Trifecta podcast celebrates women in sports

Standard

Trifecta is an all-female ESPN podcast hosted by Sarah Spain, Jane McManus and Kate Fagan. The women talk about both men’s and women’s sports, and bring their interesting perspectives to the podcast world.

On Tuesday, they hosted a special, three-hour episode called The Trifecta: Women Making History Special as part of ESPN’s celebration of Women’s History Month. They talked to WNBA players Sue Bird and Stefanie Dolson, espnW commentator Julie Foudy, SportsCenter‘s Jemele Hill, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza, USA beach volleyball player April Ross and USA hockey co-captain Hilary Knight.

The podcast touched on a variety of topics, but here are a few of my favorite highlights:

1. The discussion regarding the possibility of a female head coach in the NBA, focused on Becky Hammon, assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs. The hosts talked to Gregg Popovich, head coach of the Spurs.

“She’s been a significant part of what we do here,” Popovich said. “She’s a very capable, knowledgeable teacher, and I think it’s a great example for us and the NBA to have the first NBA woman assistant for her to be the caliber of coach she is.”

2. Knight and the hosts discussed how the USA women’s hockey team and USA hockey came to a wage agreement and avoided a boycott of the world championships.

“We were prepared to sit out World Championships, and it was a big sacrifice, but we felt  very passionate about the things we were asking for,” Knight said. “USA Hockey came to the table and wanted to show that they supported women in sport and women’s ice hockey, specifically, and we’re going to move forward and set this precedent and have a very exciting unfold of what’s to come for our sport.”

3. An interview with Hill, who spoke about diversity and how she gives back to other women.

“Mentorship was always really big,” Hill said. “It was certainly something that helped me in terms of my career and so I try to do what I can to let all the women in our business know that I’m here for whatever you need from me.”

4. Bird talked about WNBA’s struggles in keeping up with the NBA.

“I’ll be honest, when I was in college, I wasn’t checking the TV guide to see when WNBA games were on,” she said. “There’s a major disconnect, and it’s tough.”

5. Ross went into detail on the sexualization of women’s beach volleyball.

“I know that that’s out there, and I realize that some people are attracted to the sport because of it, and I don’t think that’s going to go away,” Ross said. “I mean, it’s just exacerbated by the fact that we’re wearing bikinis, which to me, seems only natural since we’re playing on the beach, and I don’t have an issue with it. I feel like I’ve worked really hard for my body, and I like our uniforms, I’m going to wear that, and kind of however people want to promote it, that’s how they’re going to promote it…Drawing people in is such a huge deal for our sport, and once they see our sport, they’re so impressed, and they fall in love with the athletic ability of the players and the game itself that I just feel like it’s almost a natural progression for us and kind of necessary in a way.”

 

Podcasts like these are especially important in elevating women’s voices and putting them at the forefront of the sports conversation. Female athletes and media members are so often discussed as an afterthought, so I enjoyed listening to their stories in detail. Spain put it best in her intro: “We don’t want to be cheerleaders.”

 

Advertisements

ESPNW and its dedication to women

Standard

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-9-55-43-am

There aren’t many websites that almost exclusively feature writing from female sports journalists and that also emphasizes women’s sports. ESPN and Sports Illustrated cover women’s sports on occasion and employ a few female writers, but espnW is the premier website that celebrates both. espnW, a site owned by ESPN and branded towards women, has been my primary source of news for this blog.

According to the ESPN PR website:

“espnW is a global multiplatform brand dedicated to engaging and inspiring women through sports. espnW.com, the brand’s content home, offers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and captures the biggest trends in sports life/style.  espnW also provides a unique point of view on the sports stories that matter most to women and highlights the crossroads of sports and culture. Founded in July 2010, espnW’s content and voices live across digital, television, radio, films, events, educational platforms and social media.”

Laura Gentile founded the site in 2010, and the current editor-in-chief is Alison Overholt, who is also the editor-in-chief of ESPN the Magazine.

espnW has around 300,000 likes on Facebook, compared to ESPN’s 15,000,000, so it’s clearly a niche website that doesn’t receive the same traffic as the older, more general ESPN site. However, espnW is making steps forward. It launched its new espnW Brazil site in 2016 and also was part of the massive website rebuild that ESPN underwent in 2015.

The website’s interaction with the public is interesting to note; although espnW has a variety of social media platforms that allow for public interaction, the website itself cut its comment section in 2016 because of the frequency of inappropriate and offensive comments.

Like ESPN, the website is appealing to the eye with its use of text, pictures and videos (which can occasionally be overwhelming). It is easy to navigate and categorizes every topic in a logical way. The site has come under a bit of fire from women who question the idea that they need their own separate, “watered-down” site for sports, but I think the overall idea of espnW is good. It recognizes that many women consume news, particularly sports, a little bit differently than men, and it fits those needs. Women’s sports and and female journalists are also highlighted really well by espnW. It’s encouraging to see female athletes and writers get their own platform, because they sometimes tend to get lost in the masses of general sporting news.

Photo by Allison Leahy

Intro

Standard

Welcome to my blog! Because of my background in journalism and communications, I’ve always had a particular interest in how the media works, and I enjoy focusing on the sports media industry. Some of my posts celebrate female trailblazers in sports, while others critique the media’s coverage of women’s issues in sports (domestic violence, comments regarding female athletes’ appearances, sexist remarks towards female journalists and broadcasters, etc.). I have also profiled minority members of sports media, such as Mina Kimes, Shea Serrano and Melissa Ludtke.

Some of my favorite sources for sporting news are spearheaded by women and will be featured generously in this blog. ESPNW is the premier provider of sports coverage by female reporters, spotlighting a variety of sports and issues. ESPN and Sports Illustrated also boast some of the most talented female writers in the game in Ramona Shelburne, Jackie MacMullan, Alyssa Roenigk, Melissa Jacobs, Mina Kimes and Emily Kaplan. In fact, the editor-in-chief of ESPNW and ESPN the Magazine is Alison Overholt, one of the most ambitious sports media members out there.

These names barely scratch the surface of the incredible work that’s been done by women, now and in history. I look forward to a continued exploration of the complex, nuanced intersection between sports media and the impressive women involved.