2007 August Woman in Media: Nazli Thomas

Nazli Thomas got her big break when she visited the Star Newspaper as part of the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Campaign. 
The last three years have been magical for Nazli Thomas and she admits she is having the time of her life.
This spunky 20-year-old from Eldorado Park is living her dream of being a sports journalist, something that happened earlier than she had expected.
During her matric year, Nazli visited the Star newspaper as part of CellC’s Take A Girl Child to Work initiative, shadowing well-known journalist, Jermaine Craig for the day. Sports editor David Legge was so taken by her; he offered her vacation work.
Two months before her matric exam, she was offered a job at the Star sports desk. She’s been with the Star since December 2004 and is enjoying learning the tricks of the trade from those who know.
As we celebrate Women’s Month, Nazli also urges Corporate South Africa and the media to show their support for women’s sport.
Away from work, this sports fanatic enjoys modern and hip hop dancing. Introducing gsport’s August Women in Media, Nazli Thomas

How/When did you get involved in sports journalism?

It was always my dream to become a sports journalist and I planned to study at Rhodes University once I had matriculated. In my matric year, however, I spent the day at The Star newspaper as part of the ‘Take a girl child to work day’ initiative, and shadowed Jermaine Craig for the day.
I fell in love with the place and I must have made a good impression because the sports editor, David Legge, invited me back during my June holidays and two months before my matric exam, he offered me a job. I started there in December 2004 – before I even had my results!
What did you do before that?
I was a learner at Silver Oaks Secondary in Eldorado Park.
What are your current career projects?
I am a writer, sub-editor and occasional layout sub for The Star newspaper in Johannesburg. I am also looking at exploring other forms of media, and have a few projects in the pipeline (I’m not telling yet)!
Where does your love for sport come from?

My parents. Both my parents are sports fanatics and I practically grew up on the cricket grounds. They both coached boys in our area and I eventually became the only girl in the group.
I also played golf with my father from a young age. Sport has been a part of my life since I can remember and I made sure that never changed.
Nazli Thomas got her big break when she visited the Star Newspaper as part of the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Campaign.What have been some of your career highlights to date?
My career has been very different from most journalists, as you can imagine, and because of this, everyday is a highlight. I learn something about the industry or people everyday and I love that.
Whether I am in the office or on a press truck, it’s a highlight. The Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2005 will always be special to me, however, because it was my first real assignment.
What is the best live sports event you’ve covered?
The few cricket matches I have covered stand out because it was a taste of what I want to be doing full-time some day.
What are your favourite sports to report on?
It has to be hockey. There’s lots of excitement and the players and coaching staff are great to work with.
Who are your favourite sports stars?
Venus and Serena Williams, Michael Phelps, Shaun Pollock, Yelena Isinbayeva, Carolina Kluft, Natalie du Toit and Phil Mickelson.
How do you keep fit?
I dance.  I love all forms of dancing, but modern and hip-hop dancing is my favourite.
How can we improve the state of women’s sport in South Africa?
Corporate South Africa has to come to the party and do their bit. An injection of cash and resources will see it take off in South Africa. People aren’t seeing enough of women’s sport in this country and they won’t support something they know little about.
As members of the media, it is also our job to take women’s sport to the people, and they will eventually come to the sport.
What is the best part of your job?
That it’s so much fun! I get paid to do what I love doing and one couldn’t ask for more from a job.
What challenges do you face as a woman in sports journalism?
It took a while before I was taken seriously and that was very frustrating for me. I had to convince people that I knew what I talking about and that I wasn’t taking chances. It never goes away, though, and I seem to find myself up against it every now and then.
What is the best career advice you’ve been given?
‘Sit down next to me, if you want to learn your trade’. Gregory Danielson, a senior revise sub in my office, told me this a few months after I started at The Star and I took his advice. Almost three years later, I still go and sit next him and learning never ends.
gsport’s theme for August is SUPPORT. Who supports you in your career?
I have a great support system both at home and at work. Everything I know about journalism, I learnt from my colleagues, and my sisters are my pillars of strength away from the office.
Which sports journalists do you look up to?
There are a few journalists who continue to inspire me everyday. Rodney Hartman, Liryn de Jager, Kass Naidoo, Zeena Isaacs and Kevin McCallum (don’t tell him haha!) are just a few on the list.


Who are your role models?
Tough one. I look up to a lot of people, but I have decided to live my life my way. I admire what some have done, but I have my own path to follow. I have my own strengths, weaknesses, flaws and dreams etc.
What advice do you have for women who would like to break into sports journalism?
Do it, but go and study first. Earning your stripes is even harder when you don’t have that qualification.
gsport strives to celebrate femininity. How would you define femininity?
It’s not what you look like, but what you exude. Its strength coupled with a softer side and knowing which side is needed in which situation.
What is the best thing about being a woman?
The boobs! hahaha…
What will you be celebrating this Women’s Month?
Sisterhood. I love my sisters to bits and I’ll be spending some time away with them this month.
What would you like to be doing in 2010?
I would like to be involved in some way so I can be a part of that piece of history. If I’m not involved I’d like, however, to still be reporting on other sports so as to ensure they don’t get lost in the World Cup fever.
Greatest ambition?
I would like to own my own sports publication or PR agency one day. I have loads of experience to gain before I can get there, though.
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gsport Newsroom

Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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