Women’s Sport vs The Media – Weekly Newspaper Roundup

mosaic 9.12

This always felt like it might be a difficult week for the media review, what with not a whole load of major sporting events occurring in the last seven days and the media’s usual inability to actually engage with those that do happen. Things didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts, when I arrived at the supermarket this morning to find the selection of newspapers severely limited. Oh, and the fact I’m doing the review for the second week in a row means I can’t recycle any of last week’s joke. Recipe. For. Disaster.

The Independent on Sunday

Sports Pages: 24
Women in Sport: Half a Page

We don’t cover The Independent all that often in the media roundup. I can’t speak for the other half of our review team, but from this correspondent’s perspective there’s a pretty clear reason: I quite like The Independent. I think it’s a good paper. I really dislike how naff its women’s sport coverage is. (I cover it all the time you numpty! – FQ)

For the longest part, it looked like today’s offering from The Indy would be about as bad as they come, until the penultimate page gave a lovely little half-page plus picture roundup of recent winter sport results, encouragingly led by Shelley Rudman’s victory in the World Cup skeleton this weekend. A British silver medallist in the Turin Winter Olympics of 2006, Rudman is targeting the 2014 Sochi Games and looks in fine fettle, albeit with the Games still two years away. Two snowboarding trips are about the extent of my snow-sports expertise, so it’s great to see something educational in The Independent. Cheers, guys and girls.

The Observer

Sports Pages: 16
Women in Sport: Half a Page (plus a picture!)

The weekend side of The Guardian has, like its weekday stable mate, always been pretty forward thinking when it comes to the female side of the sporting equation, so we’re never surprised to see some of the week’s best women’s sport coverage in the hallowed pages. This weekend, somewhat out of nowhere, The Observer pulls a great interview with Hannah Miley out of the bag, shedding some much needed limelight on one of the more controversial elements of the London 2012 Olympic Games. As an early Games medal prospect, 22-year old Miley was beaten into fifth position and her 16-year old competitor, China’s Ye Shiwen, took gold in a staggering performance – one which raised the spectre of a doping programme amongst the Chinese team from within certain areas of the media and the sport as a whole.

Miley’s line on Ye’s performance is comfortingly political and she seems unscarred by her inability to cash in on the London 2012 medal train. Despite her youthful age, Miley comes across as having a somewhat older and more balanced head on her shoulders than anyone ought to have at 22. She criticises John Leonard’s comments on the Ye Shiwen issue as appearing to come from a ‘sore loser’ and recalls Katie Ledecky’s astonishing improvements in the Games; swimming, it appears, really is a young woman’s sport.

Aside from the Miley column, there is brief pictorial mention of Rebecca Tunney’s fifth place finish at the gymnastics World Cup meet in Glasgow on the uneven bars and a quick pen portrait of Katherine Grainger’s hopes for the Sports Personality of the Year award.

The Sunday Mirror

Sports Pages: 18 + 20 Page Football Supplement
Women in Sport: 3 Paragraphs

I’m torn. I hate The Sunday Mirror and the fact that in its main sporting section the only mention of women in sport is a reader’s ‘letter’ (it’s not a letter. It’s two sentences) on Jessica Ennis’ chances of winning the Sports Personality of the Year award is pretty painfully discouraging stuff. But they’re the only weekly that gives a regular spot to women’s football and – much as it pains me to do so – it does deserve a mention. Today’s couple of paragraphs focus on Cardiff Bluebirds fixture against Barnet today.

3 paragraphs in 38 pages isn’t good. But it’s something.
The Sunday Times

Sports Pages: 17
Women in Sport: 1

Whatever happened to The Sunday Times? Was it always this good and we just didn’t notice? Or, as it seems from this side, has there been a recent drive towards building the representation of women in sport? I kind of hope it’s the latter – it might show we’re making progress.

This weekend’s offering is really, genuinely interesting too – a major interview with current David Weir and ex-Wimbledon FC athletic/fitness coach Jenny Archer and a piece on 18-year old GB swimmer Georgia-Mae Hohmann. Archer is an absolutely fascinating character, a clear and acknowledged influence on David Weir’s multi-Paralympic gold medal performances this year and a woman who took some of football’s most testosterone-fuelled players of the 1990s and broke them into shape. The interview is genuinely exceptional stuff, digging deep into the methods and drive which allowed Archer to become a leading figure in environments that many coaches would struggle to fulfil. Her message of encouragement to Weir on the morning of his final victory of the London 2012 Paralympics, the Marathon, is the crowning achievement of a truly great coach.

Craig Lord’s piece on Georgia-Mae Hohmann is equally interesting, highlighting a potential star of British swimming’s future whose performances in the run up to London 2012 left her just short of a place on the Olympic team. Given the struggles surround British Olympic Swimming, Hohmann is one of a crop of juniors breaking through who may just rescue the sport from its current predicament; a name to watch.

There’s also a brilliant picture of Caroline Wozniacki doing an on-court impression of Serena Williams, complete with jumpers stuffed into the bust and bum area to give her a more Serena-esque physique. The Sunday Times – brightening my Sundays for the past few weeks.

CS.

 

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