Female sportcasters should get airtime based on merit

When I turn on the TV to watch a sporting event or a sports recap show, I want the anchors and reporters to be credible and understand what they are relaying over the air. In other words, tell me something I didn’t know or give me something to think about.

There is no question that the sports media industry is male-dominated. For several years, it seems women have been pushing harder to receive an equal opportunity to broadcast sports, which I applaud. The only problem is that some women are taking it out of bounds.

Unfortunately, it seems that the main argument of some such women is, “Hire me because I am a woman and not because I am good at what I do.”

The politically-correct person would come on this page and say, “There should be an equal number of women and men in sports media no matter what the circumstances.”

Granted, there are a lot of women in the sports media who seem to have an idea of what they are saying and talking about, such as Linda Cohn, Andrea Kremer and University of Miami alumna Suzy Kolber. Then there are those who set out to make themselves the stars of the show instead of the actual event.

One might think that this type of crap only happens in the real world, but interestingly enough it happens right here at UM.

I have been a part of UMTV’s SportsDesk for four semesters. The male to female ratio seems pretty high each Friday afternoon; but, nonetheless, they are an important part of the cast and crew.

Being an anchor is a precarious position for anybody. However, like the professional sports media, it seems that we are continuing the trend of putting unknowledgeable people on air to talk about sports. Unfortunately the ones who have the most trouble understanding are female.

Some people may find the above comment sexist and chauvinistic, but I assure you that it is not. This situation just happens to be the luck of the draw.

In past semesters on SportsDesk, I have met females who seem clueless about the sports world. One anchor admitted last year that she did not even watch sports but received the anchor position over many other applicants who probably knew more about sports than she did.

Wait. A person anchoring a sports show who does not watch sports? How does this make any sense?

In fairness, she may have had a good audition, but I would like to know if she had any idea of what she was talking about.

It doesn’t stop there. A recent female graduate even landed a job as a sports reporter somewhere up north. During one telecast she anchored, she mispronounced New Jersey Devils forward Brian Gionta’s name as “Gia-nada.”

Now either she could not read the name correctly or she had never heard the player’s name before. I am more willing to go with the second option.

The stereotypes will perpetuate about women sportscasters until something changes, and the only way to do that is to hire women who know about sports.

I want aspiring female sportscasters to have a passion for what they are doing, and that means knowing sports figures and pronouncing their names their correctly. They also should watch and follow a couple of sports as well to get a better idea of how they are played.

That way when they read “Brett Favre,” they will not fire back with, “Who is Brett Fav-ray?”

Ben Brislawn is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and criminology. He may be contacted at b.brislawn@umiami.edu.

April 28, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.