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UK journalist groups supporting the sports media

Sport media groups

While the media industry as a whole has struggled to continue reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic, sports writers, broadcasters and photographers have been hit hard as regular sporting events were put on hold, pushed back or cancelled while the crisis continued. 

Below are a selection of groups and associations supporting the sports media, as well as sport-specific groups including football, golf, cricket and yachting, to join if you’re working in sports media and want to develop your career, make new connections or support newcomers to the community.

Sports Journalist Association

Welcomes: British-based professional sports writers, photographers and broadcasters.

When it was founded: Much has changed for journalists since the SJA was founded in a pub near Fleet Street in 1948, but the association has grown along with the changes in the sports media industry it serves.

What are the benefits of joining: As well as being the first point of call for AIPS card application (that’s the only official press card recognised across all borders from the International Sports Press Association), the SJA holds social events with leading figures in sport and the SJA British Sports Journalism Awards. Daily updates from the sports media industry is also covered on its news page. 


Sports Media LGBT+

Welcomes: LGBTQ+ people working, or wanting to work, in sports media, as well as allies supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

When it was founded: 2017, by Sky Sports’ Jon Holmes.

What are the benefits of joining: Join the group’s mailing list for updates and news, or email for advice – Sports Media LGBT+ hopes to ‘help create welcoming environments and cultures in which LGBT+ people can achieve their goals through authenticity’.


The Black Collective of Media in Sports

Welcomes: Black professionals and newcomers working in the sports media.

When it was founded: Sports journalist Leon Mann founded BCOMS in 2009.

What are the benefits of joining: Sharing of opportunities and contacts, training programmes to help with career development as well as links to media organisations, trade union bodies, and key decision-makers across the industry.


Football Writers’ Association

Welcomes: Professional football journalists working across England and internationally. 

When it was founded: 1947.   

What are the benefits of joining: The FWA works for better access and facilities for football writers and has links with clubs, federations and governing bodies. FWA members also get the chance to vote for Footballer of the Year.


Yachting Journalists Association

Welcomes: Those writing, editing, publishing, broadcasting, in photography, art or lecturing, or full-time employed by a non-profit organisation or agency engaged in comms, conservation and the promotion of sailing and boating. 

When it was founded: 1955, by Sir Max Aitken.  

What are the benefits of joining: The YJA represents hundreds of specialist marine journalists, photographers, TV and radio presenters and online editors across the big sailing and boating regions globally.


The Cricket Writers Club

Welcomes: ‘All cricket media’.

When it was founded: CWC was started in 1946 as a social club for cricket writers and now comprises the whole sector, including broadcasters and photographers.

What are the benefits of joining: As well as Annual Lunches, summer socials, mixed cricket fixtures, the CWC Book Awards and Cricket Writing Workshops, the CWC liaises with the ECB on accreditation procedures for local and visiting media, and judging the ECB Domestic Journalism Awards. 


Association of Golf Writers

Welcomes: Golf writer candidates must be proposed and seconded by members of at least three years’ standing who are not currently serving on the AGW committee.

When it was founded: in 1938, by a group of 30 media pros who decided to start an organisation to protect the interest of golf writers.

What are the benefits of joining: AGW badge, tie, diary, members’ handbook, invitation to the AGW Annual dinner, golf outings, a newsletter with news on upcoming activities and functions, and help with accreditation and working conditions where needed.


If there are associations, unions, or support groups you’ve found particularly useful during your career in the media that we can highlight, please do get in touch and let us know.

For more on the work of Jon Holmes at Sports Media LGBT+ and Leon Mann at The Black Collective of Media in Sports, read their contributions to the ResponseSource Diversity in Journalism whitepaper.

Send a request for what you need to finish features, review round-ups and more with the Journalist Enquiry Service, a complimentary resource for UK media professionals: try it here.

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