Female Sport Journalists Should Be More Than Just Looks

Pam Oliver and other female journalists spoke on a panel Friday called “The Female Voice in Sports Media.” She spoke about how sideline reporters have turned into celebrities rather than journalists because of definite pattern and “look” news outlets are going after. Here are a few top sideline reporters. See a trend?

Pam Oliver, a top Fox Sport NFL sideline reporter for many years, became emotional when the topic of when she was replaced by younger sideline reporter Erin Andrews came up.

Pam Oliver – Age 53

Erin Andrews – Age 36

At the panel to young female journalists, Oliver said she wishes that more females would want to go into journalism for the journalism, not to become celebrities.

I think so many young female sport journalists want to be sideline reporters because that is what they see. ASNE newsroom report showed that 63% of newsrooms were male, 37% female. In sports journalism, 90% of sports editors are male and 90% are white. Surpringsly, ESPN is helping those statistics – without the number of women and people of color on their payroll, the numbers would be much worse.

Oliver’s main concern at the panel is she wants women to build a strong journalism foundation who want a career in sports. Not to just aim for the glitz and glam of a sideline reporter job.

While I personally do not want to go into a career in sports, I fully support her position and admire her. In any career, including journalism, you need the basics – communication skills, writing skills and especially people skills to name a few. A PewResearchCenter report said communication skills are the number one skill Americans say kids need to succeed. A pretty face can only get you so far and unfortunately that’s what news stations want. Journalists need a core skill set to become great. If your admiration is to be a sideline reporter, then great shoot for that. But there are so many other journalist jobs, especially in sports, that need women and diversity.


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