By Laura Quinones
A career in sports journalism is sought after by many and is hard to achieve, especially for women. Women journalists make up less than 30% of all jobs in sports media, but luckily, this number is growing. Sports personalities, such as Katie Nolan and Erin Andrews are gathering attention from the public and have been given opportunities to show their content to a larger audience. These women have also gathered a big number of fans via social media, using these platforms to spread their messages and connect with fans. While women working in the sports media field are admired in all different platforms, it is important to know that this visibility also leads to unwanted attention. Recently, women broadcasters and journalists have spoken out about the harassment they have received through social media, and the way it has negatively impacted them.
Social media has changed the communication between sports journalists and fans. Networking sites such as Twitter, allow fans to voice their opinion and interact with reporters themselves, in a very personal way. This type of connection is very beneficial for professionals, since it allows them to have a relationship with the fans that follow them. When it comes to social media, most women in the sports media field find that a big percentage of tweets focus on their gender or appearance. People also send direct messages to them mentioning their looks or asking if they are single. A viral video posted on youtube titled #morethanmean, looked at harassing tweets sent to sports reporters Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro. The video had real men read tweets that are sent to these sports journalists on a daily basis. Most of them were crude, inappropriate, and disrespectful. It was a shocking video that portrays the darker side of social media.
Famous people in the public eye constantly faze criticism and judgement on what they do. Before social media, people would only share their opinions with those around them. Now, people can write a message and have it directly sent to anyone in the world, even people they have never met. This sense of power and anonymity can cause people to say horrible things online, and it negatively impacts others. In the case of sports journalists, it can affect the way they feel about their jobs, accomplishments, and themselves. Even with this, social media is still a very effective and important tool that reap great benefits. Just like there are a million people that use the internet to be rude, there are a million more that use it to support. It is important that professionals focus on the message that is being sent to the fans, as well as the interaction with their supporters. The support from the fans is what drives sports journalists and gives them energy to do what they love. A reason to admire female sportscasters, such as Erin Andrews, is that they don’t let the awful comments bring them down. Instead, they let the negativity motivate them, fuel their drive, and focus on their careers.