The sky is the limit as News Corp’s Indigenous Sport Month returns for round two

Indigenous Sport Month

• National deputy sports editor, Tim Morrissey, on what the campaign looks like this year

News Corp Australia has launched its second annual Indigenous Sport Month, which sees platforms across the entire company come together to highlight and celebrate Indigenous Australian participation and excellence in sport.

Mediaweek spoke to national deputy sports editor, Tim Morrissey, about what they learned from the first Indigenous Sport Month and what the campaign looks like this year.

After launching Indigenous Sport Month last year, Morrissey says that the response was immensely positive.

“We were overwhelmed by the response that we got from Indigenous Sport Month. We got a lot of engagement from different sports asking how they can get involved or wanting to explore Indigenous issues or their Reconciliation Action Plans with us, which was really good. The feedback we got from a lot of Indigenous athletes was really positive, I think it was it was really well received.

“This year, we’ve got a real focus towards pathways and just how important having Indigenous pathways through sport or education is for the next generation of athletes.”

News Corp Australia

The company-wide collaboration brings together Fox Sports, Kayo,, The Australian, state-based mastheads, and more. Pulling together a campaign like this is no small feat, and Morrissey says that last year highlighted the ability of all the branches of News Corp to come together for a cause.

We learned is just how engaged News Corp is as a company in Indigenous Sport Month. It’s not just the sports pages that are involved: Body+Soul are actively involved this year, Stellar is involved, KidsNews are going to support it as well. It’s really encouraging the way that a company like News Corp can pull together and really get behind Indigenous Sport Month.”

2022 is bringing a number of highlighted sports to Indigenous Sport Month, and with the focus on pathways, News Corp will also be looking at what the future holds.

“We work with the NRL and the AFL, they’re the two biggest sports in the country,” says Morrissey. “They had their Indigenous rounds, which we support and help promote, so that works really well with Indigenous Sport Month. We work closely with those two codes and their Indigenous athletes. 

This year we are looking at what basketball is doing off the back of Patty Mills. He’s launched his Indigenous Basketball Australia, he led the Boomers to a bronze medal in Tokyo, and Basketball Australia is working on Indigenous pathways as well. 

Patty Mills

“We’re looking at working with netball. In the past there hasn’t been very much Indigenous representation at the elite level in netball, there’s only been a handful of players play for the Diamonds. We’re having a bit of a deep dive into the issues and what’s happening. There are also some really positive stories coming out of netball, the junior level has seen a big increase in Indigenous players making state representation.”

This year, Morrissey says Indigenous Sport Month will also be highlighting those who came before as they look to the future.

“We’re also looking at Indigenous sporting firsts. In print, it’ll be a panel that appears in the paper most days, highlighting some Indigenous sporting firsts – for example, Mark Ella being the first Indigenous player to captain the Wallabies. So we’re going back through the ages for this, just to increase awareness around how active Indigenous athletes have been in Australian sport.”

The editorial campaign will put a strong focus on the next generation of Indigenous sport stars, and will include the stories of ambassadors including Ash Barty and Greg Inglis.

“We launched on Sunday with a column from Ash Barty, which we’re really excited about. She’s talking about the power of great storytelling and the stories of Cathy Freeman and Evonne Goolagong Cawley and how they inspired her and helped her on her pathway to becoming one of the all-time greats.

Ash Barty

Ash Barty

“We have Greg Inglis – former Rabbitoh, Queensland Maroon, Australian Kangaroos star – he’s doing a column for us. He’s working in the mental health space for Indigenous youth through his Goanna Academy, so we’re working closely with him on raising awareness around mental health issues.

Getting those sorts of stories out there and having some of the Indigenous athletes tell their story in their own words is really important.”

For the second year, News Corp has commissioned Balarinji, an Indigenous-owned strategy and design agency to create an Indigenous Sport Month logo.

“The logo is still using the original artwork,” says Morrissey. “We’ve changed the colours a little bit – more green and gold, which represents Australia – and there’s a slight modification that talks to pathways. It’s evolving, like the way that we’re evolving with how we’re covering Indigenous Sport Month. We don’t want to repeat it every year, we want to keep it engaging and fresh.”

Ultimately, Morrissey hopes that the campaign will have an impact long after the month officially ends.

“I hope that we keep raising awareness, that we celebrate Indigenous athletes and their sporting feats, and that we educate people around some of the issues that Indigenous Australians are still facing. I also hope we can inspire the next generation – not just Indigenous athletes, but young athletes right across Australia, from all walks of life.”

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