View Full Version : Fencing in the National Press?

Pointy stick
-17th November 2003, 22:16
I seldom read much in the sports pages, as 'sport' seems to be a posh word for 'football' these days. However, I glanced through today during a particularly long lunch break and I noticed stories about weight lifting, speedway and all manner of minority sports, and not a word about fencing. "Fair enough," you might say, as there has been no relevant fencing event in the last day or two (as far as I know), but the stories about other sports related to people retiring from competition, or changing their managers/coaches, or passing/failing drugs tests - in short, everything but how they were performing in their chosen sports.

So, has anyone ever seen anything at all in the National Press about fencing, except for the famous Russian fencer with a push button foil, donkey's years ago?

And if not, why not? Is this why we compare so unfavourably with other sports in terms of recruitment and international achievement?

-17th November 2003, 22:31
There is a link on the BFA website to a recent article in The Times on Dominique Stowell. The Times and Telegraph publish results of the Nationals, and I have seen a feature on travel insurance featuring Crystall Nicoll.

Perhaps a better question would be who has informed the press of our recent achievements - Senior Worlds, Junior Europeans, plus recent Junior A Grade results?

Boo Boo
-17th November 2003, 22:36

There have been other good things too (articles about Louise Bond-Williams etc.). But, yes, I would like to see a lot more...

The results (ok, top 2/4 for each weapon) from the nationals made a few mms of column space in the Times/Observer/Telegraph "results services". Occasionally results from some other opens make it too.

I assume that, in general, results are just sent in. I guess that the BFA would need to foster some special relationships to get more coverage... (I have no idea how easy/difficult it is to get descent coverage from National press)


Boo Boo
-17th November 2003, 22:40
Ooops, Doobarz, sorry - your post hadn't materialised before I posted mine (wasn't intentionally copying you... :( ).

I would definitely like to see more results published. Especially if the results are accompanied with a bit of narrative :)
(ooh, and maybe some photos... :) ).


-17th November 2003, 22:59
As far as reports from specific events goes, the most I can remember seeing is the results in the Telegraph that Boo Boo mentioned.

I don't know how the sports sections work but would it be worth while submitting press releases from the major competitions? Hey, forget just the major competitions, why not send in press releases from all competitions? I doubt most of the sports editors would know one from the other, and so what does it matter if they ignore the Essex open but give an inch or two to the Bedford mixed epee? :grin:

NB, I have nothing against the Bedford mixed epee. Fine comeptition - I won the plate the first year it ran. :)

-18th November 2003, 08:36
Theres a fair few adverts with fencing in now. The Andie McDowall specsavers advert, theres a new one in Maxim for some swiss watch with a fencer knitting with two foils. (Spot the 3 obvious errors in that picture!)

So there is definitely interest out there, its just about making the sport more easily accessable really.

-18th November 2003, 10:29
The amount of press coverage is pathetic. I made a point of looking in the broadsheets when the world championships were on - only the Telegraph had anything, and that was half a centimetre in the 'results' columns. S*d all in the other papers.

For all that the FIE go on about transparent masks to make the sport televisually friendly, i think they're living in fantasy land. If they can't even manage to get decent newspaper coverage, what chance do they have with TV????

Does the BFA actually have a press officer or some such thing? They bloody well should.

-18th November 2003, 12:02
Dear All,

Graham Morrison is our volunteer press officer who contacts national and local press. Local press is much easier.

I agree we need more coverage but they tend to want winners.

We tend to get feature articles rather than regular slots.

We appealed on the BFA web page for regioanl pres volubteers and so now some regions have them and some do not.


Boo Boo
-18th November 2003, 14:18
We have reasonable (normally very good) coverage in the local press - although it tends to be done on a club by club basis, rather than as a region.

I definitely agree that the press/general public likes to read about winners. Did Laurence and Richard get much press coverage for their excellent Junior European wins/results in previous years? I don't remember seeing anything, but it doesn't mean that it wasn't there (I am not an avid reader of national newspapers... :( )?

I was surprised that the Commonwealth didn't get more coverage - I know that a few results made it to the papers, but that was about it. I appreciate that the Commonwealth Fencing is not a hugely important/difficult competition in fencing terms (i.e compared with World Cups, European and World Championships - which are in a completely different league), but "Commonwealth" Competitions still tend to be of quite a lot of interest to the general public. Perhaps surprisingly, most non-fencers seem to consider them as more important/interesting than the World Championships/Cups (although, obviously, less interesting than the Olympics). I thought that it was a shame not to get more publicity from this - it could have combined quite nicely with all of the Bond publicity that was flying around at the same time (that was great publicity - beginners courses in my area have been pretty much over-subscribed ever since... :) ).

Certainly the feature articles have been great: Dominique recently, Louise B-W a few years back and some others that I remember (some journalist doing a beginners course at LTFC...). Has there ever been a feature article about James Williams - that article about him in the Sword recently was a great read: would be nice to see a version of that in the National Press. Could make a good "striving for Olympic qualification human interest type story"...

I guess that it would also be nice to see more regular articles and results in the papers. Maybe I am biased, but fencing can be a beautifully photogenic sport - its a shame that Graham doesn't include more of his photos in the press releases. If press releases after competitions includes some photos, narrative and some results, that would be amazing (although, I suppose, the problem is getting the papers to publish it...).

I guess that I probably get a bit sad when the "school boys junior lacrosse league" tends to get more results published and column space than the British Fencing Championships (which is not an exaggeration of what happened...) :(

(probably rambling on far too much... :) )

-18th November 2003, 17:48
Originally posted by Keith.A.Smith

I agree we need more coverage but they tend to want winners.

Er? Tim Henman? I seem to remember him getting quite a lot of coverage even when he was still pretty lowly, internationally speaking. What's the difference?

-19th November 2003, 06:44
Locally the press is quite good if pushed by clubs. The recent Battling Islands Junior Series event had press in N.Irelands 3 major papers, Sunday Life, Belfast Telegraph and Irelands saturday Night. as well as a regional paper. This was because we decided to arrange dinner with a sports reporter from UTV and have nurtured the contact. Indeed we hope to have tv coverage in January locally even if for a couple of minutes. It can be done but ground work and relations need to be developed and maintained.
Ideed the Carrick Castle event had coverage on UTV and BBC NI for 4mins and 2 mins respectively.
So get out there and wine and dine a few people. They love kids in sport stories!
Nationally we're working on it!