May 24, 2021

Problem of diversity in sports media persists in people in power

Claire Kuwana

Thanks to programs like SJI and others working to uplift women and minorities into newsrooms, the gap between the number of white, male reporters and people of color or female reporters is shrinking (slowly). However, it cannot be denied that the sports writing space was designed for white men. Even as more females or minorities begin to establish themselves within newsrooms, there is still discriminatory treatment and unequal opportunities that persist.

As Brett Kurland, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Sports Programs at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism, pointed out Monday, the problem lies in the disparity between those in power: 90% of sports editors are white men.

When it comes to hoping for real change in the industry, this statistic is defeating. Media outlets can continue to hire more people of color and more females for sports reporting positions, but without a shift in who has power, there is no chance that any progress will be made toward true representation or even allyship. Even in recent years, countless headlines have detailed racist and sexist tendencies within newsrooms. If the industry is going to improve and move away from this, it starts with disrupting this severe imbalance in power -- only then will there be lasting change and progress.

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