Women’s Sport vs The Media – Newspaper roundup


There’s been a lot going on in the world of women’s sport this week, with the WSL fixtures ticking along, the Women’s Ashes (W’Ashes) going from strength to strength, modern pentathletes competing at the World Championships and England ladies hockey team breaking into the Euro Final for the first time in 22 years to name a few so let’s see what the press power houses have to say about all/any of the above.

The Sunday TImes

The front page of the ST gets us off to a good start with Sky’s bottom strip advert for the next women’s Ashes ODI, however that’s it until page 14 and the report on England’s EuroHockey final penalty shoot out against eventual winners Germany.  This was the first time in 22 years that England had made the Euro finals, eventually having to be satisfied with silver medals after a late equaliser meant the match went into penalties and apparently regardless of the sport, England and penalty shoot outs, especially against Germans, are not friends.

Apart from that there’s a NIB on shamed Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown’s hearing with the anti doping board early next month and that’s about all I could find.

The Observer

Again a good start with the Sky Sports Women’s Ashes advert on the front of the Observer Sports section, but again, with the start of ALL THE FOOTBALL, it takes a long time for any sport, let alone women’s sport, to feature in the paper.  Finally the figure of Laura Robson appears with a feature on how a change of coach and support team is bringing around a change of attitude for the UK no. 1 as she heads into the US Open that begins this Monday.

There’s also a NIB on the hockey and W’Ashes and then a brilliant article on the back page by Sportist favourite Sophie Christiansen on the Paralympics and how attitudes towards disability have improved but still have a long way to go.

The Sunday Mirror

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the football is back.  It’s return has been subtle and low key I know, so the Sunday Mirror quietly reminds its readers that the season’s now in its second week with about 100 pages dedicated to the beautiful game.  There’s the usual 250 words on the women’s game in the Football supplement, this time focusing on Arsenal’s bid for a third successive WSL title when they play Chelsea this week, but also a NIB on the women’s hockey within the paper itself.  I can’t help feeling though that the EuroHockey was mentioned as its all about England loosing to Germany on penalties, something anyone who has ever watched international football can relate to and therefore appropriate news for the Sunday Mirror’s target audience.

The Mail on Sunday

I’m not going to lie, I nearly spat my coffee everywhere in shock/surprise when I saw the SSWA advert on the front of the Mail on Sunday as previous weeks have not led me to associate the MoS with supporting women in sport.  I was even more surprised when ‘Fast Lane’, the MoS’s guide to motoring 2013/2014, fell out in my lap with the front page article ‘How the F1 roared to the High Street’ being written by Grant Prix presenter Natalie Pinkham (A lady, in case you couldn’t tell from the name).

In the Sports section itself there’s a feature on sport drug cheats featuring Veronica Campbell-Brown and non drug cheat chinese swimmer Ya Shiwen, as well as a graph that breaks down the ethnic groups who may or may not carry a ‘Doping immunity’ gene (I haven’t read the article yet so i’m not sure if this is a real gene, or if the MoS is just speculating on the machines behind the rug test regimes in certain countries/being a bit racist)

There’s also a report on the women’s hockey -‘Oh no! Another loss to Germans in shootout’ and then a feature on the awesome Nicola Adams, ambassador for the upcoming Glasgow Commonwealth Games.  There’s also an interesting piece on Sharapova’s apparent erratic behaviour, ditching her new coach Jimmy Connors after only one match, saying she’d change her name to Sugarpova for the US Open to promote her confectionary brand and then pulling out of the competition altogether the following day citing an injury.

I can’t help thinking as this round up goes on that England’s hockey final would have been less widely reported on if they had won.  It seems the story is in loosing the penalty shoot out to Germans than it is in them being in the final.

The Independent on Sunday

After vowing about a month ago to up its reporting on women’s sport, the Indie is yet to break it’s word, with both the SSWA advert and mention of the England hockey on the front page of the sport section. Admittedly its then football for just under half the paper, but again it’s Laura Robson who signals the end of the football talk, with the Indie reporting on how a change in support team is bringing about a change in attitude.  The US Open 2012 also signaled the rise of Robson as the teenager beat Kim Clijsters and Li Na to make it into the fourth round so its understandable that both she and the press are looking forward to returning to the scene that kick started her brilliant year.

A full page is given over to the hockey final, whilst there’s also NIBs on the women’s team gold at the Modern Pentathlon World Championships, whether Tanni Grey-Thompson will become the new chair for the English Institute of Sport and what the future will hold for Hope Powell.



One comment

  1. The attitude to hockey is a bit of a strange one. There was coverage on the BBC interactive service but it wasn’t advertised for some reason, with the consequence that I missed the women’s final through getting the time wrong, though that may have been a blessing in disguise in view of the result. How many matches from both tournaments were actually broadcast I have no idea since they didn’t seem to want people to know about it, and as far as I can tell no other channel seemed to be carrying it.

    The England men winning in 2009 didn’t seem to do anything raise the profile of the sport outside the Olympics sadly – I don’t remember seeing anyone on any chat shows for instance, and it just seems that hockey is an under the radar sport compared with others one could name.

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