Saturday, December 08, 2007

More coverage of women's sports: The follow-up

Last month, a Virginia sports editor wrote a column reflecting on the coverage of women's sports in her own newspaper and other local papers. This is Laura Clark's follow-up on that column. She interviews other editors and journalists, including Christine Brennan. What she heard from editors: more coverage goes to better-attended events; you have to give readers what they want.
What Christine Brennan said: "If we only covered what people wanted to see it would be nothing but football and NASCAR. [...] We are trained professionals, and we make decisions about what news is."
Specifically addressing the argument that more popular (well-attended) events get more coverage she said that a writer/editor who believes that is "abdicating their [sic] duty as a journalist."
Clark seems committed to adding more coverage of girls' and women's sports to her own sports page. She does not believe she has lost readers because of too much coverage of girls' sports and too little of boys'. She even has some anecdotal evidence of increased readership by parents of female athletes who turn to her paper for scores and coverage.

In a similar vein, a student journalist at Georgetown University asks whether the publicity provided to women's teams is really fair and equal. She cites a promotional email sent to the student body about Georgetown basketball in which 24 of the 25 paragraphs were about the men's team. [The writer also takes up a number of other issues around women's sports including derivative nicknames like Lady Vols and the decrease in the number of female coaches.]

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