As the great Neil Armstrong (would have) said (if he had cared at all about the progress of women in sport’s journalism) ‘That’s one small step for woman, one giant leap for women kind in sports journalism’. Yes, last week a rather stunned but jubilant Team Sportist celebrated the appointment of Alison Kervin as the first female sports editor on Fleet Street, taking up the big boss chair at the Mail on Sunday in April.
As far as credentials go Kervin is the person for the job, with a CV listing the Chief Sports feature writer at the Times, Chief sports interviewer at the Telegraph and editor of Rugby World not to mention the ghost articles and autobiographies she’s written on behalf of a host of sporting heroes. This is a woman who knows her stuff. However her appointment at the Mail on Sunday comes as a bit of a surprise, not because she isn’t right for the job etc, but because it was the Mail that have broken the mould, set the records and employed the first female sports editor of a national newspaper. Not the liberal Observer or Guardian, not the Sunday Times with it’s Sports Woman of the Year awards, but the Mail, which, generally gives the impression that it pretty much hates women. The side bar of hate on the website, the constant discussions of HRT, diets and what foods give you lady cancer in FeMail, the fact that it let’s Liz Jones be their most famous example of a female journalist, there is very little that the Mail has done to show it would even let a woman (apart from Liz Jones and Jan Moir) do more in their offices than make the tea. Even when we’ve chosen the Mail on Sunday for our media roundup, there’s not yet been a big mention (if any) of women playing sport. Yet all of a sudden the paper has become a beacon of hope for all female journalists, especially those that spend their time doing battle in the male dominated world of sports writing.
So thank you Mail on Sunday, thank you for appointing the most qualified person for the role regardless of gender and thank you Alison Kervin for showing how women can definitely play with the boys.
p.s as I was writing this ANOTHER Mail on Sunday female journalist has just gained recognition, this time in the shape of Martha Kelner who has just been awarded Young Journalist of the Year award..so there you go…