domingo, 2 de dezembro de 2012

She likes it and she shows it on the Web

[article written during Council of Europe's Media Against Racism in Sport encounter, from 21st to 24th of November in Bordeaux]
There’s a sport-news website based on the South West of France whose articles are only about amateur football. Its new editor-in-chief is Marie-Laure Julian, but she doesn’t consider herself like a professional journalist. Everything that is too official or commercial lacks freedom and diversity, she believes.

She wants to bring to light what other media usually keep on the shadows. «We try to write about football exactly as it is and about the way football is experienced by everybody. Our goal is to avoid any discrimination.» For example, «I never saw a profound interview with a football referee on TV. So we are going to do it with a feminine referee because other media don’t do it and also because it’s a woman.» 

She is 32 years old and she was born in Libourne, a rural village near Bordeaux. She still lives there and she works as commercial assistant. Recently Marie-Laure Julian became the new editor-in-chief of a sport-news website called Foot33. The website is an amateur journalistic project and all the articles are about local amateur football. «In my region there are only four or five women writing about football», she believes.

Marie-Laure Julian is a warm and talkative person and she tells us her story at the end of a day-work. The encounter is appointed to the public stadium Robert Boulin, where she is to meet Bruno Brancher, trainer of reserve team Libourne football club.

Her passion for football started very early, when she was 13. «I practised it but I was not really a champion. I told myself I was better at watching and on writing about it. I like writing very much and this is a way of joining two of my passions », she explains. 

Foot33 editor-in-chief began as sports writer in 1998 at Le Résistant, a Libourne newspaper. She was still a student then. The sports-website only appeared in her life in 2010 and the coordination task is as recent as September 2012.

«At the beginning I wanted to be a professional journalist but now I think that being a local sports writer is OK for me because I can choose my own angle.»

The fact she is a woman in a men’s world it was somehow difficult, but only in her professional beginning. «When men see a woman arriving they think that she doesn’t know anything about football: I have to show them that I have credibility», Marie-Laure Julian says. «Now I’m known to one and all on the fields of my region.»

Foot33 has a team of five journalists, all of them amateur, who get paid for the work they do. This is one of several websites from the French company Foot En Go, founded in 2007 by Denis Dupont, Stéphane Gonzales, Dominique Casagrande, former FC Nantes goal-keeper, later joined by Eric Carrière. They felt that amateur sport was lacking visibility in the mainstream media. Now, official numbers are about 3.000 daily page-views.
Paul-Michaël Borgne
Bruno Horta