Saturday, April 21, 2018

N&O vs. Women-in-Sports

I’ve just completed a very unscientific analysis of gender bias, or perhaps simply gender ignorance, in the sports section of today’s (Saturday, April 21, 2018) News & Observer.

I counted 18 stories.  One of them showed a woman’s byline – a contribution from the Associated Press.  One of them covered news involving women – another story about the gymnastics physician scandal, in which a woman was actually quoted.  And there was a photo that included a woman and a girl – surrounding their man in the stereotypical role of male athlete’s family.

Surprisingly, there was a protracted listing of the first-round standings from this weekend’s LPGA event.

The standings page also showed the ubiquitous listing of the NWSL standings.  At least the N&O puts these standings in the paper just about every day, whereas they don’t even bother with the MSL.  Maybe bias against soccer is stronger than bias against women.

Granted, there are a lot more men’s sports out there than women’s.  But the best professional team in the Triangle, the North Carolina Courage, can’t even get a few column inches, despite an important win this week over Seattle that moved them alone into first place.

Where, for example, is the story about tonight’s Courage match?

There were two stories about NHL hockey, including an opinion piece wherein Luke Decock doubles back on his previous analysis and decides Bill Peters should have been fired in the middle of the season, and a story about a nearby club – Las Vegas – that was probably inserted as a dig against the Hurricanes.

Given hockey is so much more newsworthy than soccer in this area, at least based on youth participation, I’m a little surprised I learned via a television sportscast that a member of the UNC women’s tennis team plays hockey for the UNC men’s club.  That's ice hockey, not field hockey.

I guess I should not be surprised that a liberal newspaper like the N&O would sport an all-male sports reporting staff, or that soccer, a game favored by less desirable elements of our society, would receive little coverage.  Maybe it’s part of an effort to dissuade the MLS from expanding to Raleigh?

Perhaps the Courage would receive better coverage were they to start losing.

Oh, wait, there’s a little banner at the bottom corner of the standings page that includes a list of some of the staff, including Jessaca Giglio, Assistant Sports Editor.  I take it all back.

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