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Women slowly making progress off the field

From executives to reporters, the number of women in sports is rising

More often the one doing the interviews, NFL Network reporter Jane Slater is interviewed by WTV Executive Producer Maddie Owens.

Wade Glover

More often the one doing the interviews, NFL Network reporter Jane Slater is interviewed by WTV Executive Producer Maddie Owens.

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No matter what sports channel one turns to, it’s men who are seen behind the desk or in front of the camera, talking about the latest upset in the NFL or which basketball players are the best, but recently, more and more women have began to break into the sports industry.

Conducting an interview on the field before the season opening game at the Ford Center at The Star, NFL Network reporter Jane Slater stands with head football coach Chris Burtch.

Conducting an interview on the field before the season opening game at the Ford Center at The Star, NFL Network reporter Jane Slater stands with head football coach Chris Burtch.

“I think you should just always reach for your dream,” Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones Anderson said. “No matter what anybody says, the opportunities come in the most unique ways, and if you can just remember that you can keep reaching that dream and keep pursuing excellence and you don’t give up.”

Because there are so few women in the journalism industry, and especially sports journalism, it can be hard to reach the top, and excel in that field. To get to that place, finding opportunities and learning new skills is important to continue progressing.

“It’s competitive,” NFL Network‘s Jane Slater said. “It’s so much more competitive now than when I got into this business. What I’ve learned is that I’ve been able to move up because right out of college, my first job was in news, I worked eight years in news, I was a producer, I was a reporter I’ve done radio, just any opportunity you get to put your foot in the door, make the most of that.”

Being patient is one thing that Slater has learned from her time in the sports journalism business, and that it took time to get her where she is now, but it was worth it in creating a better reporter.

“A lot of girls want that first on air job, working for ESPN, and for most that’s not going to happen,” Slater said. “But every job you take along the way will be a skill set that you can take to your next job and I think that’s made me a more well rounded reporter and a more marketable one.”

If you love this job, and you’re a true journalist, you’ll do whatever it takes to get to the top,”

— NFL Network's Jane Slater

Being a journalist takes a lot of time to be able to understand how to share other people’s stories well and that comes with experience.

“I think that it’s important, male or female, to start learning as much as you can about sports and about journalism, and about reporting and being able to unbiased and really tell stories at very young age,” Houston Chronicle’s sports columnist Jenny Dial Creech said. “You have to start focusing on reading as much as you can and watching as much as you can and really just enhancing your knowledge.”

For women especially, sports journalism can come with a lot of negatives, including people testing them to make sure they know what they’re talking about, posting negative comments, or sending rude emails to female journalists.

Although these things are not ideal, knowing what is going on and knowing a lot about whatever sport is being covered, can help prevent some of these things.

“For females especially, knowledge of whatever sport you’re covering is important, because you’re always going to be underestimated a little bit more than the guys,” Creech said. “They’re always going to wonder if you know as much as them. It’s important to never be caught off guard and to really enhance that knowledge as much as you can.”

Female sports reporters can often be the subject of negative comments but Creech doesn’t let it bother her.

WTV Executive Producer Maddie Owens interviews Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones Anderson on the field at the Ford Center. Jones is often called one of the most powerful women in the NFL but is still a minority in professional sports.

Keegan Williams
WTV Executive Producer Maddie Owens interviews Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones Anderson on the field at the Ford Center. Jones is often called one of the most powerful women in the NFL but is still a minority in professional sports.

“The negativity that I get, and the social media trolling and things like that, they’re not actually a reflection on my job,” Creech said. “So people who are saying these terrible things to me and sending these terrible things to me, they aren’t actually saying that I’m doing a bad job. My work is good and my work is strong so I have to focus on that and realize that we love in world where social media is so rampant and so many people have access to you at all times, that you just have to be able to take it in stride.”

Being a woman in the sports journalism industry can be tough, however for reporters like Slater, it can be worth it.

“It’s been a long climb,” Slater said. “But just hang in there, if you love this job, and you’re a true journalist, you’ll do whatever it takes to get to the top.”

About the Contributors
Keegan Williams, Editor-in-Chief
Keegan ‘KEEG$’ Williams, is a senior and Editor-in-Chief for Wingspan. She likes to partake in many activities such as watching Youtube and talking loudly. She also enjoys juggling, playing with her black lab, and pretending she can rap. KEEG$ is never seen without a water bottle, and loves hanging out with friends. KEEG$ is an icon throughout...
Wade Glover, WTV Daily Update Producer
Wade Glover is a junior. He is the grade level president of Young Men’s Service League and proudly volunteers with Frisco Family Services, BedStart, and Friday Nite Friends. He is also an active member of Custer Road United Methodist Church and the youth programs there. Wade’s hobbies are golfing, wakeboarding, hanging out with friends, and...
1 Comment

One Response to “Women slowly making progress off the field”

  1. Julee Williams on November 8th, 2016 10:01 pm

    I’m so proud of you Keeg$. Keep reaching for your dreams.

    xoxo Mom

    [Reply]

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