Improving Coverage of Women’s Sports

Charles Hitchew discusses what we can do to to improve coverage of women's sports going forward.

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The coverage of women’s sports in the U.S. has been shrinking recently as the budgets of news outlets are slashed. Women’s sports have been underreported for decades and continue to be so in the 21st-century. The launch of the WNBA and other professional leagues has had little impact on the coverage allowed by major news outlets. The Seattle Star Tribune has dedicated a reporter to coverage of the WNBA and believes there is a market for news coverage of women’s sports.

Coverage Needs to be Consistent

Nieman Reports explains that the coverage provided by the Seattle Star Tribune of the Seattle Lynx WNBA team has built a dedicated following. The news outlet ensures every game played by the Lynx is covered by its beat reporter, or reports are obtained from other sources. Allowing the budget of a sports department to include consistent coverage of a women’s team or tournament will ensure readers return for more information regularly.

When fans of a female player or team are unsure if their favorite will feature, they will not look for a small report from a news outlet. Instead, fans will look for a news source dedicating its time and resources to a female sports competition.

Look for Interesting Back Stories

Reporting on the latest results and games played by female athletes is a good way of bringing the latest information to fans. The enjoyment of understanding the motivations and life stories of athletes of any gender comes from learning about their back story. Many of the most impressive female athletes of history have not been properly recognized for their achievements. Highlighting the achievements of women in sports will bring new fans to the sector who are interested in understanding the motivations of female athletes.

Hire More Female Sports Reporters

There are several strategies to raise awareness of top female athletes, including the hiring of more female sports reporters. Female sports reporters and male allies for women’s sports are needed to drive up the number of stories published by the media. Encouraging the hiring of women on sports desks does little if male allies are not developed for female sports. Editors and sponsors intent on seeing the rise of female sports will signal a change in the way these sports are covered.

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