Women’s Sports Coverage Still Requires a Journalistic Standard

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This Dec. 15, 2017, photo provided by ESPN Images shows Doris Burke before an NBA basketball game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia. Basketball has been part of Doris Burke’s life for as long as she can remember. And it’s not going away anytime soon. Burke and ESPN announced Monday, June 4, 2018, they have agreed on a multi-year contract extension, one that will see her retaining her role as a full-time NBA game analyst as well as a reporter for the conference finals and NBA Finals. (Allen Kee/Courtesy: ESPN Images via AP)

It’s no secret that women’s sports are not covered as heavily as men’s. There are less accessible stats for women’s league’s and less quality air times for women’s games. However, another trend I have started noticing lately is more low quality journalism about women’s sports, especially professional basketball.

Now don’t get me wrong[Symbol]there are some writers and journalists out there who are absolutely phenomenal at their jobs such as Michelle Voepel or Doug Feinberg to name a few. These journalists work really hard to write stories that matter and to help make women’s sports more accessible to people who might not necessarily tune in.

One of the podcasts I listen to is called Around the Rim. It is an ESPNW podcast centered around women’s basketball and is hosted by analyst and former college hooper LaChina Robinson. The podcast is great because it talks solely about sports I care about, but it brings nothing new to the table journalistically and very often refuses to look into or even defend the more uncomfortable aspects of the sport.

For example, after UConn women’s basketball defeated Notre Dame earlier this season, the podcast aired old audio it had obtained earlier in the season from an interview with Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw and analyzed what Notre Dame’s loss would do to the top 25 poll. While these two aspects of the podcast are important, the show barely touched upon the drama of the game which was Arike Ogunbowale receiving a technical after saying something to UConn’s head coach Geno Auriemma. While technicals are not uncommon, this one and Ogunbowale’s behavior the rest of the game prompted her and coach McGraw to issue public apologies to their fan base.

This aspect of the game wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it did happen and deserved at least five minutes of discussion on the show. After receiving quite a bit of backlash on that podcast Around the Rim did discuss the drama in length on its next episode.

When Derek Fisher was hired as the Los Angeles Sparks head coach, only a few articles went into the negative repercussions of the hire.

The job of a journalist shouldn’t involve promoting something no matter how much you love it. I love women’s basketball more than anyone, but I am more than aware of its flaws. Both positive and negative aspects demand to be covered. Refusing to recognize the importance of something, even if it is negative, comes with the job.

Journalists hold male athletes and their sports to this standard, and women deserve fair coverage that isn’t just charity as well.


Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at mariana.dominguez@uconn.edu.

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