There Are Some Good Men Out There

Being in the sports media business as a female can be hard, especially when you hear stories about sexual harassment, discrimination, prejudice and all that. It can certainly make things hard and maybe even defer some from pursuing careers in this area.

However, I think its important to note that there are good people in the business as well who genuinely do care about their co-workers and want to help them, regardless of gender.

Kristi Dosh,  is “a professional writer, speaker, sports business analyst, content marketer, attorney and author” according to her biography on her website. She wrote a post recently titled “My Experience Being A Woman in The Male-Dominated Sports Media Industry” talking about some influential, male, co-workers that really took the time to help her out throughout her career.

Picture from kristidosh.com

She talks particularly about Tim Brando, a national television and radio host. Brando was one of the first people Dosh met when she first started out and they hit it off ever since.

Dosh notes that Brando has been a huge influence in her career and was even a big part of her latest book, “Saturday Millionaires”. I personally think that it’s great to see someone talking positively about their experiences in this industry as a female.

Now, talking about the bad is also important because its things that we as a society need to bring attention too. But not everything has to be grim and grey! Dosh’ post was very refreshing and really reminded me of the time that i’ve spent working with our Athletic Department at Pace.

Though mainly dominated by males, from day 1 I was welcomed and treated so nicely by everyone there! I learned a lot during my time there and it really helped me get a clearer picture of what I want to do after graduation (though that’s still up in the air). I’ve particularly had one person who really helped me out a lot! He became a mentor to me and has really been so great in just being there for me, helping me out with any questions, providing me with advice and always willing to lend a helping hand and a friendly smile! My experience wouldn’t have been the same without him!

And its great to know that there are people out there that we females can trust and form strong working relationships with, as they become not just mentors and co-workers but also friends. So I really encourage others to take a page from Dosh’s book and post about their positive experiences as women in the sports media world.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that talking about the positives is just as important as talking about the negatives?

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ACC And WLAX- Doing It Right

As I scrolled through the channels yesterday looking for something to watch I stumbled upon a Syracuse vs Duke Women’s Lacrosse game on the YES Network. It was the semi-finals with the winner advancing to the Championship Finals against North Carolina.

All three teams play in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference), and the game was being broadcasted on regional networks across the country.

#6 seeded Syracuse defeated #2 seeded Duke University during the Semi-Finals on Saturday, April 25th, 2015. (Picture from the ACC Twitter account)

Why am I bringing this up? I think its great that this day and age sports fans can go on TV and they can watch pretty much any sporting even they want. Luckily that does include women’s sports.

While I have talked quite a bit about women’s sports not being as popular or not getting as much attention as it should be, there is an audience out there and I felt like it would be good to point that out.

It was also great to see not only a female reporter on the sidelines talking with the athletes after the game. There was also a female commentator up on the booth, a former lacrosse player.

And that seems to be the usual combo from female college sports games I’ve seen on ESPN or other sports networks. So I just thought it would be cool to comment on this. The Championship game will be today at 1pm on ESPN3.

So if you ever find yourself surfing the TV channels, there might just be a female sports game on that you might want to check out.

“I Could Swear Like A Sailor And You’d Still Think I’m Pretty”

Britt McHenry, a reporter for ESPN, was just suspended for a week for going off on a towing company employee. (Read about it here)

Now these things happen. Sometimes people get themselves in bad situations and lose their temper. But when you are in the public eye, you need to be more careful. McHenry failed to keep her cool, even after being told she was being recorded at towing company’s headquarters. Because of her actions, McHenry got suspended and is now facing backlash from the media as well as viewers.

Tons of people have taken to social media in order to express their discontent with McHenry, some people even taking it a little too far and really saying some nasty things.

One of the things I found interesting though is how some of the commenters (a lot of them seem to be male I might add) are putting McHenry’s beauty into question; calling her ugly, unattractive, an ugly person.

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These are just some of the comments I saw, and as we can see some of them focus on McHenry’s beauty. Now I can understand someone questioning McHenry’s beauty in the sense of the kind of person that she is or appears to be. But taking this situation and simply commenting on whether or not she’s hot? That’s not how this should work.

The video clearly shows how disrespectful McHenry was to the employee, but instead people just go on to the message boards to say they don’t think the person she’s good looking. This is just one example that shows how females in the sports media world are treated and how often times employers make the mistake of basing everything off your looks.

It’s a sad reality but its something that female sports journalists face!

Reading Response #8: Storyboard Making

For our Reading Response #8 we have been tasked with creating a storyboard for our group blog. The storyboard is meant to showcase a video idea for our group blog which will visually represent what the blog is about.

Our group blog- peopleofpleasantville – is focused on exploring the town of Pleasantville, NY and the people and businesses that are a part of it. My group members and I will be visiting different businesses in town each week and talking to the owners and customers, getting their stories and really digging into what makes them as a person, which in turn is what makes the business.

For my storyboard video I thought a simple video with some music in the background which really showcased some of the different businesses and people of pleasantville would be a very eloquent way to represent the blog.

Here is my storyboard below:

NatStoryBoard

My storyboard consists of 10 frames, but it can certainly be expanded, there are plenty of great businesses and people in Pleasantville. But its meant to be a montage of sorts, no spoken words, just some words in the beginning and end of the video. The rest will be pictures and clips of the different people and businesses.

The opening frame will read “Pleasantville” which will then fade away and say “you walk the streets each day; you see many different faces… but do you ever wonder about their names? their stories?”

Once that text fades away, the montage of pictures and clips of the different people and businesses will appear. Then at the end the frame will fade to black once again and will say “Learn their stories at peopleofpleasantville.wordpress.com”

And that’s it. It’s very simple and very clean, but its meant to really showcase the different business and people that make up Pleasantville and its meant to connect with the audience in an emotional way by showing them how they walk these streets every day, but they don’t necessarily know the people or the history of the town. But now they can!

1st Female NFL Referee: Great For The League, But Is There Double Intention?

I had just sat down at my desk after spending about five hours stuffing plastic eggs with all kinds of chocolates and jelly beans for a Easter Egg Hunt event at my internship, and I hear one of my co-workers say how the NFL has just hired a female referee, the first one in its history.

So I head on over to the internet and check out what’s going on. I go on Twitter, I go on Sports Illustrated, and I go on Bleacher Report, looking for reaction from fans and professionals while also looking for articles on the topic. And then I meet Sarah Thomas, the first game official for the NFL.

Sarah Thomas will become the first full-time female game official in the NFL for the 2015 season. (Photo from USATSI)

The news broke at around 10 am on Fri. April 3rd, and it created quite a lot of buzz around social media. Looking around to see what people were saying, most people seemed to have a pretty positive reaction, and although I didn’t see any, I am pretty sure there were those few ignorant people who tore the decision to shreds.

Unfortunately however, one of the first thoughts that popped into my head was “Is the NFL really looking to make some progressive changes or are they doing this because of the black-eye they’ve received from the public due to how they handled the Ray Rice situation?”

(The situation with Ray Rice was that after the NFL found out that Rice had punched his then girlfriend inside an elevator, knocking her out cold, Rice’s only punishment initially was a two game suspension, which happened to be less than the four game suspension players receive for using drugs or steroids. The NFL only took further action after a video of Rice punching his then girlfriend was leaked by TMZ, causing public outrage.)

I find it somewhat unfortunate that my first thought has to be so pessimistic, especially since I think its great news that the NFL is finally hiring a female game official to work full-time throughout the season. But as has been mentioned in previous posts on this blog, its a little hard not to feel a little pessimistic, especially given what’s been going on with the NFL these last few months.

But you can’t help but wonder right? After all even with all this controversy that the NFL has faced because of this, football still remains the #1 sport in America, and that’s not going to change easily.

But there is no doubt that it’s certainly taken some hard hits because of their mistake and surely part of the reason that they are hiring Thomas has to do trying to slowly repair their image.

Here are some tweets I found though, showing that there are others out there sharing similar sentiments.

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The tweet from twitter user AB_Syed especially pretty much sums up what I first thought about, but in a “wittier” form. Given the circumstances, you can’t help but feel like this is a PR move to try and get some of the public back on the NFL’s side. There has been some positive reactions as well from people, but the reality is hiring one female to be a game official isn’t, or at least shouldn’t, put the NFL in the clear.

The NFL especially has to start making smarter decisions when handling these kinds of situations. And this doesn’t just go to the NFL, this applies to all leagues, the whole world of sports media.

We need to continue to work towards the day when a female official will be hired for the NFL or MLB or the NBA or even the NHL, and it won’t be a big deal. And it won’t be because the league needs a good PR move. It will simply be because its the right thing to do.

What are your thoughts on Sarah Thomas’ hiring? Do you think the NFL has a double agenda going on? Feel free to leave comments below.

“MMMM Whatcha’ Saaaay?” That I Can’t Write What I Want?

As I came home from my internship today, I was pleased to find my weekly issue of Sports Illustrated waiting for me on the counter. (And no its not the swimsuit Sports Illustrated issue, its the actual sports issue).

Normally I tend to put my Sports Illustrated copy in the corner of the bottom of my bookshelf, as I tell myself that I just don’t have time to read it now. But today I got my dinner, sat down at the counter, and opened up the magazine to read a few articles.

Looking at the first couple of pages, I found a quick interview by Maggie Gray with Miami Heat team executive Alonzo Mourning. Gray talked with Mourning about different topics pertaining to Mourning, but it was also serving the purpose of promoting Gray’s online video blog “SI NOW“.

And this got me thinking, is there any sort of restriction in terms of article topics for female sports journalists? The reason I started to think about this is because of the fact that Gray’s full interview is not shown in the magazine. Now granted, it is from a video and Sports Illustrated clearly wants readers to actually go to the site and check it out, but do they the same thing for their male writers?
How come these the other writers in Sports Illustrated, mainly male, are the ones writing these really long and intricate stories but the female writers aren’t?

There was another article from Sports Illustrated writer Jamie Lisanti titled “Home Stretch: Kevin Love’s yoga helps him on and off the court”.

This article was just a page long and once again it got me thinking “Did Lisanti want to write this article? Or was it pushed on her by her editors because no one else wanted it or perhaps they thought it would be appropriate for her.”

After all, talking to a basketball player about how yoga really helps with their training doesn’t seem like something most male reporters would really jump at during pitches. Maybe Lisanti did want to write this story, and hey if thats the case then thats great!

But part of me can’t help but be a little skeptical. After all already I open up this issue, and I see two female writers but they only got a page each. Meanwhile the rest of the magazine has a ton of really good, in-depth articles from male writers. But why can’t the female writers also get some in-depth pieces in there? Give them some meat!

This might sound somewhat ridiculous, but the truth is with so little women involved in the sports media world, and so many stories from female reporters about the challenges they face, the sexism and prejudice they deal with, you can’t blame a girl for thinking this.

I searched around the internet to try and find different female sports writers and compare what topics they seem to write about compared to their male co-workers, and for the most part it seems like female sports writers, particularly those in higher up positions, do have a pretty wide range of topics they cover.

Johnette Howard, writer for ESPNNewYork, is a good example of this. After several years in the industry, she’s worked her way to a pretty significant role with the site. As seen from the link, she covers a pretty much all sports and has  a diverse topic set.

Another example would be from the writers at EPSNW, all accomplished female writers who cover some serious issues in the world of sports, particularly dealing with women.

And I know from my own experience as Sports Editor for the Pace Chronicle I’ve really had no limitations when it comes to topics I can write about, as long as they relate to the Pace community of course.

So there might be an issue here, and there might not. I do know however that the women that are already involved in the sports journalism world should be getting opportunities to write better stories, just like their male co-workers. They have just as much of a right as any of them, and they have the talent. It’s not just about having more females in the industry, it’s also about the kind of work that the female writers do.

Some like those working for ESPN seem to have that privilege, but every female sports journalist should be able to tackle on any subject they desire. They should be able to write what they want.

Power of Media Can Help Dutee Chand

To start off, lets get a little background information on who Dutee Chand is.

Chand is a 19-year-old athlete from India, who was recently disqualified from competing in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last July, due to a medical test having had determined that Chand’s level of testosterone was higher than the normal level allowed by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) (read more about it here and here)

(Photo taken by Graham Crouch for the New York Times)

Chand is being discriminated against because of her hyperandrogenism and that certainly isn’t right. This whole situation begins to enter into the topic of how sports deal with different gender situations. Chand is being discriminated against and not being allowed to compete because of the fact that who she is doesn’t fit the standard ideals of what it means to be “a woman”.

In a age where people are fighting for equal representation for people with different sexual orientations and different genders, its important for us as a society to recognize this in all areas, including sports.

This situation going on with Chand is a great opportunity for those in sports media, especially women, to be advocates for Chand and anyone else who might find themselves in similar situations.

Bringing media attention to this is the first step as it will help bring buzz and get people informed about what is going on. If the media doesn’t continue to seek out stories like these and write about them, it will be difficult to try and inspire change.

Change.org started a peition to help out Chand (which you can sign if interested) and it just shows the power that media can have on society.

It can spark change that can lead to such much more, and whether its this situation with Chand or anything else, women in sports media and media personnel in general, can really help spark some change.

But its important for women to stick together.

Chand’s appeal process is currently underway at the Court for Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Speaking Out On Domestic Violence

More and more domestic violence issues in the sports world seem to be coming up after the Ray Rice situation from last year. Most recently in February NASCAR driver Kurt Busch received his punishment from the league within an hour of the court ruling, stating that Busch had committed domestic violence against his girl friend.

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch was suspended by the league after committing domestic violence against his girl friend. (Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 3.0)

An article   for the Bloombergview  discussed how NASCAR, and the other leagues in the sports world that aren’t as popular as the NFL, have used the Ray Rice situation as the poster child for how not to handle domestic violence situations.

Davidson mentions how there are numerous cases within these leagues of domestic abuse that never even see the light of media; they never get attention from the media and thus slip quietly behind closed doors.

But what I really have an issue with this whole thing is the fact that the different leagues don’t seem to do anything in terms of punishment when it comes to domestic violence cases. The only reason the NFL took full charge when it came to punishing Ray Rice for his actions was because the video got out to the media and the public became outraged with the whole situation.

A post from gothicginobili mentions how 10 NBA players were charged with domestic violence in 2014 and none of them got any kind of punishment from the leagues.

So I ask, why are the leagues just letting this slip past them? Why aren’t they punishing their players and trying to make a stand?

To me it seems like the leagues just don’t seem to really think its their responsibility to handle these types of issues. As long as the players are producing and making money and entertaining the audience then why should they care?

But the truth is they should care because domestic violence is a very serious issue and it needs to have attention put on it always! That’s where the media comes in. We’ve started to see it a bit with the whole Ray Rice situation as its been talked about more and more. The CBS Sports talk show “We Need To Talk” also had its panelists address the issue in one of their episodes.

But it seems that once these big media issues slow down it doesn’t really get talked about as much anymore. The media has the power to really influence what audience’s see and think, thus they have the power to influence the leagues.

Whether male or female, sports media members should be looking to take a stand together to address these issues. They should be investigating any and all domestic violence instances with players and they should be discussing it with the leagues, asking why the leagues aren’t doing anything about it.

The truth is the leagues should put it upon themselves to do everything they can to try and end domestic violence, but if they won’t its up to the media to sway their decisions.

Bringing light to the issue will help create a wave for change!

Women Coaches: Gotta Give Them A Chance

Just last month I was at the last Pace basketball game of the season, where the Setters took on Le Moyne College, and I started to pay a bit more attention at the opposing team’s coaching staff as well as the referees that were handling both the men’s team and the women’s team.

I noticed that the referees for the women’s game were two males and one female, but when the men’s game started it was an all male referee team. I looked over at the women’s team’s coaching staff and I noticed that there was one male coach and the rest were female.

I then decided to think back to all the other games I had attended this past season and started to think about the female and male coaches and referees I would see. One thing was for certain- for the most part the coaching staff for the women’s team’s was usually all female, but there were one or two teams with a male coach on the staff.

The referees for the women’s games were usually female, but again there were some males as well. But then looking at the men’s games, there was never a female coach on the men’s team and there was never a female referee during the men’s game.

This really struck me as somewhat odd but then again it didn’t realize surprise me. But then I started thinking, why is that if men can coach women’s sporting teams, why can’t women coach men’s sporting teams?

The answer is they can. So why aren’t we seeing more female coaches coaching men’s teams or really just coaching sporting teams period.

Well there seems to be some different reasons for this. In doing a little research I found this really good video from the huffingpost. Its a little over 17 minutes so definitely give it a view!

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/why-arent-there-any/5065d5672b8c2a45a6000102

The video has a panel of four females who have had success in the sports world and they discuss just why there aren’t that many female coaches.

Megan Greenwell, senior editor for ESPN Magazine, talked about how she believes that a big part of the issue has to do with, wait for it, Title IX.

In her article “Title IX was great for female athletes. And terrible for female coaches.” Greenwell explains that the creation of female sporting teams opened new opportunities for coaches, but those spots were primarily given to the men who would apply for them.

This ended up limiting the amount of job openings for women in the industry. The women continued to give good points as to why this is the situation, with some of them sharing their own coaching experiences.

But really it comes down to one thing: sexism. As said by Professor Janet Fink of the University of Massachusetts in the Huffington Post video panel, sports seems to be the one thing in America that still allows sexism to be acceptable.

People will make the argument that women can’t have a career and be mothers, that they aren’t tough or know the sport well enough to be able to coach. But this is all sexism.

You don’t see anyone talking about male coaches not being able to be with their families as much, but when its a women the question of kids and family automatically pops up.

This is all because of the patriarchal nature of sports, and this deeply rooted idea that men are the ones who deal with sports and business, women are the ones that need to stay home and watch the family.

Another argument which was touched on in the Huffington Post panel was that women aren’t tough enough to be coaches; that they are too caring and nurturing to be coaches.

But the industry doesn’t give women coaches a fair chance and equal opportunities for jobs, regardless or whether it be men’s or women’s teams, then how will the industry advance?

Professor Janet Fink also noted that the sports industry seems to be the only one in America were sexism is actually allowed. You don’t see much coverage from the media on these issues because it seems to be more accepted.

But when the Lakers had the issue with their racist owner Donald Sterling or when Jason Collins became the first openly gay-player in the NBA, that was all over sports media.

So why is it that this issue of sexism in the sports industry isn’t being addressed as much? It seems that it really needs to be an individual situation in order to really take fruition.

But at least lately things have started to go into the right direction. In August 2014 former WNBA star Becky Hammon became the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA, having been hired by the San Antonio Spurs.

Becky Hammon during her press conference with the San Antonio Spurs. (Source: AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani, ESPN.com)

Thus far things have been going well, with the New York Post having posted an article on Hammon just two days ago. Hammon has become a role model for many females, as she has broken her own glass barrier for her career.

Hammon is the first, in what will hopefully be many more women entering various sports leagues as coaches. Because the truth is its 2015, not the 1940s. Women are just as capable of being coaches as men, and its time to get more equal opportunities in the industry.

Breaking Ground In The Industry

Being a senior in college graduating in May time to be looking around for possible jobs to apply for has come. I’ve started to look around knowing that I want to work in the sports world. Where exactly? Well I’m not sure yet.
As a sports marketing major and minor in journalism I would like to incorporate both areas during my career, and with marketing and communications becoming more and more of a combo, doesn’t seem like it will be hard to do.
But as a female wanting to work in the sports world, I started to wonder how exactly does one break in? I’ve been fortunate enough to become the Sports Editor for our school newspaper, the Pace Chronicle- check it out here.
I’ve been lucky with my internship experience as well, but when it comes to the real life world and getting a full time job, what’s it going to be like for us females who want to get into this business?
I found a website called SPJ.org (Society of Professional Journalists) and in it I found this article “Getting Women In The Game”.
It talks a little about the disparity between women and men in the sports journalism world, how despite the fact that Title IX has given women the chance to play the sports they love for the last 40 years, and the fact that more and more women are actively following professional sports, there still aren’t as many women involved in the sports journalism field.
Here is a statistical excerpt from the article.

“The latest Associated Press Sports Editors Racial and Gender Report Card, which looked at 150 newspapers and websites, came out in 2013. The research revealed that 90 percent of sports editors were male, and most were white; 88 percent of sports reporters were men; 90 percent of sports columnists were men. And ESPN has hired many women over the years, which skewed the statistics. Without ESPN in the mix, the numbers would be even worse.”

These can be a little daunting for young females looking to get into this industry, but at the same time its not really something we didn’t know about going in to it.

Its going to be an uphill battle and its not going to be easy to fight for space in this industry. Not having as many women in this field can make it harder to get in to it, but it also creates a network of people to reach out too who have shared similar experiences.

It creates a bond that can’t really be replicated because women in sports journalism have to stick together in order to succeed.

If you have a story to share please sound off below, would love to hear from other students and professionals regarding their thoughts.