According to research from Nielsen, 63 percent of people want to see Ireland's sportswomen honoured as national heroes in the same way as sportsmen.
Irish journalism focused on women in sport is in dire need of improvement, and today Investec has launched it's inaugural 20×20 Media Awards to recognise excellence in this field.
The 20×20 Nielsen Sports Study found that just a shocking three percent of print and four percent of online coverage was dedicated to women’s sport in Ireland: it's time for improvements.
The Federation of Irish Sportpresented Investec as a sponsor for 20×20 in order to provide more support for women in sport.
Greater cultural recognition is one way to start; broadcast, print and online journalists are being invited to submit entries on women in sport to it's latest awards competition.
Investec has curated an expert panel of judges for their 2019 Media Awards;
Anna Kessel as chairwoman; Mary O’Connor, CEO of theFederation of Irish Sport; Michael Cullen, CEO of Investec; Sarah Colgan, CEO of Along Came A Spider and 20×20 co-founder and Gordon D’Arcy, former Irish International rugby player.
Nielsen Sports were commisioned by 20×20 to monitor media coverage of sport, which resulted in quite discouraging statistics.
20×20 has estimated television coverage of women's sport is less than 12 percent, and 59 percent of Irish people believe that the media should do more to promote female sport.
57 percent of people want to see equality in female and male sporting role models in the media, and 63 percent of the public would love to see Irish women being given the same 'national hero' status as men.
GAA Handball are delighted to be proud members of the recently released @iresport Women in Sport initiative 20×20 IF SHE CAN'T SEE IT, SHE CAN'T BE IT.
The key aim is to increase media coverage of, attendance at, and participation in, women in sport in Ireland by 20% by 2020. pic.twitter.com/iB9YVO8aNf
Anna Kessel, chairwoman of Investec 20×20 Awards said: “In celebrating women's sports journalism the Investec 20×20 Media Awards are sending out a very powerful message: women's sport is amazing, and of value."
"For every sports editor who's ever wondered if it's worth covering; to every coach who questioned whether girls needed encouraging, and to every sports’ governing body deliberating over how much to invest in their female athletes this year, this initiative makes it clear: women's sport matters."
The objective of 20×20 is to increase the level of coverage of women’s sport across media by 20 percent by the end of 2020, according to its founder, Sarah Colgan.
Gowan girlos, you deserve a medal. Like Katie Taylor-sized medal. Multiple medals, actually…
On November 29th, Deborah Ross of The Times wrote what can only be described as a SCATHING article about influencers which began like this;
"I have a dream. It is not a big dream. I am not Martin Luther King. I only do dreams on a small scale, so it is a small-scale dream and my small-scale dream is this: might there be any way we could do a find and replace on the word “influencer” so it is replaced by “detestable freeloader” wherever it appears? So we all know what, in fact, we are dealing with."
Yikes. To add to the drama-fest, YouTuber and Blogosphere's Influencer of the Year 2018 Melanie Murphy has responded.
We have to say, Murphy makes some noteworthy points;
Starting off her 13-minute YouTube video with a cool "Okay Deborah, calm down", she proceeds to explain the hypocrisy behind Ross' points with a level of clarity which is hard to deny.
Ross essentially slated influencers in her article, describing them as 'detestable freeloaders', essentially people who deserve to be hated because they receive complimentary items and give nothing in return.
Murphy responds by issuing the point that the media in general is funded by advertising and marketing, for example, on the bottom of Ross' article had a sponsored post, without which the article possibly would never have been read.
Promotion and marketing absolutely surrounds us, from celebrities such as David Beckham for Adidas, Beyoncé for Pepsi, Justin Timberlake for McDonalds, Jessica Simpson for WeightWatchers, Brad Pitt for whatever cologne he's feeling that day, Julia Roberts for Lancôme, Hannah Witton for PlayStation, Holly Willoughby for Marks & Spencer etc etc.
It's inescapable. However, just because they receive free objects doesn't mean that they give nothing in return.
The issue which Murphy takes with Ross' article is the sheer hypocrisy as well as the generalisations which she makes. She places every influencer in the same category, when many of them promote noble causes such as LGBT+ charities and organisations, cruelty-free and paraben-free beauty products, health foods, nutrition, sexual health organisations, disability and accessibility rights, chronic pain activists, and more.
Jameela Jamil's i_Weigh movement has become hugely successful, and empowers people to weigh themselves on their overall worth as a person rather than their body mass index. Jamil suffered from an eating disorder for years, and now uses promotion and Instagram to create a unified group of people who value and respect themselves. She also is a major campaigner for banning airbrushing.
Melanie Murphy claims that every successful creative has the support of brands behind them, and receive freebies. Many of them self-fund their projects, and use the money for other causes, others simply give away any freebies which they receive.
Murphy also points out that just because they gain complimentary products does not mean that those people aren't extremely hardworking. Many influencers balance their life online with their family and a side-job.
"95% of what I show, what I wear, I pay for myself," she claims. Through advertising and word of mouth, companies can use influencers for their branding, but this doesn't undermine the level of thought which goes into choosing which brands to work with.
Murphy works with Always pads to talk openly about periods, Barclays, who sponsor Pride, a show which explores bisexuality, PicMonkey, Wella for hair dyes which work against allergies, Holland and Barrett for cruelty-free health and nutrition products.
Numerous influencers and their agents are hugely picky about who they work with, the brands must make sense for the influencers for them to collaborate with them.
"I'm always so bloody proud of my paid-for content, always. The money these brands pay me enables me to write a novel and work on more artsy things like short films which I invest in myself but don't get money back."
According to the Youtuber, the media wouldn't survive without branding and advertisements. From YouTubeads to websites, podcasts, radio, television, newspapers and magazines, advertising is saturated in our industry.
For Deborah Ross to call followers of influencers 'morons' is entirely unfair, from Melanie's point of view;
"Under-researched drivel such as this which contributes to the negative rhetoric that surrounds bloggers and influencers, thousands of hard-working people. Some of which juggle a family or another job."
Many believe for Ross to declare that influencers have done nothing to merit this lifestyle is flawed and reductive, Murphy herself demonstrates a great engagement because of how she chooses brands to work with;
"I never try sneak anything in, I'm never shady. I am lucky and I'm very grateful, I don't swan around."
Lastly, Murphy places emphasis on the fact that YouTubeis a community which supports one another, they collaborate and shout each other out and lift each other up. In the journalism industry, there is minimal collaboration and no support between competing publications;
"You sit and write and you get aid to do that, there was a time where people would scoff at your job and say that that's not a real job. We actually support each other. You're not going to see The Times supporting an article from another publication."
She describes the loneliness which perpetuates society, and how YouTube can be used as escapism, or for self-help, for comedy, entertainment, advice or even just to connect;
"A lot of people are lonely and it's a beautiful thing to be able to connect with people through words through a lens. Families are smaller, the Church has collapsed, community has gone to shit. I feel like through my monthly blogs I encourage people to connect with their real-life friends and family"
As Murphy points out, building a following of thousands or millions doesn't just happen for no reason.
'Detestable freeloaders' aren't just empty vessels of advertisers; they're entertainers, they're singers, actors, writers, comedians, models, creatives, editors, lighting experts, agents and so much more.
Is it your dream to become a top entertainment journalist? Do you love pop culture, music, movies, beauty, style and most of all, the internet?
We have an amazing opportunity for one talented writer as we begin our search for the newest member of the SHEmazing! editorial team.
We’re looking for a new full-time Staff Writer and we want enthusiastic people who love writing and love life. You should be a person who is constantly consuming media and is regularly the first one to spot and share a good story on social media.
We want people who love the digital world: Facebook fiends, Twitter addicts, blogging fanatics and Instagram enthusiasts.
But most of all, we want people who are happiest when they’re writing.
The SHEmazing! team are an enthusiastic (if slightly crazy) bunch of journalists, who love what they do and work hard at it.
To be a part of this amazing group, you’ll need the following skills:
Ability to write creative, engaging copy across various interest categories
Sound judgment about language and tone of voice
Strong organisational and time management skills
Flawless attention to detail
Strong sense of aesthetic
Social media savvy
Ability to work in an incredibly fast-paced environment
Excellent written English
Proficient in MS Office
Sound just like you? Well here’s what you need to know.
This fab role is based at our Sandyford HQ and is a full-time position (evening/weekend work will probably be required). In addition to writing responsibilities, you'll have the opportunity to represent SHEmazing! at selected media and commercial events around Dublin and beyond.
We may even put you on camera – eek!
To apply, send your CV and a cover letter to work[at]shemazing.ie, along with a 200w article (written by you just for us!) that you think would be suited to the SHEmazing audience.
This could be the best thing that ever happens to your career, so get moving!