Scanning the room at the awards ceremony I realised it was still very much a man’s world #joblogs

After every winner at the Sports Journalist Association awards was announced I turned to my dinner companion and said, “I’m so going to be up there next year”. Didn’t matter if I was even eligible for the award – Broadcaster of the Year, Young Sportswriter, Cartoonist, Specialist Correspondent – none of which I do, I was inspired!

My table companion promised he’d be there to cheer me on even when I had a moment of self-doubt and suggested that, ‘Maybe I’ll just give out an award’.

I just wanted to be up there, recognised by the Sports Journalist Association and fellow professionals for outstanding work in a competitive field.

Mostly, I wanted to be up there to accompany the sole female winner of the night, Alison Mitchell, best known for cricket commentary on the BBC, and rewarded with Broadcaster of the Year voted for by her fellow SJA members and beating – gasp – Clare Balding, among others.

The emotive entries for sports photos of the year made me laugh, cheer and frown; I clapped heartily when double winner in the feature writing category, Matthew Syed, a favourite scribe of mine went up for his second gong of the night; I chuckled when a chap from ITV Sport jumped up and shrieked, ‘Yes’, on winning the best television sports show for Sporting Life Stories.

Yet I realised it was still very much a man’s world as I made my way to the bar through 95% male attendees, where one out of 22 awards went to a woman – although it’s noted that one other award was for the Daily Mail en masse – and three women out of 31 received highly commended nods.

So there’s a way to go, that’s for sure, but a chat with sport journalist stalwart Sybil Ruscoe, who’s been in the industry for thirty years, was enlightening. “In 1978, when I started working on a newspaper, we didn’t have any women writing about sport. So, obviously, back then it was very different to how it is today, and I think in the time I’ve been a journalist I’ve seen opportunities for women increase considerably. I remember when I started I got thrown out of press conferences as football managers didn’t like women in the room!”

So there you have it ladies, changes are afoot, it’s just a process that is taking it’s good sweet time…


For a list of the full award winners go to the Sports Journalist Association website


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