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Women in Sports Departments

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WriteThinking, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    At the risk of bringing up a politically incorrect topic, I'd like to open a discussion of women in sports departments.

    I've been thinking about this since NightOwl's run-in/thread, and since seeing, in the wake of that, many anecdotes in the "worst hires" thread about problems with women sports writers, and especially, managers.

    My hope is that this is not a topic that will implode, but that instead may actually be informative, interesting, and perhaps, eye-opening and helpful, to both men and women in the business.

    No specific names, please, unless they are mentioned in a positive, complimentary way, perhaps as people who should be emulated as role models for their positions.

    Some of the things I'm wondering and would love to hear about:

    Is there still a sense that women don't belong in sports departments, which, despite great progress diversifying, still have to be considered a male-dominated area?

    Are women editors/managers different -- in ways that are for better, and worse -- than male managers? If so, in what ways are such things evident?

    What are some of the positives that women add/contribute to the business, in terms of approaches, perspectives, or abilities?

    What are male colleagues' main complaints about their female co-workers as they relate to their on-the-job experiences? Conversely, is there anything in their work that male writers, editors and managers can appreciate in their women colleagues and subordinates when they see it?

    In short, how can women in sports journalism, particularly those in editing/management positions, be better? What do you wish they'd do? What do women wish they could do that maybe they can't, or that they find difficult to do in the business?
  2. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Oh yea, another beat up on women thread. Lovely.
  3. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    A woman was the SE in Roswell about two years before I got there. She was wildly popular and only left to start a family.
  4. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    I read somewhere their periods attract bears.
  5. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    I think people can reasonably talk about differences in genders without slipping into "beating up" on one side or the other (though I may be giving this board too much credit).

    That said, I would be interested in hearing the entire discussion from a woman's point of view. Do they view all male writers as having a similar set of flaws (as write seems to imply men find in women writers)?

    It's too easy to generalize based on gender. Too many people say an editor doesn't suck because the editor is power-hungry, lazy, ego-centric and a poor writer. They say the editor fails because of his/her gender/race/religion/whatever. I don't think personality traits are necessarily dependent on anything other than, well, someone's personality.
  6. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Well, I hope not. That's not what I intend, and I've tried to stipulate that, as much as possible.

    I'd like to discuss this topic as an area in which newsroom relations can be improved, for the good of all. And thankfully, I do think the possibility of that is there. I, for one, would like to learn from this.
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Generalize much? ::)

    Not sure what you're looking for here, in terms of answers. But I do know that if you want to define "women editors/managers" as a demographic category, as if they all magically share a certain trait or attitude or work experience ... you're not going to find much.

    Would you ask these questions about "men editors/managers"? What are "some of the positives they add/contribute to the business"? Just curious.
  8. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    The 'problem' begins and ends with people who see a woman in the sports department and think, 'hm, a woman in the sports department!' instead of seeing an individual in a job. It's embarrassingly lame and archaic.

    When a woman does a lousy job, it's not because she's a woman, it's because she's just doing a lousy job. Same as a man. Plenty of talented and untalented individuals in the business regardless of gender.

    Next, a good discussion on whether blacks can be good coaches and managers.
  9. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Hmm... where to begin...

    Why is it politically incorrect? Are sex, politics, religion and women in sports departments now the taboo topics for the dinner table?

    But how many anecdotes on that thread are about men? And why aren't we having a thread about men in sports departments, and all the downsides of that?

    And how many of those anecdotes are based on the premise of the double standard? You know, he's "assertive" and "a strong manager" while she's a "pushy bitch"?

    Have you just now discovered there are women in this business? Because I would think the most informative experience would be to have a female colleague or manager, not just hashing out tired stereotypes and generalizations on a message board.

    If you've done some research on the topic, you would know that the Association for Women in Sports Media has an annual Pioneer Award, dating back several years. I think those women would count as the role models.

    And here's where I have a problem with the language you've used in this post. Read on:

    Right off the bat you've couched your "innocent inquiries" in the language of the negative. Using the phrases "women don't belong" and "considered a male-dominated area" immediately invoke the real questions behind your questions: why are women here?

    Why not ask: What's the makeup of the sports department at your shop? What's the ratio of male to female? Why do you think that's the case?

    So far you've used "male" in opposition to "women" twice. Why not say "male" and "female" or "women" and "men"? You're establishing "male" as the clinical definition of "sportswriter" or "manager" and it makes me wonder if you're thinking of "women" as a half-step away from "lady."

    Again, with the language, why not just ask: Are female managers different? If so, how?

    You mean, how can they not act like bitches? Because, going back to the double standard above, if a female demonstrates leadership qualities that are traditionally male, she's a ball-busting bitch. But if she's a kinder, friendlier manager, then that's "female leadership" and it's "different."

    And again, you're assuming that women in sports are so vastly different from men that their positive contributions have to be noted separately. Most women I know "contribute" by writing and editing on the same topics as all their colleagues. Some do it well. Some don't. Just like men.

    This question is also couched in negative language by assuming that a woman's positive contributions need to be pointed out because she's a woman and not a good sports writer/editor.

    And AGAIN with the negative language. I've got complaints about all my colleagues, male and female, and rarely does it have to do with their gender. I've had horrible bosses, male and female. I've had wonderful bosses, male and female.

    By distinguishing the gender from the behavior, you're making it about gender. If a colleague has a problem with me or wants to praise me, I want it to be about my behavior, not about the fact that I'm a "female colleague." I think it's demeaning for any woman to be thought of as "doing a good job - for a girl."

    Also, "can appreciate" is pretty objectifying language, based on definition, but I don't think that was your intent, so I'll leave it alone.

    In short, no matter how innocently you try to couch your questions, this misogynistic shit still stinks.

    I pray that you are not a manager with female employees. You're the type of cancer this business - any business - does not need.
  10. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Preach on, sisters, preach on.
  11. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    DING. Ding. ding.
  12. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    I think Cadet wins.
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