Female Sports Journos Say Gender Report Card ‘Difficult to Stomach’

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By: E&P Staff

The study that gave an “F” to newspaper sports departments for their gender hiring practices is “jarring” — but depressingly accurate, the president of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) said Friday.

“It’s difficult to stomach, and yet, considering the percentage of women that the study determined are in sports departments, the poor grade is absolutely justified,” AWSM President Jenni Carlson said in a statement. “Sports departments need to be held accountable for the diversity of their staffs, and right now, the lack of gender diversity by in large is appalling.”

The study, commissioned by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), surveyed 378 member newspapers and Web sites.

It found that only among sports copy editors does the percentage of women rise above single digits. 94% of sports editors are male, as are 90% of assistant sports editors, and 94% of columnists. Sports copy editors are also overwhelmingly male, but by a somewhat smaller percentage, 84%.

The report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) assigned an “F” grade for gender hiring practices, and a “C” grade for hiring practices related to recruiting sports journalists of color.

Carlson, a columnist for The Oklahoman daily in Oklahoma City, added that the study underscores the need for an organization such as AWSM: “Since the beginning, we have existed to further the pursuits of women in sports media.”

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