BBC Sports Journalist Vicki Sparks today said that being a woman hasn’t been a barrier to succeeding in the industry.
“I don’t think it’s been a barrier for me.”
“I think there’s a broad acceptance within the football community that women can talk about sports.”
“There are challenges male and female reporters face you will never be everyone’s cup of tea”.
She was speaking at Leeds Trinity University as part of Journalism and Media Week, sharing her tips for aspiring sports journalists trying to get into the industry, her early career and her own experiences as a commentator.
Vicki went on to say she thinks of herself as a football fan not necessarily a female football fan.
She named being the first live female commentator on a Women’s World Cup match as one of her highlights.
The BBC’s John Murray shared the commentary with her. “It’s John Murray, I’m sitting next to John Murray, that’s amazing and he’s going to hand to me later”.
Sparks did acknowledge the negativity in social media that can come with being in the public eye.
She went on to give tips about how to overcome this kind of online trolling and in general how to look at your own work and be self-critical in a positive way without letting the online comments get to you.
“Get feedback from people you respect and value their opinion,” she told her audience.
The commentator shared how she evaluates her own performance by listening back to herself before reading any online comments to try and pick out any faults or points to improve on – resulting in any negative comments not upsetting her as she has already picked up on those moments herself.
Contrastingly Sparks continued to voice her thoughts on some of the positive comments, for example on a women’s match she was delighted to see that the focus of the comments was on the football itself not the fact it was women’s football.
To round off the talk Vicki Sparks gave some take away notes to the audience on the best ways to get into the industry to start your own career.
Persistence was a recurring theme along with getting in touch with anyone you can to make connections and network.
‘If you message 20 people and one of them gets back to you then that’s an in.”