Taking On Sexism in Media: A Little Grassroots Work
Updated 9/4/16 with better Q13 info.
A couple of weeks ago, when Hope Solo was suspended / terminated from the U.S. Women’s National Team, the local Seattle media was all over it. Some outlets provided an initial article along with several updates, including one when the video of her learning the news was released. However, when I looked back over the Twitter timelines of these same outlets, I noticed something:
No mention of the Seattle Reign as independent from Ms. Solo’s professional challenges. No article about how the Reign were about to play their rivals – the Portland Thorns – in a must-win match to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. Keep in mind, the Reign have won the supporter’s shield two years in a row and is home to some of the best international players in the world (Kim Little, Jess Fishlock, Megan Rapinoe).
So, why the lack of coverage? Especially when non-professional teams such as the two large universities in our state (UW and WSU), along with high school sports, often have their own pages? It can’t be the low attendance numbers – the Reign are at or above the average for attendance. But even if that’s a bit of the argument, couldn’t a counter argument be made that maybe people would be more likely to attend the games if, I don’t know, they heard about them, say, on the evening news? Honestly, I think there’s a bit of sexism here, so I’m going to experiment a bit.
Below is information on the coverage of the Reign in Seattle, and suggestions on ways to reach out and offer some suggestions on improvements. I’ll be taking action this weekend in anticipation of the Sunday match; I’ll provide updates on this site if I hear anything back.
The Times appears to be the only media outlet in Seattle with a dedicated reporter assigned to soccer, with specific mention of the Reign. Let’s thank him by following him on Twitter: Matt Pentz @mattpentz
(his email is mpentz @ seattletimes dot com)
However, the Times can still improve with their website. While the Reign has section on the banner that you can click on to get their stories, when you click on “Sports” and scroll down, the Times don’t have a dedicated section. I suggest sending your thoughts on this to:
Sports Editor Paul Barrett (pbarrett @ seattletimes dot com)
Sports Page Designer Rich Boudet (rboudet @ seattletimes dot com)
Their twitter account is @SeaTimesSports
This website has so much going on that their lack of Reign coverage is hardly the start of their problems. The soccer page is all Sounders (schedule, results, stats); the only Reign coverage on the page are headlines about Hope Solo. All of the coverage for both the Reign and the Sounders seems pulled from the AP.
There is no dedicated sports reporter, so while we could push for more Reign coverage is seems like a waste of time.
I feel like Q13 should be better. The only stories on the sports page about women’s soccer are three stories about Hope Solo. Again, I get the appeal, but I do want to point out that the reason people in Seattle care is because she plays for our team. I mean, the site has articles about Colin Kaepernick but nothing on the Reign beating their rivals on Sunday. It’s obnoxious.
And, in looking at Twitter, it seems the last time the Sports Director Aaron Levine mentioned the Reign in a tweet was in August 2015, BUT apparently he did a great piece on the ridiculousness of the pitch during the Western NY match, so he seems like an ally. Let’s foster that.
I suggest a couple of things:
Send an email to tips @ q13fox dot com. This is for news tips but also website comments, so perhaps we can point out that they need to have more coverage of the Reign. And while he doesn’t have an email address, I suggest tweeting some questions to Sports Director Aaron Levine @aaronq13Fox.
Their twitter account is @Q13Fox
This one got me excited. If you hover over sports on their website, there is a Reign section! I clicked it and saw all of these articles, including multiple ones from the Portland match last week. But then I realized the link had just sent me to the Reign’s blog, not original reporting. Meanwhile Sounders has their own page with original reporting. And if you just click on KIRO sports, you get a page with multiple articles about the Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders and Storm. Yay! Storm! But Boo! No Reign.
I’m wondering if Steve Raible might be a good in on this one. However, another option is to email the generic newsroom with a question; unfortunately they only have a contact us page: http://www.kiro7.com/about-us/submit-a-news-tip
Their twitter account is @KIRO7Seattle
All the professional teams have a page except the Reign. And, as we’ve seen before, the Huskies and Cougars and High School have pages. In fact, this image shows all of the options under Sports on their page; the Reign are nowhere on there:
They don’t have a direct email address, just a form online, so I suggest filling it out and asking them what the deal is. http://www.king5.com/about/contact-us
Their twitter account is @KING5Sports
KOMO 4 News
The main KOMO sports page has no section for Reign. It does have a section for the Storm (hurrah!) At one point this week there was an article about Hope Solo, with a byline from “AP / KOMO reporter.”
I do suggest sending some emails: you can reach the webmaster (webteam @ komonews dot com) or the comments (tips @ komonews dot com)
Their twitter account is @KOMO4Sports
Alright. There’s my analysis. If you’d like to join me in tweeting at these media outlets, here are their accounts: