Outlet Spotlight - Siren: A Women in Sport Collective
We believe strongly that a supported, empowered and connected women's sports community can help continue to drive change beyond a mega event and that is really exciting
Siren: A Women in Sport Collective is challenging the ways that we perceive sports media and redefining the game for female and non-binary reporters. Siren is a collective of Australian women's sports advocates, content creators and fans who have banded together to create the not-for-profit with the aim of elevating female and other marginalised voices.
Siren was founded by a group of seven friends who had all been freelancing and volunteering in the sports media space. The group, wanting more from mainstream coverage of women in sports, realised they could make more of an impact on the industry together than they could individually. Thus, Siren: A Women In Sport Collective was born. The team had no idea where their journey would take them but they were hoping to draw attention to their own individual projects while gaining more opportunities for paid work. So the team began crowdfunding, selling their own merchandise and eventually facilitated partnerships that sustain their content creation and drive the conversation surrounding the value of women’s sports coverage. “Siren really became us wanting to start a collective approach to working in this space so we felt less isolated and work together to support ourselves and other women and non-binary folk in sports media,” says Dr Kasey Symons, co-founder of Siren and Research Fellow in the Sport Innovation Research Group at Swinburne University.
Siren has always focused on creating content that challenges the status quo of sports media. They do all they can at the level they operate at to support women in sports and in the sports media space. Siren will not publish any work that doesn’t come with a commission fee, believing that all writers, photographers and producers should be paid for their work, no matter what stage they are at in their careers. “We see ourselves as a place writers can come for career support, mentorship and training, portfolio building to help them get to the next thing. Siren is not a destination for content but is a space we can publish work that might not be considered on mainstream platforms. It is for women and non-binary writers that need to develop their CVs,” says Kasey. The team has also developed a partnership with ABC Sport that helps more writers get their work published by the national broadcaster.
The success of major women’s sporting events can give the impression that the change is distributed more or less evenly across the entire female sports space, but there are still major shortcomings. “I think it's important to have more women and gender-diverse people in newsrooms to add diversity to the coverage of sport. That’s valuable for highlighting different lived experiences, but it also provides us with different styles of storytelling to connect with more diverse audiences,” says Kasey. “We believe that our tailored approach to supporting the individual needs of women and non-binary folk in sports media and creating a strong and empowered community can drive change.”
Kasey points to the feedback that tells them their content is “outside of the box” compared to traditional sports media. “We've published creative fiction writing, stories on niche sports and recreation, interviews with sports academics,” says Kasey. “We always get responses like 'I didn't know sports writing could include fiction' or 'I wasn't brave enough to write an opinion piece about this, but seeing this essay published has helped me'.
Siren will be covering the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off across Australia and New Zealand in July and August of this year. “Events like these impact all the way down to the grassroots,” says Kasey. “It engages more fans, and helps us identify the trailblazers whose stories still need to be told.”