On the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of the Sports Journalist on July 2, the executive of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) will like to salute all sports journalists and particularly, its members for their hardwork that has helped sustained sports, in the past year.
Never has the impact of sports journalism been so felt as in the past year when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced almost the entire world to rely on the media to follow sports.
As the pandemic got to worrying levels, forcing almost all sporting events to be cancelled and some held behind closed doors, fans had their passion fed through the media.
With stadia shut and venues closed, it was the tireless efforts of sports journalists that brought the world of sports closer to one another, often at the peril of their lives.
Sports journalists in Ghana were not spared the biting impact of the pandemic, as the livelihoods of many of were also negatively affected, some of us going on many months without being paid.
Though this came with its attendant challenges, that did not deter the sports media endured the sacrifice and got back to work almost immediately the ban on sports was lifted.
Through the hardwork and dedication to duty by the sports media, fans have been informed, updated on happenings, entertained and educated, helping to take away some of the psychological stress enduring the pandemic has brought on many people.
On such a significant day as July 2, the day set aside by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) since 1994 to recognize the services and efforts of sports journalists for taking sports to a new level in media, all members deserve to be celebrated.
Indeed, the role of the Ghanaian sports media in helping bring excitement this season in the Ghana Premier League, the Women’s Premier League as well as professional boxing to mention a few, can not be over-emphasised.
As we pat ourselves on the back for the good job done, it is also important for us to take stock of our performances in the important role we play in the sports industry, we also need to reflect on our individual and collect acts of commission and omission which sometimes shifts the spotlight on to us.
With many more people now becoming ever dependent on our jobs to follow competitions and other happenings in the world of sports, it is important that we set the professional benchmarks to be of the highest standards and effectively play the role entrusted to us.
Perhaps, this is the time to reflect on what we have done in the past year and assess how effective we have been on the tenets of fairness, objectiveness and accuracy.
At all times, we should be guided by the fact that, we have a responsibility of helping in the development and progress of sports or otherwise and that, sports fans rely on our work to be informed and educated or otherwise, based on what we churn out.
As often as it is required, we all have to be reminded about the fact that we are the news reporters and not the news makers and thus, the need for us to collaborate with the actors in sports and not be seen as competing with them for the same spotlight in the public space as it is often the case in recent times.
Again, technology has been a blessing to our jobs, and it is obvious it will continue to be a significant part of our job henceforth as it is now evidenced that many people are turning to it to follow happenings around us and in the world, including sports.
It is therefore, important for us to take full advantage of it and not rather hide behind it to cast a slur on our job. Be it traditional or new media, the professionalism must been seen and felt.
The past year has been challenging, but we have shown our resilience to thrive and we can only hope for better years ahead as we strive to play our part in the steady progress of sports in the country.
We can not mark the day without paying tribute to the fore bearers, who were before us and whose diligence and commitment to duty ensured that the torch lit the path to our times.
A statement by SWAG said, Today, we can also be proud of the role we have played and continue to play, particularly during this COVID-19 times to keep sports alive.
However, we should not sacrifice our health and personal safety for our passion and what we do.
As we go the lengths to feed the passion of sports fans, we must pay attention to our personal welfare both physically and psychologically, safety and security to ensure at all times for it is only when we are healthy, safe and secured that we can be effective and efficient.
Congratulations and ayekoo to all of us.