How do We Fix Diversity Issues in Sports Journalism?

Unfortunately, the industry of sports journalism has become known as all-boys club and while some outlets are trying to change that perspective, not enough is being done to hire more diverse  sports newsrooms when it comes to gender and race.

It is important for sports newsrooms to hire a diverse group of people to cover sports because when it comes to sports, there are a lot of different issues and topics covered that require different perspectives. While historically sports journalism has been a field dominated by white men, some progress is being made but there needs to be room for more voices to be heard. Racially this is important because as of a National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) report from 2011, about 67 percent of NFL players are black, about 77 percent of all NBA players are black and 28 percent of MLB players are latino (http://www.nabj.org/news/63862/NABJ-News-NABJ-Calls-on-Media-Companies-to-Take-Action-on-APSEs-Racial.htm). These figures are important because they highlight the fact that newsrooms should be hiring diverse staffs for the sports they cover because these sports in many cases are very racially diverse and newsrooms should be able to follow the example of the sports they cover.

The most recent edition of the Associated Press Editors (APSE) Racial and Gender Report cards (http://nebula.wsimg.com/2b640482e881dddc4dfb39e6aca52c2e?AccessKeyId=DAC3A56D8FB782449D2A&disposition=0&alloworigin=1) show that the gender diversity in sports newsrooms may actually be getting worse while these organizations are making strides when it comes to racial diversity. The study looked at the diversity of several positions at newsrooms including editors, assistant editors, reporters, columnists, and copy editors or designers. There was only one position that did not receive an F which was assistant sports editors, which received a C- and stated that about thirty percent of the assistant editors were women. Overall, the total grade for gender diversity was an F and that was attributed to the fact that only 17.9 percent of the total staffs of the news organizations that were surveyed were women. This is also the fifth consecutive year that the organizations in the APSE received an F for gender diversity.

Another major concern that came out of the report is that the vast majority of people in these positions are white males, regardless of the increasing amount of minority representation in the industry. The study found that 85 percent of editors are white and that 90 percent of editors are men, representing the group with the fewest number of women hired for that position. It is also important to note that the number of women that are working as reporters has actually decreased since the last study back in 2014.

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Despite the grim outlook for diversity in sports journalism overall, there are certain organizations that are working hard to promote diversity. ESPN is at the forefront when it comes to having a diverse newsroom, so much so that without their numbers, the study would paint an even darker picture of the industry as a whole. The study found that out of the 89 women that worked as assistant sports editors, 75 of them worked at ESPN, a staggering 84 percent. It also found that out of the 44 women that worked as columnists, 38 of them worked at ESPN, which represents 86 percent of the people surveyed.

While the difference in editors is especially concerning, there are some bright spots that show that sports journalism is slowly becoming more diverse among the APSE news outlets. This is made clear through looking at the assistant editors and columnists.

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So where do we go from here? One suggestion comes from Richard Lapchick, the director of the APSE and the primary author of the Racial and Gender Report Card. In an interview with AP reporter Joedy McCreery (https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/study-diversity-remains-low-sports-news-departments-54883891) he said that he thinks it may be a good idea to implement a Rooney Rule equivalent to hiring sports reporters and I think that is a great starting point. On SB Nation, Adam Stites does an excellent job of explaining what the Rooney Rule is. Basically, the Rule requires teams to interview minority candidates for vacant head coach and general manager positions before filling the empty positions.

In 2003, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, the man the rule is named for, spearheaded a movement to promote racial diversity in upper level positions in NFL teams after two African-American coaches, Tony Dungy and Dennis Green were fired despite having found success as coaches, following the 2002 season (https://www.sbnation.com/2018/1/6/16856550/rooney-rule-nfl-explained-how-it-works-coaches). While writing a report for ESPN about the study, Lapchick further emphasized the idea of Rooney Rule equivalent called the Ralph Wiley Rule, named after the late African-American writer (http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/23382605/espn-leads-way-hiring-practices-sports-media).

Regardless of what happens, news organizations owe it to themselves to hire from a much more diverse pool of candidates. The news is better when we can get different perspectives and voices telling the same stories, regardless of if it is sports, politics or whatever the topic may be. If as journalists we are looking at and reporting on the flaws of other industries we have to do the same in our own and improve ourselves first.

However, things are looking up when it comes to diversity. From this clip from the show “Speak for Yourself” on Fox Sports highlights that like ESPN, other organizations are also working hard at promoting diversity with the people they hire for their on-air talent. For shows like this especially where much of the content is opinion based on current sports news, it is incredibly important to hire a diverse group of people because you are guaranteed to get people that have different opinions about the same topic, which is something sports journalism needs right now.

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Visuals at the Boston Globe

Every article that appears on the Boston Globe’s website is accompanied by a photograph but if you’re looking for a dedicated photo section, you may have to dig a little deeper than you might expect.

However, that does not mean that such section does not exist. On the Globe’s website you can find this section in tiny writing if you open up the menu on the site. It’s called “The Big Picture” and is completely dedicated to just pictures. Each post includes a gallery about a specific topic.

It is also important to note that the mobile version of the website is actually better suited to reading than the desktop version. On the desktop, the pictures take up the full screen and in many of the cases you cannot see the caption as well as the full photo. On the mobile version, the picture and caption are fitted to your screen so that you can see both at the same time.

One post called “Animal’s up-close” is just a collection of photos of animals from all across the world. The first photo on the page is of two rhinoceroses, a mother and its child. The picture is excellent and distinguishes the two by focusing on the child while blurring out the mother by using the camera’s depth of field features to blur out the fore ground.

This picture caught my eye immediately because of the photographer’s decision to blur out the mother. It shows that the focus of the story is the recently born child, which had not even been given a name. But visually, the photo is stunning because of how clearly the child comes out in the photo. Using depth of focus in this manner brings out the subject in a unique and beautiful way. The photographer establishes that the new-born rhino is the subject of the photo.

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In this same post, there is a picture of a bird that could have been much better. In the background, the wings of the bird as well as the branches are blurred out, but unlike in the picture of the rhinos, the bird itself is also somewhat out of focus and detracts from the photo. From an otherwise vibrant gallery of animals, this picture stands out in the wrong way.

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The Big Picture: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/bigpicture

Animals up-close gallery: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/bigpicture/2018/01/19/animals-close/q8tGZ5MVGRJN3iJ6MkFXCO/story.html?p1=BP_SeePhotos

From Hero to Zero: Did Benching Malcolm Butler cost the Patriots the Super Bowl?

 

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Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler did not play a single snap in Super Bowl LII over the weekend and may have ended up costing the Patriots their entire season.

Without Butler, safeties Patrick Chung and Jordan Richards were forced into situations that they do not normally have to deal with. In several situations, Richards was left in the dust, including on a 55-yard pass to Eagles running back Corey Clement. On this play in particular, Richards was completely unable to cover Clement and fell down trying to cover him almost immediately after the ball was snapped.

Butler’s direct replacement, cornerback Eric Rowe, also struggled mightily at times, including allowing a 34-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffrey in the opening quarter.

Without Butler, the Patriots’ defense allowed 41 points and 538 total yards in an abysmal effort to stop Nick Foles and the Eagles’ offense. But, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe points out, there were numerous other factors that led to the Patriots’ defeat.

While quarterback Tom Brady made history by recording 505 passing yards, the offense also had some notable miscues, including Brady’s dropped pass from wide receiver Danny Amendola. At times the play calling was shaky including calling three straight running plays when the offense had a first down at the Eagles’ 17-yard line. While the defense allowed historic numbers, there were situations where Tom Brady and the offense could not capitalize.

Belichick’s benching of Butler had a damaging impact on the Patriots’ ability to win Super Bowl LII but the team as a whole made key errors that led to their defeat at the hands of the Eagles on Sunday.

Photo: ABC News

Ben Volin’s Article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/patriots/2018/02/06/not-playing-malcolm-butler-had-domino-effect-for-patriots/vDAeLJTYjrnFZWukLJK0fM/story.html

Does The Boston Globe Follow its Mission Statement?

The Boston Globe prides itself on the fact that it is about seeking the truth for the people of New England.

“The truth matters. At the end of the day, it may be the only thing that matters. Finding it is our job, and our pledge to anyone who takes the time to read or watch or listen to what we’ve found out.”

The Globe also claims that it provides more information on local news, entertainment and sports than any other paper in the region and has been rewarded for these efforts in the past.

In 2014, the Globe was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News as a result of the Boston Marathon bombings that happened in April of that year. The team covering the bombing and manhunt that resulted were given this honor because of their coverage of the entire situation as well as their ability to use photography and other digital methods to capture the impact of the attack.

The Globe claims to reach over 500 thousand people with its daily newspaper and nearly double that with its Sunday edition. Across these editions, the largest demographic appears to be homeowners with a household income over $100 thousand.

Despite the nearly 14 million people living in New England, the Globe still manages to reach a large amount of people across the region. As a result, the Globe is able to spread the news that is important to people in the area.

Globe Mission Statement: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/special-reports/2017/02/03/our-mission-why-what/D6tXGcXs2c8PcQt4lGIdlI/story.html

Boston Globe demographic information: http://www.bostonglobemedia.com/bostonglobe

Pulitzer Prize website: http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/staff-75

New England Census data (2010): http://www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/census/pop/neweng.htm

Breaking Tradition: Should Mila Kunis Take a Stand for Gender Equality?

Feminists are pushing for Mila Kunis to stand up for gender rights by rejecting an award from a Harvard University all-male theater group, according to an article by Collin Binkley on Boston.com.

Gender equality is an issue that needs to be discussed in the current political climate and the Hasty Pudding club is a necessary topic in this discussion. Brinkley does an excellent job in this article by presenting the facts on all sides of the argument and gives context into the history of the organization and yearly protests by women to open it up to everyone.

While detailing how people are protesting the group, Binkley also mentions the fact that there are many that believe the group should remain closed to women. These arguments include upholding the tradition of a group that has been in existence since 1795.

He details that single gender clubs have faced scrutiny from the university and social groups are not allowed to have any leadership positions at the university. However, this ban does not apply to arts clubs, which the club is considered to be.

Binkley’s article is an excellent example of pure objective reporting by getting all sides of the argument.

Original article: https://www.boston.com/culture/arts/2018/01/24/why-arent-women-allowed-in-harvards-hasty-pudding-shows