Monday, September 24, 2007

AWSM stands for all sportswriters

The Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) issued a press release calling Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy to task for attacking columnist Jenni Carlson in a press conference. Gundy was unhappy with a column she wrote about a quarterback who has been sidelined. In a media conference call, Carlson challenged assertions he made in his public tirade. Gundy's poor behavior has likely driven many more eyeballs to Carlson's column, and the AWSM release is spot on in saying that his personal attack on Carlson is disrespectful to all journalists.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What do women sportswriters have in common with Donovan McNabb?

Dana Pennett O'Neil's column earlier this week related her own experience as a female sportswriter to that expressed by Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb on Real Sports. The outside-the-establishment status shared by women in sports journalism and black men in certain positions in sports provides a common experience, as O'Neil points out. Although certainly accepted in the sports establishment, women and minorities still are not fully accepted as belonging there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Big-time prep sports: The price of coverage

Robert Andrew Powell's call for a boycott of big-time high school football in Slate magazine should be a must-read for anyone who hasn't thought critically about the implications of putting the national media spotlight on high school sports. Sure, it's cheap programming in comparison to the pricetag for airing college and pro games. High school sports also represent the purest of sports values to many Americans. But adding ESPN to the mix is a sure guarantee that any hope of retaining those values will disappear as quickly as cheap beer at a fraternity party.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Changing the job for sports beat reporters

Robert Weintraub, sports media critic for Slate, argues in the latest CJR (Play (Hard) Ball!) that sports beat writers should be willing to abandon their traditional role as objective scribe and compete more effectively for sports fans who want opinion-laden commentary. Although I like where he is headed, I am not so sure that his solution solves the problem he introduces in the beginning of his piece -- the increasing marginalization of the sports beat writer by teams, leagues, players and even fans.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Blame it on the timing?

Christine Brennan's column in USA Today charges FIFA with doing a disservice to women's soccer by scheduling it at a very busy time on the sports calendar -- with the start of men's pro and college football in the U.S. and pro soccer around the globe. Brennan writes passionately about what she sees as FIFA's lack of respect for women's sports, and she blames the timing for the fact that US media are all but ignoring the women's world cup. She writes, "Competing for space in the newspaper and airtime on TV this month is just not an issue."
In the U.S., coverage of men's football is at saturation levels. (USA Today, for instance, ran football in two sections yesterday), Is it fair to blame the timing when journalists make their priorities for coverage and decide to run multiple stories on men's football and none on soccer or WNBA basketball? (One wonders if that isn't like blaming the victim of a robbery because he or she left a door unlocked.)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Women's sports coverage: Journalists who've made it happen

The always-entertaining-and-insightful Women's Hoops Blog blasts the NYT for its failure to cover the US Women's World Cup (with a reference to George Vecsey's recent column about the dearth of coverage). But that isn't as interesting as the story it tells about the difference journalists can make when they are committed to covering women's sports.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

'Rush to Injustice': No 20-20 hindsight here

I just read a book by Duke alumnus Nader Baydoun, "A Rush to Injustice." Unfortunately, however, Baydoun's book reads more like a breathless, inflammatory tirade than a thoughtful study of what went wrong in the Duke case. His tendency toward hyperbole and his failure to adequately address some facts in the case undercuts his credibility. For instance, he claims that the three Duke players accused in the case are themselves still victims of a gang rape that "to date, hasn't ended," although the three have been exonerated. He also fails to adequately explore/explain the infamous "cut their skin off..." e-mail by a team member, and Finnerty's misdemeanor assault charges aren't mentioned (Finnerty is instead described as having "a gentle demeanor").
Perhaps the most misguided assertions, however, are those Baydoun makes to charge reverse racism. He compares (seriously!) allegations from the lacrosse team party to those made about a later party that did not involve athletes but instead involved rape allegations that were made by a white female student against a black man who is not a student. No athletes are involved. Does anyone think these cases are comparable?