Beat from the Editor’s Seat: A call for less discrimination in sports reporting

When Title IX passed in 1972, female athletes flooded the sports world. Forty years later, however, Title IX has yet to extend to the press boxes – a discrimination that continues across the nation.

As a double minority, I join Asians and women in the fight to earn respect with fellow sports writers and editors.

It’s alarming how many Geneseo students seemed surprised and bothered that I hold the sports editor position at The Lamron. Some have asked me, “Why are you the sports editor? You’re a girl.”

I wouldn’t be nearly as upset if my white male counterparts received the same questions about their characteristics and role in sports journalism; we all know, however, that that doesn't happen.

Therefore, this behavior is completely disrespectful. I shouldn’t receive such questions and snide remarks to begin with, but more importantly, it shouldn’t be considered “weird” or “strange” that, as a female, I am pursuing an interest in sports journalism.

This problem stems from a lack of representation of women and racial minority groups in the field. What’s worse is that the situation is not improving.

According to the 2010-2011 Associated Press Sports Editors Racial and Gender Report Card, few women and individuals of color served as sports editors over more than 320 newspapers and websites.

From 2008 to the 2010-2011 report, the number of women sports editors dropped from nine to seven. Between 2006 and 2010, no Asian or Latina woman and only one black woman, served as a sports editor in an Associated Press-member newspaper or website that participated in the report.

This imbalance exists in lower-level positions as well. Forty of the 381 assistants were women in 2010, dropping from 55 in 2008. Although two more Asian women and one more black woman were added to the 2010 AP staff from 2008, white and Latina women decreased over the same amount of time.

Forty years is too long for women and minority groups to continue fighting for equality in press boxes. The sports journalism industry needs to examine how it will achieve this equality.

The equality also shouldn’t stop at better representation. Women should receive the same privileges as men, including being able to conduct interviews in locker rooms and travel with teams.

When I took on this job with The Lamron, I knew of the clear obstacles I would face while I remain the sports editor. I look forward to bringing diversity to the editorial board and newspaper and showing that women and Asians can, in fact, be sports editors too