• Anna Minter

This is a man’s world: why I want to make it as a female journalist in the sports industry

Aspiring Sports Journalist, Anna Minter, gives us her story on why sport is such a big chapter in her life, who she looks up to, and her aims for the future

When you think of a football pundit, you most likely picture Geoff Stelling reeling off the half time scores at break neck speed, or Gary Lineker greeting you from your sofa as you watch Match of the Day.

I’m sure some people would name the likes of Gabby Logan, or Alex Scott. But not many.

Just like many other industries, the sports industry has historically been dominated by men, which is fittingly married with the fact that sport has been a male’s prerogative since it was first fashioned.

It’s ingrained within our history, and you only need to turn back the clock by a few decades to understand why.

The Uruguay men’s national team lifted the first ever world cup trophy in 1930. It was not until sixty-one years later that players of the USA women’s football team felt the euphoric weight of a world cup medal around their necks.

But we’re in 2021 now, and just like many other areas of society, sport has become progressively more diverse. It’s encouraging to see more female journalists breaking the mould.

As a final year journalism student with a passion for sport, I personally think it’s a fantastic time for women to make their mark in the sports industry (pandemic aside).

News outlets are thirsty for a chance to represent diversity and equal opportunity, and many female journalists have proven that hard work and determination can land you in great positions.

When did I know I wanted to be a sports journalist?

I’d be lying if I said that I’ve always wanted to be a journalist. In all honesty, I only really became fully engaged in current affairs when I explored the avenue of journalism in my years at college.

I have, however, always loved sport, and I’ve always enjoyed anything to do with media and creativity.

My love affair with football began at the age of 7, following a number of failed attempts at ballet and gymnastics – just not my style. I’ve played the sport all my life, and followed it off the pitch with equal amounts of zest and passion.

Although my degree covers all areas of journalism, naturally over the years I’ve gravitated towards sport, and many of my assignments have been specialised in topics I’m interested in.

Throughout my time at University, I’ve become really engaged in broadcast journalism, and the excitement of TV bulletins is something I could see myself getting stuck into in the future.

I want to be a sports journalist because it’s something I love. A lot of people pursue careers with money at the forefront of their ambition, but for me, being able to say you do what you love is the most important thing.

Who inspires me?

Jacqui Oatley is a female journalist that I really look up to, and her story is rather phenomenal.

Jacqui had always loved sport and had been an avid football player in her younger years. Her time on the pitch was cut short after suffering what would prove to be a grievous knee injury, and this pushed her towards making her mark on football off the pitch.

At the age of 27 Jacqui took a leap of faith and snubbed her well paid property job to go back to university to study broadcast journalism. The aspiring journalist put everything into her year of study, juggling a part-time internship at the BBC with wet and windy evenings covering local league fixtures.

In 2007 Jacqui became the first female football commentator in television history, and since then she has had an illustrious career in broadcast journalism, sporting her talents in mainly football and darts.

She’s a familiar face to most households these days, all off the back of sheer determination and an unwavering love for sport. Even writing this has sparked an odd sense of empowerment in me, and I hope it does for other women reading this.

What’s next in my chapter?

I’m no Jacqui Oatley, but there’s no harm in dreaming big. For now, my final year studies have my undivided attention, and will continue to do so until I take an obligatory picture on campus of me cradling a copy of my printed dissertation.

After that…well the honest answer is, I’m not entirely sure. I don’t think anyone can be sure about most things in the current climate.

I hope to find my feet in a career that is sport orientated, and if that involves covering games on a cold, rainy night at Stoke, then so be it.

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