Women vs the Media – Press Weekly Round-up

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, the day that we wrap up in about 90 layers, pull on thick boots and sprint to the local corner shop to grab the biggest names in the newspaper world before quickly dashing back, kicking off the boots and diving under the duvet again to research women’s sport from the warmth of the bed. Or maybe that was just this Sunday. Either way, here’s our findings on women’s sport reporting from today’s newspapers:

The Sunday Telegraph

I’ve searched the pages once, I’ve gone through them twice, I got distracted by the write up of the rugby union club games so I went back and searched the pages a third time, but unless I am just very unobservant I can’t find a single article on Women’s sport. Not even a sniff. Very badly done STel, very badly done indeed.

The Sunday Mirror

Thanks to the Sunday Telegraph’s shocker this week the Sunday Mirror looks like a hard core campaigner for women’s sport in comparison. There’s at least a whole 40 words dedicated to women’s sport, one being the report of Sharapova and Serena Williams meeting in the WTA Championship final in Istanbul at about 3pm today (GMT)* and the other being a nod to Jo Pavey who has set her sights on Rio 2016 despite the fact she will be 42 by the time of the next Olympics. However, in a slight return to the usual Sunday Mirror we know and greatly dislike, they illustrate their NIB on the NFL match taking place at Wembley today not with a burly American Football Player, but a part naked cheerleader…

The Observer

On pulling out the Sport insert of the Observer today I witnessed something so rare and special I had to immediately tweet it to verify it’s existence – women’s rugby on the front page. Or, at least a front page advert for an interview with England Rugby captain Emma Croker that appears on page 10. Women’s rugby. On the front page. Who’d have thunk it?! The interview with Croker itself is on a subject that no man can ever be asked about, the return to sport after having a child. Although the front page leader says how ‘being a mum made her a better player’ on actually reading the interview this isn’t so much about Croker learning from the joys and beauty of motherhood (although I’m sure she has) but more about the hardcore strength she found from going through the ordeal of a cesarean. For anyone who doesn’t know, a cesarean is the slicing open of skin, abdomen muscle etc to get the baby out and leaves you sore, scarred and badly damaged internally. To even summon up the courage to get back on the rugby pitch and take on such a vigorous contact game when you’ve received an injury like that is a pretty good testament to what a strong woman Croker is. It also points out that when not Captaining her national team or looking after her baby, Croker is a PE teacher, subtly highlighting the fact that rugby for the women’s team is not a professional game.

There’s also a quarter page on the clash of the tennis titans with the Sharapova vs William match and then a brief piece in the ‘After the games’ section on Keri-Anne Payne’s return to the pool to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in 2014 as her 10k open water race won’t be offered in Glasgow’s programme of events. Done.

The Sunday Times

The ST has been a little hit and miss over the last few weeks in its reporting on women’s sport, however this week at least promises one interview with a key female athlete as a Sportist favourite and prima medal winner at London 2012, Lizzie Armitstead beams out from the top corner of the front cover. We love Lizzie because even in her post race, pre medal collection interview she immediately pointed out the sexism she’s faced in cycling and has been on the case ever since. This interview is no different with Armitstead explaining how women’s cycling misses out on sponsorship because it has no exposure and how its down to the UCI to up its promotion game – Olympic viewing figures showed there was the demand for women’s cycling, it just needs someone to invest and capitalise on this.

Other than that there’s another report on the now finished Sharapova vs Williams game* (its interesting that in all the reports to far, even if the journalist believes Serena could turn up blindfolded and still win, the copy is accompanied by a photos of Sharapova, not Williams. Just sayin’)

The Independent

Last up, the Indy. Thursday’s issue featured an awesome article about the problems facing women’s sport and was then supported by the paper not reporting on any female sport anywhere else in its pages. However things were looking a bit better in today’s sports supplement where, like its fellow broadsheets (apart from the Sunday Telegraph because its been so crap this week i’m pretending it doesn’t exist) it features a story inside about a female athlete. The Indy have made Nicola Adams the focus of their feature, describing her as ‘a champion of women’s rights-and lefts – who has struck a decisive blow for sporting equality’ which is pretty brilliant writing if you ask me. Its an interesting read seeing everything Nicola has achieved since winning her gold 11 weeks ago, from appearances on Alan Carr’s ‘Chatty Man’ to visiting the ‘Fight for Peace’ project for children in the deprived favelas of Brazil with David Cameron. It also points out how these celebrity appearances will help to pay for her boxing, something that before lottery funding was only supported by her mother and her own part time jobs. And one final thing that comes out of the interview is just the damn likeability of Adams. She’s an inspiration, a name that will go down in the history books and yet still seems so grounded.

That’s about it for their reporting on women’s sport for today, however there is another article on something even more taboo than women’s sport seems to be to the media, the subject of professional athletes and depression. Whether due to a long term injury or when their career comes to an end, sportsmen and women are prime targets for suffering the mental illness, yet its never really spoken of. Depression is still often portrayed as weakness and so definitely not something you want your elite athletes admitting to, however to highlight the problem 8 former rugby league and union players are getting into the ring for a few bouts on a night titled ‘Rugger in the Ring’.

*Serena won


Images from http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/williamssisters (thanks!)


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