Talented young women who have a passion for sports were told to work hard and “break the mould” to achieve their career ambitions in journalism during a Women in Sports Media conference.
The University of Lincoln played host to the conference, organised with Sky Sports News, to break down the perception that sports journalism jobs are purely for men.
The NCTJ supported the inspiring event and promoted sports journalism training opportunities to the 96 students who attended from 10 schools across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Sheffield.
The students took part in a series of workshops, delivered by female journalists at Sky Sports News, to learn the latest developments and skills in digital content, field producing, interviewing, TV presenting and podcasting.
They enjoyed trying their hand at reading from the autocue and presenting a sports news segment in front of a green screen at the university’s dedicated TV studio.
Another group shared their passion for their eclectic mix of sports, including golf, athletics, judo and shotput, on their own podcasts during a session co-ordinated by broadcaster Faye Carruthers.
Sky Sports scholar and 2020 Olympic hopeful Molly Thompson-Smith, 21, was also quizzed by the students about her career in climbing.
The students asked insightful questions about overcoming obstacles, who she is inspired by and how to face up to discrimination in sport.
At the end of the day, which took place on Wednesday, a question and answer session with inspiring female sports journalists gave the students an insight into the careers available and they were also given advice about how to carve a path as a woman in sports media.
The panel consisted of Jessica Creighton, a presenter and reporter for Sky Sports News, Jessica Gross, a digital content producer for Sky Sports News, Faye Carruthers, live broadcaster at Sky Sports News, Sky Sports News’ production manager Victoria Rudling, BT Sport assistant producer Ella Meadowcroft, Natasha Ireton-Bourke from ITV Sport, as well as Sky Scholar Molly Thompson-Smith.
Emma Robinson, accreditation manager at the NCTJ, also joined the panel to talk to the students about the different training options available to study sports journalism.
This is the fifth conference Sky Sports News has organised to encourage young women to consider sports journalism as career.
Laurie Tucker, day editor and head of training at Sky Sports News, said: “We put on these events to break down the perception that working in sport is simply jobs for the boys.
“The gender imbalance in sports journalism remains unacceptably high, but you have to take a long-term approach to address that issue.
“Events like this will hopefully inspire more young women onto properly recognised journalism training courses which means employers will have a larger pool of female talent to recruit from.”
John Cafferkey, BA Journalism course leader at the University of Lincoln, said: “We are delighted with how the event went.
“We had great numbers and the atmosphere around the school was just excellent.
“What was really pleasing to see was a group of young women who came in quite nervous to begin with but at the end, the buzz around the room was palpable.
“We could see how many had grown in confidence in just one day.
“If just one of these young women is inspired to train as a sports journalist then the day has been more than a success.”