Women in Media and Sports

My Frustration with Media Coverage of Women’s Sports

Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

Right off the bat, I’m going to admit that I’m angry and tired, and I’m trying to work my way through solutions but I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this piece.

It’s Women’s History Month, so along with sincere education attempts and legitimate appreciation, there is also a lot of pandering going on. You may have already read about the Gender Pay Gap Bot on Twitter calling out companies that are saluting women while paying them significantly less.

As a sporty woman, and the mom to a sporty girl, one thing that’s important to me is representation in sports. (I believe representation of all people matter and there is certainly a lot of work to be done for non-binary, trans, and other LGBTQ+ persons. If you read on, you’ll see my point is not just about women.)

Most days I browse the Washington Post front page online and a few months ago I started getting annoyed that of all the sports headlines they highlight, so few of them are about people other than men. High school, college, and professional sports stories all center around male athletes, with a brief uptick in women’s stories around the Olympics and other significant special events. And I can’t say this for certain, but it seems like a significant number of those stories appear when a woman is harmed or is being criticized rather than celebrated for an achievement.

The Sports Bra. We support women.

I was reading this article in the Washington Post about The Sports Bra, a sports bar that aims to only show women’s sports on their televisions. “The tagline? ‘We support women.’”

The story reminded me of my annoyance at WaPo’s sports headlines and I did a quick scan. On March 10 at the time of morning I was reading and in my location, there was a shoutout for their own crossword created by women for Women’s History Month (which I’ve noticed several times this month) and the Sports Bra article under their “Don’t Miss” heading, and that was it for front-page women’s sports coverage. Note that the WNBA and the women’s NCAA tournaments are heating up just as much as their male counterparts are right now. (Today, March 11, the only women’s sports headline on the online front page was “The low-profile, high-powered race to free WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russian custody” under “More Top Stories.”)

I think it’s no longer enough to call out the media and ask them for more coverage. I think we have to make the stories ourselves. So with that in mind I’m going to regularly start posting jobs in the sports industry from the newsletters I receive. I don’t know if this will be weekly or what. But if you’re looking for a job, or for ways to change the narrative, I hope this is helpful. I’m also going to commit to writing my own stories on Medium and pitching more to other publications.

Some of these opportunities will be for writing, some won’t. Some of the writing jobs are seeking experiences specifically from POC and LGBTQ+ writers.

(Jobs are in various locations throughout the world, although mostly in the United States, and have different pay scales. I cannot personally vouch for any employer but I try to seek out places that look legit and offer payment, rather than exposure, for work .)

We are writers, let’s write!

FanSided is looking for specific stories on sports and climate change:

From their pitching guidelines: “We are looking for stories about the world of sports both on and off the field and are very interested in stories from voices that are historically underrepresented in sports media — women, POC, LGBT+, etc.”

Daily Dot is collaborating with ESPN to explore the intersection of internet culture, sports, and race:

The Loadout, a gaming and esports publication, is looking for feature writers:

Health.com is accepting pitches on a variety of topics:

We are not writers, but are great at other stuff!

From Climbing Business Journal, rock climbing gyms around the United States are hiring a variety of positions — and you don’t have to be a climber. Jobs include marketing and sales, gym management, and yoga and fitness instructors.

REI is hiring at many locations around the United States:

Geographic Expeditions is hiring a head of marketing to work in their San Francisco office or remotely:

Share your sports stories and job listings in the comments! I want to read them and share them.

The questions Kathleen Strickland asks here have been on my mind lately:

Thank you for reading and I appreciate your support. I am not part of the Medium payment scheme. If you like my work please consider leaving me at tip or checking out my novel on Amazon. I recommend books at Bookshop.org (affiliate link).

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