Hana Gebresilassie is an Ethiopian sports journalist with 10 years of experience and is an athletics commentator at SuperSport. She is the managing director and media relations adviser at Ahadu Media and Communications Partnership.
Gebresilassie has described her experience of being a woman working in a male-dominated industry as “expected to prove that we are capable of writing and presenting sports stories. I remember those times when I had to work double or more than my male colleagues to convince my editors as well as the audience”.
1.) How and why did you become a sports journalist? How long have you been a sports journalist?
It’s been about 10 years since I started my sports journalism career. Even though I began my career as an entertainment journalist, the passion and desire I had for sports in general, and football and athletics in particular, is what I really want to work on. Therefore, it drove me to specialise in sports and I did. It was in an internal vacancy at the Ethiopian radio and television authority that I moved from an entertainment programme reporter to a sportscaster.
2.) How has your experience been being a woman working in a male-dominated industry?
It was interesting and very challenging at the same time. Unlike men, we women are expected to prove that we are capable of writing and presenting sports stories. I remember those times when I had to work double or more as my male colleagues to convince my editors as well as the audience. As time went by and when few people started to take me seriously, things became a little easier. On the other hand, there are some generous male colleagues who are there to help and empower women in any way possible and I am glad to work with such gentlemen at an early age in my career.
3.) You tweet regularly about sports events, results, and competitions. Is that an important aspect of being a sports journalist – constantly engaging with people online?
Yes, I usually tweet about local and international sports, competitions and personalities. Twitter gives me a chance to build my network in the industry, and also get up-to-date information and news. It is where we can share breaking news, opinions and insights directly to the readers. Unlike the traditional media platforms I have worked at (radio and TV), Twitter is the most interactive medium where I can reach out from great athletes to fans.
4.) What was the most memorable sporting event that you covered?
There are a number of sports events that are nostalgic for me. But if I have to choose among the most memorable ones, I will go for the 2017 World Athletics Championships held in London and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where I had my athletics commentary (voiceover) debut at SuperSport.
5.) How have things changed since you first started working in this industry?
Despite the profession being a male-dominated industry, recent years have shown a notable increase in the number of female reporters and people are also taking women seriously. But still, a lot needs to be done in recognising and respecting women sportscasters.
6.) What advice would you give to aspiring sports journalists?
It is possible to be the greatest sports journalist, not just a journalist, as long as you work hard to meet your dream. But the journey isn’t easy and smooth. Reporters need to make sure that stories are accurate & balanced and this will make them one of the more reliable sources. They also need to have good knowledge about sports, be good researchers, and tirelessly learn through their journey in order to climb up to the top of their favourite profession.
7.) Plans for the future in terms of your career?
I want to be one of the good sports analysts in Ethiopia and a great sports media advisor. In addition, I want to establish a fully dedicated sports media.
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