The Press Box

This article is from the 8th edition of The Cynical, our free online magazine.

 

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Imagine working in Costa Coffee. A customer walks in and asks for a latte. But all you have at your disposal is a jar of Douwe Egberts and a kettle. What do you do?

Well, the way I see it, you have two options. You either get up, walk out and quit your job, or you accept the limitations imposed on you, add lots of milk to the dried beans and boiling water and dream of a coffee machine.

This is the way I feel when I go to my work, but I’m not employed as a barista by UK’s leading coffee chain. I’m a sports journalist. Working mostly for the Daily Record and the Sun, last season I started doing match reports on my local team St. Mirren and this season I’ll be covering the club regularly. But unlike my fellow reporters, I don’t sit in a press box. Instead, I watch all the action from a wheelchair platform.

It’s not by choice, as I’d much rather sit among my colleagues in the areas dedicated for us to do our job, but it’s simply inaccessible to anyone using a wheelchair. The press room at Simple Digital Arena dedicated for post-match quotes is accessible for me, and it’s important to note that St. Mirren’s ground is in no way unique in having an inaccessible press box. To my knowledge, no other SPFL stadium has the infrastructure for me to sit among fellow reporters. As a result, I’ve never covered a match outside Paisley.

Not being able to sit in the press box has several consequences for my work; at the dedicated wheelchair platform area there is no way for me to charge my laptop or connect it to the wi-fi. It means I have to keep notes and match reports on my phone, which is obviously much smaller and more difficult to work on. The working environment is also dramatically different; sitting together with other reporters in the press area allows you to discuss match events, get and give advice, make contacts, and more generally feel like a part of a group.

I would never walk out of my job – it’s an incredible buzz covering matches, talking to players and managers and watching football for a living. Personally I know only one other football journalist in a wheelchair. Funnily enough we’ve never discussed press boxes, but I’ve yet to find an accessible one in Scotland.

It’s something I think need to change. Journalism, like everything else, has changed so much over the last couple of decades through so many technological developments. This has opened the possibilities for many more disabled people, like myself, to do the job. Having full access to your place of work is a crucial next step and will help make Scottish football journalism a lot more open and accessible to all.

 

This article is from the 8th edition of The Cynical, our free online magazine.

 

DOWNLOAD THE CYNICAL HERE:

EPUB FORMAT  (great for iBooks and other e-readers)

PDF FORMAT


About

Kyle is young freelance sports journalist and columnist, currently living in Johnstone. Mostly writing for The Daily Record, The Scottish Sun and The Renfrewshire Gazette.


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