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Culture is everything. It makes a huge difference when you are working in an environment that is safe and you have support, the chance to make mistakes and time to grow.

Ashley Docking

Freelance Journalist, Reporter, Host, and Writer.

× The interview with Ashley Docking was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

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1You have worked with many prominent organizations and teams during your career, but it did not come easily. You have had to work hard to earn the opportunities to show what you can do. What is the most challenging thing about the grind of working in sports media? What makes that grind worth it?

Having patience.

It’s certainly not one of my virtues but it’s imperative to practice as you navigate your way to success.

That coupled with persistence and perseverance. Those traits are needed in any arena or profession, but particularly sports media in Canada where the landscape is relatively small, and opportunities limited (especially on-air).

You have to be willing to take on any work that comes your way early on and have to be willing to dedicate your time to become an authority on topics that you are covering.

It takes time and energy but it’s rewarding to continuously push yourself and be validated in the belief you have in yourself when you find success. 

2Being in sports media, how important is social media for you personally? Which social networks do you use most frequently, find hardest to navigate and use, and see changing the most?

Social media is a double-edged sword because it helps you connect with people and fans but if you’re not careful your content can be off-putting to networks or get you in trouble with teams or players.

My advice is don’t say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to their face and when in doubt play it conservatively.

If you have a moment on Twitter for example and you hesitate before hitting tweet, it’s probably best to just forget it.

I use Twitter and Instagram and am currently exploring TikTok to see how/if I can utilize it for my brand, but for me, each platform serves a different purpose and the audience varies so you just have to decide how much of yourself you’re willing to share.

3You became a host of the morning drive show “The Starting Line-up” and later “Leadoff” on the Sportsnet 590 The FAN. What does it mean to become a prominent voice in sports radio as a female figure in the industry?

It means everything to me to be a strong female voice among a gaggle of men in the sports media landscape in Toronto/Canada.

If we learned ANYTHING in 2020 it’s that perspective and diversity are imperative and objectively it’s not something that’s currently being satisfied in Canadian media, specifically on sports radio.

Adding to the conversation and looking at major sports moments through a different lens is something I’m proud to have brought to the airwaves.

4How important is culture to a thriving sport workplace, and what role do you play in trying to establish a strong culture?

Culture is everything.

It makes a huge difference when you are working in an environment that is safe and you have support, the chance to make mistakes and time to grow.

The best thing any individual can do is be collaborative with your colleagues, be upfront about your goals with your managers and also understand that sometimes there will be a reluctance to embrace change at places that have operated the same way for a long time.

5How do you go about establishing change in your organization? Tell us about the process of getting people to buy into change.

This is hard because management has a massive role in setting the corporate culture and that’s likely something that will be established once you get there, but if you’re trying to bring about change the best thing to do is lead by example.

Find your tribe within those walls that adhere to your same work ethic and standards, call out bullshit when you see it and hope those small actions will help set the tone and lead to new standards.

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