“Just Go Out and Do It!” – Vet Sports Journalist Jane Bramley Urges Young Reporters to be Tenacious 

Breaking into the sports industry is something many women aspire to and in recent years that has become a wonderful reality for many. This means the industry is flourishing with women putting their best foot forward. A well-known trailblazer of women in sports media is none other than, Jane Bramley. All Photos: Supplied

Breaking into the sports industry is something many women aspire to and in recent years that has become a wonderful reality for many. This means the industry is flourishing with women putting their best foot forward. A well-known trailblazer of women in sports media is none other than, Jane Bramley. 

Bramley started in the hard news sphere but then took up a position within the sports side. She has worked on radio as well as print in her 30-year career in sports and knows just what it takes to succeed in what can be a very tough industry. 

The 78-year-old worked as a sports editor at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and was a writer for the South African Press Association (SAPA), covering all the major sports as well as tennis, hockey, and netball. She is currently retired but still does some writing. 

Bramley says the fact that women are a norm in the newsrooms as sports journalists is something wonderful. 

“I think it’s just fantastic, I listen to 702 and I listen to SAFM, and I hear women doing sports reports, and I just think it’s great!”

“When Janet (Whitton) and I started, we were the only ones. Now it’s not a thing, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female.”

With her three decades of experience in the industry, Bramley knows a fair amount about what a young journalist will need to be successful not just in the newsroom but in their career. 

And as South Africa celebrates Youth Month, Bramley believes that young journalists must be tenacious from the beginning if they want to be triumphant in the field of sports journalism. 

“I think my advice is to just go and do it. If you want to get into sports reporting and there doesn’t seem to be an opening … I had a friend who wanted to work at the SABC and what they started doing was phoning in the results of various matches, and gradually they worked until people took notice.”

“Just practice, and do reports. Report on a hockey match, a netball match, or whatever sport … It’s not going to just fall into your lap, you have to go out and look for it.”

“Also,” Braley cautions, “Get to know the sport you are talking about! Don’t think you are a know-it-all,” she added.

Reminiscing on her time as a new sports reporter Bramley explained how things were. Understandably it was a very male-dominated arena back then, but says she found that her male counterparts were rather helpful to her. 

“You had to work hard, and you had to know what you were talking about. You had to read and find out about the rules. You can’t just go there and blab.”

“When I was sports editor at the SABC I had a rugby writer who announced he was leaving to join the Springboks as their media liaison for the British and Irish Lions in 1997. He left that day and there I was without a rugby writer, and I had to do it. The male reporters (at the time) were fantastic, and I said: ‘I haven’t been covering the rugby, would you please help me, tell me who’s important, and what’s new.’ They were fantastic. If you ask for help, they’ll help.”

Bramley says from what the industry looks like now, it’s wonderful to see that women being part of the sports media is the norm and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

“They have become part of the industry, we just have to ensure that more and more young women are accepted into sports reporting. I am amazed at how many women are in sports reporting. The Netball World Cup was fabulous with its all-female crew. I think we can do it without people making special concessions, because we are good enough to do it. We are strong enough, we are good enough, and we know what we are talking about, and people are coming to realise that!” 

Bramley was inducted into the gsport Hall of Fame in 2021, and she says, at first, she couldn’t quite believe she was on the receiving end of such a prestigious accolade. However, in hindsight, she feels it spoke not only to the #PowerOfRecognition, but also to the fact that #SheOwnsHerSuccess. 

“Initially I was very surprised when Kass phoned me and said I was entered into the Hall of Fame, I am not a Penny Heyns or a Desiree Ellis… Then I thought about it, and I thought I was a trailblazer.”

“I have tried very hard all the time that I was working at the SABC to promote women’s sports. I was very honoured, but it only struck me afterward just how significant it was, initially I thought, ‘Well, that’s nice.’ Then, the more I thought about it, I realised I deserved it.”

It safe to say the insight that Bramley has provided might be just what a young journalist needs to read, to get a better understanding of what the industry is all about. 


Main Photo Caption: Breaking into the sports industry is something many women aspire to and in recent years that has become a wonderful reality for many. This means the industry is flourishing with women putting their best foot forward. A well-known trailblazer of women in sports media is none other than, Jane Bramley. All Photos: Supplied

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