Women’s Sport vs. The Media – Newspaper Roundup

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This is one of those tricky weeks where not only do we understand the prominence of football in the Sunday sport sections; we actually rather welcome it.  This, of course, is the papers’ first chance to get their print-stained paws on the FA Cup Final (in a better, older world we’d still have a couple of weeks before this had even happend, of course).  It’s also the Sundays’ opportunity to pay homage to the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, on the day he takes charge of his final match at Old Trafford.  Look, even The Sportist isn’t going to begrudge them this one.

But in amongst all of this football malark, surely there’s a place for women’s sport.  Isn’t there?

The Observer

Sport page funds are clearly on diversion in Observer HQ this week, with a 12-page SAF supplement almost more prominent than the sports section itself.  But even the wealth of football coverage (pages 1-11, for what it’s worth) doesn’t excite this Sportist writer’s eye as much as a front page Sarah Story feature headline.  The-newly be-Damed Paralympian is currently entering the latter stages of a pregnancy she announced in the aftermath of the London 2012 Games and has seemingly already cast her eye beyond childbirth and national honours to Rio 2016 and a potential berth in both the Olympic and Paralympic squads.  We, of course, would love to see it and Anna Kessel’s interview strikes a great balance between sporting ambition, administrative support (as it turns out, British Cycling have supported Storey throughout the process of pregnancy and training) and the general challenges of being a hard-working mother-to-be in the public eye.

Elsewhere, there’s coverage of the forthcoming Madrid Open final, which will be contested by Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.  That, frankly, is a sentence we could have written ten years ago.  Come on women’s tennis – surely it’s time for the new generation now?

The Mail on Sunday

From front page to back, not single word on women’s sport was uttered.  Nice to see Martha Kelner’s interviews of SAF and his heir, David Moyes, getting some profile though.  Women in Sports Journalism.  It’s close enough.

The Sunday Mirror

The Sunday Mirror is a strange beast.  With an external visage that creates no high expectation, the paper frequently confounds by pulling in bits of women’s sport coverage that you’d never expect.  Of course, the usual women’s football paragraphs adorn the football section, this week covering Matt Beard’s Liverpool side, the latest darlings of top flight women’s football after their astonishing 4-0 defeat of Arsenal in midweek.  At the base of the News File section, though, we find report of Kimberley Benicks’ gold-medal winning performance in the London British Open Judo tournament, defeating her opponent Anna Bartole in the Under-48kg category.

The Sunday Telegraph

The Sunday Telegraph is emphatically not a strange beast.  In fact, it’s a rather predictable one, as it continues to offer no coverage of women’s sport, save a single line about the women’s Madrid Open final at the base of the clearly more important men’s tennis roundup.  Like a mid-90s Barcelona, the STel promises much and delivers fluff.

The Sunday Times

This writer rather thought it would be a good week for the Sunday Times.  The paper has the capacity to deliver utterly brilliant women’s sport coverage and does so with so little fanfare that it continues to catch us unawares.  This, however, is not one of those weeks.  Only a single piece on women’s sport and that a short paragraph on Maria Sharapova’s quest to defeat Serena Williams at the Madrid Open.  Which, I’m fairly sure, is a paragraph they copied from some copy written ten years ago.  Actually, they probably didn’t, but they naturally chose to illustrate it with a picture of Sharapova, thus continuing to perpetuate the notion that only beautiful sportswomen can be successful sportswomen.  Anger: engaged.

Picture from itv.com – Thank you!

CS

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