‘Surviving’ as a female sports journalist


As a female, an avid sports lover and maybe a future journalist, lately, I’ve been discouraged. Sports and journalism are individually hard enough to break into, but when fellow journalists and media members do very little to accept female’s sports reporters as “one of their own,” it becomes almost impossible to succeed.

More so, when the media equates appearance with talent, it only hinders the opportunities for women in this field.

I read an article in Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago about Rachel Nichols, a former ESPN reporter turned CNN reporter and talk-show host. It discussed how Nichols has become an impactful sports journalist and how she transitioned to CNN. But since then, Nichols’ CNN show was cancelled, proving that it’s very hard for women to actually succeed in this industry.

Just weeks prior Nichols was praised on social media when she asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell more “aggressive questions.” She didn’t skirt around the issue like other reporters (male or female) did. Despite her approval from social media and fans all around, she didn’t garner enough “support” to maintain her CNN show.

Also, not counting TV personality Erin Andrews (because I think she is more of a personality than reporter anyway), how many other female sports journalists could you name? That just goes to show that while women may be succeeding in other journalism fields, sports is not yet one of them. Speaking of Erin Andrews, this football season is her first on the sidelines with the leading Fox Sports crew. She replaced long time veteran Pam Oliver who felt she was demoted because she wasn’t as “young or blonde” as Andrews.

Would this matter for a male reporter who may not be “the best looking”? Most likely not. It’s just that women are inherently judged by their appearance, and media entities assume that a good appearance = good ratings. But until fellow journalists and those media entities get into the 21st century and start not only accepting but promoting female sports reporters, we have a very tough road to success.