Knowing media law is vital, even as a sports journalist

A profile photo of undergraduate student Martha Kelner.
Martha Kelner
Sport Correspondent, Sky News
Journalism Studies BA
2011
A specialist reporter on issues and investigations in sport, Martha has worked for the Mail, the Guardian and Sky News since studying journalism at Sheffield.

I’m the sport correspondent for Sky News, which involves covering the whole spectrum of sport for a general news audience. Over the past year I have reported from Argentina on the death of footballer Emiliano Sala, from France for the women’s World Cup and Spain for the Champions League final. I specialise in investigations and issues within sport, such as doping, corruption and the ongoing debate around transgender women participating in elite sport.

I was previously Chief Sport Reporter for The Guardian and began my career on the Mail trainee scheme in 2011, writing for both the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday. I was named Sport Journalist of the Year at the Press Awards in 2017 and won Scoop of the Year at the Sports Journalists Association awards.


Over the past year I have reported from Argentina on the death of footballer Emiliano Sala, from France for the women’s World Cup and Spain for the Champions League final. I specialise in investigations and issues within sport, such as doping, corruption and the ongoing debate around transgender women participating in elite sport

Martha Kelner

Journalism Studies BA


I think the practical elements of the course were the most useful for me. Being allocated a patch of the city to cover allowed me to experience real reporting for the first time, building up a contacts base and learning to recognise good news stories.

I still find having a working knowledge of media law helps on a week-to-week basis because although the lawyers are on hand it is useful to have a good grasp on the legal implications of what you are writing. Even in sport you can often be asked to cover court cases (in recent years this has included the Ched Evans case, Eva Carneiro v Chelsea, Hillsborough and Ben Stokes’ trial for affray) so having experience of court reporting is invaluable.

In the final year for my print portfolio I did a piece on the remaining survivors of the Holocaust and visited a few of them at the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in Nottingham. Getting my teeth stuck into a subject is something I enjoy doing now but don’t often get as much time to do so as I did at Sheffield.

Image: student working; Text: Futures. Sheffield Made.

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