Black Collective of Media in Sport

1028. Leon Mann

Leon Mann, from London, is a sports journalist who founded the ‘Black Collective of Media in Sport’, a network that raises the prospects and profile of underrepresented Black sports journalists in the UK.

Leon Mann

While up to 30 per cent of professional football players in the UK are black, there are 0 Black sports columnists in national mainstream papers who are journalists, and not previous or current sportsmen and women. Leon’s network collects and monitors diversity data, encourages aspiring candidates to apply for new roles in sports media, and connects the future generation of diverse sports journalists with those who are currently working for major publications. Leon, who has over a decade of experience working at the BBC and ITV, also launched the ‘Football Black List’ in 2008. This annual list, released in The Voice UK, celebrates and highlights the contributions of Black people across football and aims to ensure there is diversity in front of and behind the camera.

In a personal letter to Leon, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“Your dedication to improving access and inclusion within sports media is having a transformational effect on young Black professionals who aspire to work in the industry. By establishing the ‘Black Collective of Media in Sport’ and co-founding the ‘Football Black List’ you are inspiring the next generation of diverse sports journalists.”

Leon said:

“It is an honour to receive this award for my work trying to increase diversity in the sports media. ‘Black Collective of Media in Sport’ recent research highlights a lack of BAME and female representation on screen and in the national newspapers that needs to be addressed urgently. The situation behind the camera, in newsrooms and within senior management is not much better. This impacts how stories are told, how communities engage with sport and how we portray diverse people. By working together, funding initiatives in this area and with strong leadership we can change this uncomfortable dynamic. I look forward to continuing to push this agenda forward.”

Watch Leon’s response to receiving the award:

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