Jon HolmesJon Holmes, 38, is Home Page Editor at Sky Sports Digital. He lives in west London with his boyfriend Chris.
Tell us about your job
Sky Sports is Europe’s biggest commercial sports digital publisher – my role is to curate all the content across our key destination pages on web, apps and our Sky Q set-top boxes, and lead our team of sub-editors. I also co-ordinate content for our support for the Rainbow Laces campaign, which promotes LGBT inclusion in sport. Sky Sports is among a group of brands, businesses and organisations called TeamPride that helps to amplify the campaign, which is run by the LGBT charity Stonewall. In late 2017, away from the day job, I set up a group called Sports Media LGBT+, which is a network for LGBT people across our side of the industry, and allies. It’s been great getting it off the ground, and getting more involved with InterMedia as a result.
I studied Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University – football was my passion, and I was Sports Editor on our student paper. A website called TEAMtalk based in Leeds gave me my first job and in 2007, Sky Sports acquired the business so I started to work across both websites. After a few years, I moved onto SkySports.com full-time as a football journalist, before taking my current role and moving down to London to work at Sky’s Osterley HQ in 2014.
How do you spend a typical day?
The nature of sport means I work shifts – usually I’m in early at about 7am, or I’m working late until around 11pm. I also work weekends, so no day is too typical! It’s a fast-paced environment, handling breaking sports news, managing different types of digital content, sending push notifications, sub-editing and more. On the LGBT side of things, I write and produce feature interviews and related content that supports the inclusion message behind Rainbow Laces, and I’m often engaged in wider conversations around diversity initiatives in the media and sport too.
My most memorable work moment…
I was fortunate to have the opportunity last year to work with a professional football referee called Ryan Atkin, who wanted to add his voice to the wider conversation around LGBT inclusion in sport. In telling Ryan’s story, he became the first ref in the men’s pro game to come out as gay, which has significantly helped in moving football forwards on this part of the diversity picture. The FA, the Premier League and the world of refereeing were all so supportive, and Ryan has since become an important advocate. It was hugely rewarding for myself and Sky Sports to play a part in providing him with that platform to make a difference.
The best part of my job
For anyone involved in sport – even if you work or compete as an individual – you get a lot of excitement and satisfaction from the live event itself, and in the teamwork that goes into producing it. I’m lucky to be part of a business that’s passionate about both sport and digital media, and prides itself on producing the very best every day. I also see the progress being made in terms of LGBT people feeling more confident to ‘be themselves’ in sporting environments, and performing better through that authenticity.
The worst part of my job…
The combination of the shift pattern, the quantity of content and the need to be always ‘on it’ (breaking news and live sport requires 100% commitment) means you do get a bit exhausted at times. Often it seems there’s just not enough hours in the day to hit all your targets!
If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
I’m now through 15 years (and a bit) of my working life, and it’s incredible how much Britain has changed. When I was younger, I couldn’t see an older version of myself in sports journalism – I naturally tried to conform and fit in, thinking that was the way I’d get on in my career. On reflection, I only began to achieve anything when I was confident enough to be myself. It’s such an important lesson for anyone in the workplace, that authenticity breeds success, but particularly true for LGBT people.
Either/Or…and please explain why!
- Coffee or tea? Skinny latte! – Hard to start the day without one.
- Jam or marmalade? Jam – And definitely raspberry, preferably on a scone.
- Madonna or Brittney? 80s Madge – Showing my age…
- Mac or PC? PC – Just what I’m more familiar with.
- The Guardian or The Times? Both great sports sections, but overall – The Guardian. I guess it’s a political thing.
- BBC or ITV? Auntie Beeb… I guess they have more sport!
- M&S or Waitrose? Marks & Sparks
- Morning or night? Working shifts means that sometimes it all feels a bit the same! London is all about the nightlife though, right?
- Adidas or Nike? Adidas, due to current trainers of choice.
- Sweet or savoury? I have a sweet tooth, alas…!
Favourites…and please explain why!
- App: Twitter. I’m a news junkie.
- TV show: The Daily Show. It’s series-linked for when I wake up.
- Band: It changes but currently, an Aussie band called Cub Sport. Love ‘Bats’.
- Song: I’ve always adored ‘Smalltown Boy’ (is that a cliché?!)
- Book: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It’s so beautifully crafted and I love the language.
- Sports team: Plymouth Argyle – I’m a Devon boy.
- Thing to do on a Friday night: : Theatre or cinema. Culture vulture stuff.
- Place to eat: Franco Manca pizza! The best mozzarella.
- Holiday spot: Algarve. Home from home for many summer hols.
- Piece of advice you’ve been given: “If you want to see the difference, you’ve got to be the difference.” Visibility is the key on LGBT inclusion…