offering advice and inspiration to  young women.

A question & answer session with the panel of industry representatives allowed the audience to question the Journalists.

The Journalist’s pleaded with the young women that their sex shouldn’t matter when thinking about their career paths and that they should push to succeed.

Sky Sports Journalist’s Leanne Johnson, Gemma Nash and Jordan Halford completing a Q&A

The day concluded with a pitch side tour of the Riverside Stadium where there was picture opportunities to remember the day.

Sky Sports are a news organisation who are tackling the gender spilt in Sports Journalism.

The organisation is proud to state that 30 per cent of production staff are women and that they now have a 50/50 gender split among the presenters.

Jonathan Brown, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Journalism at Teesside University said: “The event was set up to try to encourage more women to get into Sport Journalism because at present women and females generally are unrepresented not just in sport, the management and playing sport, but also in the media.”

“So, one role that we can play here at Teesside University is to promote Sport Journalism as a destination for women.

“This is only part of a wider process that’s going on throughout the industry which is supported by major players including the BBC, Sky and the Government to hit a certain number of targets and getting women into Sports Journalism is seen as a gateway thing not just for women in Sports Journalism, but for women participating in sport and then feeding through to elite sport.

“The event was a massive success. We had two excellent speakers in Samantha Lee and Vicky Sparks.

“We also had an input from Sky Sports News who provided a series of workshop for students across the Tees Valley to learn how to operate as a Sport Journalist and learn some of the core skills that the job intakes and to also be introduced to the opportunities that are out there as Journalist.

“We had brilliant feedback from the teachers, pupils and from everyone that took part. Women in Sports Journalism is ongoing and it’s ones of these things that it’s going to get bigger, so we are fully behind it.”


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