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|—||From Five Questions with AWSM founder Kristin Huckshorn on why they started the AWSM, and why they began the annual convention. http://awsmonline.org/five-questions-with-awsm-founder-kristin-huckshorn/|
Women in Sports Journalism (by sportstvjobsdotcom)
Senior women in the business of sports, who learned the game from men, then re-learned to play with women, offer a unique perspective on gender in business.
During the 1977 World Series, Sports Illustrated reporter Melissa Ludtke was denied access to the playersâ locker room. After a very public fight, the door was opened, but the debate about female journalists in the male sanctum of the clubhouse remained. Through interviews with pioneering female sports writers, Let Them Wear Towels captures the raw behavior, humorous retaliation, angry lawsuits and remarkable resolve that went into the struggle for equal access for women reporters.
You cannot be a woman in sports media and say ‘sex’ instead of ‘success’ during a live report from a hockey game. Period.
Susannah Collins learned that this week after her employment with the Comcast Sportsnet in Chicago was terminated.
One blogger’s response was to go so far as to say she shouldn’t have been fired in the first place.
“She is a pretty girl who got a break and is now paying the price.” Creepy statement, if you ask me. ‘Paying the price’? Why don’t we just wag our finger at her and ground her. Pretty girl! You learned your lesson, huh?
“The blame is on Comcast for hiring someone with no experience, or hardly any.” Isn’t that how people build resumes? Is Susannah Collins the first reporter in the history of reporting to get a golden opportunity? No. Comcast, in hiring her, did not reinvent and obliterate sports journalism.
“While Sports Nutz and their segment Douche Bag Nation became very popular, it did not prepare Collins for the bright lights, big crowds, intense deadlines of live Chicago sports television.” We’ll require more proof of this accusatory statement. How does he know she wasn’t prepared for her deadlines? And, you’re using this ONE example, THIS ONE MOMENT, to declare her unfit for live television? You must be joking. Interesting that a piece arguing for better journalism, provides baseless accusations, and calls them facts.
“What Comcast did was the sports equivalent of bringing a high school pitcher to pitch in the majors based on the fact that he is the nephew of a former major leaguer.” I hate sports analogies. But I’m not sure I understand this, and usually they’re understandable, even when they are completely over-exaggerated. What is the context for a pro team bringing in a nephew of a famous athlete to pitch in a major league game? How can we even connect those dots? That feels a lot like those grade-school math word-problems, and, God, I hated those. Susannah Collins delivering words about a sports team, in a post-game report, isn’t the same as…that.
Continuing. “Collins should be sent back to the minors.” ….I’m going to walk away now.
The bottom line is this. Let’s call a spade a spade. She’s being crucified for her looks. If some old journalisty dude with 37 years of experience slipped up that way, no one questions whether he’s qualified for his job. When Erin Andrews recently made a small error on Twitter, the social media outlet blew itself up immediately, with ‘See! She really doesn’t know ANYTHING!’, tweets. Because they already think that. And any human error will be used against her.
We get it. Pretty women that get hired to deliver sports news have to prove they aren’t stupid whores. As opposed to, you know, just prove they can do a good job, work hard, and build a career. Collins gave the people with built-in sexist thinking exactly what they wanted.
The hangup about women in sports media reveals itself every time in these situations. It’s always the same.
She made a mistake. It shouldn’t be the end of her career, if she doesn’t want it to be. This is a tough business, and those challenges are part of what every girl that comes into this industry must face.
And if networks are going to keep hiring women that they like and believe in, and think the audience will like, they cannot bail on her so quickly. That was a cop-out.
Collins may not have been some seasoned vet in the sports industry, but she shouldn’t be discarded because people are too chicken to admit that, while they like a girl they find attractive to talk sports on TV, they don’t really think she knows a damn thing.
Ok, this one just drops in our laps and it’s almost too obvious to address.
It’s too easy to brush off, laugh at, and toss in the garbage.
Which is exactly where I’ll toss it, right after this…
First, the Canadian sports broadcaster was, at the very (very) least, honest. Many players, coaches, and people in sports don’t treat women as equals, and dance around it, or find sneaky ways of expressing that. Or they make their comments away from cameras. Cherry could’ve done that. But he chose to say ‘I don’t believe women are equal.’ In front of a camera. There’s something almost gutsy about that.
His belief is that women are ”on a pedestal” and that’s why they shouldn’t be in such a dirty atmosphere as a locker room, where men walk around naked (which, by the way, always gives sports fans the wrong idea about a locker room). Sounds nice. Because I don’t think we do necessarily belong in there. But that goes for all reporters, male or female. It’s not where we should be, because it’s odd and it’s private, and, yes, athletes are in various states of undress.
So, fine, Don Cherry thinks women are precious and deserve to be in far better surroundings. (Can I raise my hand and AGAIN add, it’s not so bad in there?) But it’s why he responded that is the major issue. He was asked about a seemingly sexist remark by Chicago Blackhawks Duncan Keith to a female radio reporter. He was explaining why he understood Keith’s acidy remark to her, in response to a fair question about that night’s performance.
Cherry made his mistake using the incident to blame women for why these incidents happen in the first place. If you walk in the locker room, you’re asking for it ladies.
Whatever his beliefs about women, beliefs that seem to come from a traditionalist view of our place in the world, they don’t have a place in the professional world. Sports, as a profession, has evolved and many battles have been fought and won. Including equal access, which is, simply, a means for us all to do our jobs, go home, and get paid.
We have a right to do our work and not be called out for it. Let’s also call out the attempt to hide behind a compliment, when making a clear-cut sexist remark.
What emerges from these controversies, always, is how much things have actually changed. People were angry, amused, and offended.
Cherry won’t be reprimanded for those comments.
He’ll get away with it. And we’ll continue to be equal.
Carry on as you were, girls.
The Clearwater Threshers radio booth has a new number two.
Kirsten Harbach will join the team, alongside Threshers voice Ben Gelman, announced via Twitter Saturday night. (credit goes to Tampa Yankees broadcaster Nicholas Flammia).
Kirsten has been the University of South Florida sports radio coordinator since 2010.
You can read her work here: http://bullsradio.org/index.php/sports/itemlist/user/107-kirstenkarbach.html
You can also follow her on Twitter @Kirsten_Harbach.