One reporter burst on to the scene at Sky Sports and has never looked back: Hayley McQueen. We spoke to Hayley about the amazing female reporters in the sports media industry and how she made it to prime-time sports television.
By Charlie Parker-Turner (@CParker-Turner)
Hayley’s career began working in production, as she explained: “I didn’t start out actually wanting to be a presenter, so I helped out behind the scenes and worked in production for three years at a cable tv station, as well as delivering programmes for a community football scheme for a year. I reported for a couple of years and then got into presenting. Had I started wanting to be a presenter I reckon I would have found it a lot tougher, so try not to narrow your options. Try your hand at everything and who knows what might come up.”
The Manchester-born reporter was then fortunate enough to get a lucky break into the doors of Sky, she said: “I worked as a gallery assistant for a year, which meant working on the auto cue. I printed out scripts, booked commentators and commentary positions and sorted out car parking… basically made logistical arrangements for presenters and commentators for three years before I attempted reporting.
“I then got a break when a news presenter went on maternity leave and their replacement didn’t turn up. I was trained and Sky took me on. Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forwards and it doesn’t always matter how you get in, just that you do get in.”
On the surface, this does seem like some unbelievable luck from Hayley that these events all occurred which enabled her to pursue the job opening, but it shows the importance of your contacts and work experience. If Hayley didn’t have the experience in reporting and have contacts at Sky, then the job would have inevitably been handed to someone else. Work experience is crucial in sports media and if you are looking for some then make sure to check out our jobs section here to see what is available now.
Hayley has made the job as Sky Sports News her own and is one of the most familiar faces on the show and in the sports media industry generally, she explained how women are having an amazing impact on the sports media industry.
The Sky Sports News presenter said, “It has been an amazing period for a Clare Balding. When you see someone like her doing the job she did during the Olympics, you really look up to people like that. There are a lot of women at Sky Sports News and Sky News who have worked their way up, too. Vicky Gomersall is a great example of someone who has worked her way up. She is approaching 40 but is still chosen as a no.1 host to present flagship programmes. You’re always working up towards something.
“Claire Tomlinson is another. Her lifestyle is different now and she does a lot of big hosting events away from Sky, but for years we looked up to her as one of the main female presenters in football, like Rebecca Lowe, Gabby Logan and Kelly Dalglish. Claire worked her way up from a press officer at a football club and she’s been a main figure at Sky.”
Women are shifting the sports media industry into being more gender-equal and taking a huge stand in the face of stereotypes. No one should ever let their gender stop them from pursuing the job they have always dreamed of, especially in a time like now where employers are always looking for the best employee and a disregard for gender.
We have spoken to many other professionals who are having flourishing careers in sport, they have provided us with a great insight into their professions and given brilliant top tips and advice for those looking to break into the industry, whatever your gender; check it out here.