Sonja McLaughlan says social media abuse won’t stop her from asking tough questions | Rugby federation
Broadcaster Sonja McLaughlan said the abuse she faced on social media for asking tough questions after England’s Six Nations loss to Wales in February was made more serious because she is a woman. But she has vowed not to sweeten her field interviews when she returns to cover Eddie Jones’ side next month.
McLaughlan was left in tears by the vitriolic reaction she received after questioning England captain Owen Farrell about his team’s poor discipline and whether they should have been more turned on before a Josh Adams try during the the 40-24 defeat.
She promised that she wouldn’t be reduced to offering boring platitudes to players as a result. âAll of us in this business are victims of social media abuse,â she said. âBut it was just off the scale. Suddenly you’re all the rage on social media and you’re like, âWhat just happened? “
âAll I did was my job. And I just couldn’t figure out what my alleged crime had been.
âI don’t know if people have gotten so used to bland post-match interviews that when someone suddenly does their job, they’re a little shocked. I do not know. But I believe if a man had asked the same questions, the stigma probably wouldn’t have been so severe.
“Am I going to change? No. Because I’m old enough and ugly enough to take it.
McLaughlan, who will be part of the Amazon Prime squad that will live stream 17 fall internationals, said she worries her interview style will go out of fashion – with broadcasters increasingly content to play the security. âI can’t change because I’m wired to be a skilled broadcast reporter,â she said. âThis is who I am. That’s what I do. And I think that’s why Amazon asked me to get involved, because I take responsibility for my job in a certain way.
âI am curious about the sport. If you’re going to be doing pre-game or post-game interviews, well, let’s do them right. Do not broadcast platitudes. Because, what is it for? Alex sanderson [the Sale director of rugby] recently called me the smiling assassin. But that’s who I am and I try to do it to the best of my ability because I think it’s the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video chief executive Alex Green said he had been in discussions with Emma Raducanu about how best to spend the seven-figure sum the broadcaster received from Channel 4 to show the finale. from the US Open last month.
Green said Raducanu is particularly keen to see the money invested in young tennis players and that Amazon will release more details by the end of the year. âShe knows that she is a role model and that she can have a beneficial impact in the future, especially for young girls who are considering playing sports seriously,â he said.
âWe don’t want the money to go into a jar. We will stay in control and make a very conscious decision on what makes the most difference. “