Q&A with… Lynne Wachira

Country: Kenya

Profession: Journalist

Lynne Wachira is an enthusiastic Multi-media Sports Journalist with BBC Africa. She has a deep knowledge of African and global sports, with a focus on Track and Field, road running and mountain running – which has earned her a number of athletics coverage awards. She has had the privilege to interact with and interview global athletics stars, and cover global athletics events including the World Athletics Championships, World Cross-country Championships, Commonwealth Games and Continental Championships.

What can event organizers do to increase media coverage of their events?

Most importantly they should be accessible to the media. I always find myself focusing on covering events where I can easily get my hands on information, pre, during, and post the event.

What is your most memorable interview or interaction with an athlete? 

Woooooow! This is such a tough question when you have interviewed and interacted with dozens of Track & Field stars. I will pick 2-time World Marathon Champion Abel Kirui due to his charisma and willingness to give you even more than you are looking for. Then the amazing Caster Semenya who I have interviewed twice, she is graceful and completely elegant.

Should traditional media still be used in sport or should there be a complete shift to digital and OTT media? 

It depends on where one is answering this question from. If you are in Africa like me, then traditional media’s relevance remains intact, data is expensive and internet connectivity is only perfect in Africa’s major cities.

The younger generation may be more inclined towards digital media, but there is still a huge part of the population that depends on traditional media for its sports fix.

What is the media doing to address the gender bias in athletics media coverage? 

It’s unbelievable that we are even having this conversation in 2020, women have over the years proven they are competitive, they are breaking records and putting in the work. There is however notable conscious efforts by a section of the media and it feels like what we are dealing with now is mostly unconscious bias and second-generation gender bias.

What contributes to the lack of female journalists and commentators in sports?

It is important to recognize a rise in number of female journalists, I am rarely the only female journalist at a sports event these days, but the numbers are still low measured against male journalists. A lot of female journalists drop out along the way, sometimes they have to take a back seat and fit into family set up gender roles. Women also get passed by for opportunities because there is still the notion that men are better and more knowledgeable in sports matters. I wish you knew how hard female sports journalists have to work to be “rated”.

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