Work­ing in sports me­dia is no longer just a man’s game

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - SARAH PEP­PARD

SPORTS me­dia is no longer just a man’s game.

There are so many tal­ented fe­male faces break­ing down the bar­ri­ers in na­tional me­dia in re­cent years.

The most notable to my­self, and lead­ing the way is Sky Sports’ an­chor Rachel Wyse, then you have the likes of Jac­qui Hur­ley, Evanne Ní Chuilinn, Marie Crowe, Sinead Kis­sane, Cliona Fo­ley, and that’s just to name a few dom­i­nat­ing sports broad­cast­ing in Ire­land.

It’s safe to say, I think, that male dom­i­nance is well and truly a thing of the past, as sheer fe­male tal­ent and pas­sion makes its way up the ranks.

There was a time that there was a niche for women break­ing into sports me­dia be­cause it was so un­heard of, but now it’s just a ‘nor­mal’ sight, for want of a bet­ter word.

How­ever, I do find print me­dia is still a bit back­ward in that sense. It’s not very of­ten you see a fe­male bio in the sports sec­tion of a news­pa­per.

But women re­ally are tak­ing over the air­waves and TV screens in me­dia in Ire­land.

And in gen­eral away from sport, women are be­ing well rep­re­sented across the board. This year has seen the first all-fe­male pre­sent­ing team of Keelin Shan­ley and Caitri­ona Perry for the RTÉ Six One News.

On a his­tor­i­cal level in sport, Jac­qui Hur­ley was the first fe­male pre­sen­ter to co-present Sun­day Sport on RTÉ ra­dio one.

In more re­cent times, while the ap­point­ment of Joanne Cantwell as pre­sen­ter for the Sun­day Game for 2019 is a sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment for women in sports me­dia, it is in­ter­est­ing to note that she worked as a sports re­porter for around 18 years, start­ing off in TV3 and mov­ing to RTÉ, be­fore get­ting the gig.

So she worked hard to get where she is now. Per­haps harder than a man might of had to.

While some jour­nal­ists like Evanne Ní Chuilinn have come for­ward in the past say­ing they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ism in Ir­ish sports broad­cast­ing, I feel like this is be­com­ing less and less of an is­sue as more and more women make a name for them­selves in sports me­dia in this coun­try.

When I joined the week­end sports team in KFM as a pro­ducer two years ago,

there was no ques­tions asked about whether I was up for the job or not, be­cause the way I see it, if any­one thought I wasn’t ca­pa­ble, I wouldn’t have been asked.

I’ve had no bad ex­pe­ri­ences work­ing in ra­dio, and find there is a great mix of male and fe­male re­porters, and there are great op­por­tu­ni­ties for both equally.

When I was cov­er­ing lo­cal matches for print, how­ever, I did get a few smart alec’s mak­ing com­ments, not tak­ing you se­ri­ously, think­ing you don’t have a clue what you’re at.

But you just laugh it off, have a thick skin.

Be­cause the com­pe­ti­tion is so fierce now, the only chal­lenge I face in fu­ture, is mak­ing sure an­other woman doesn’t try and take my job!

And the re­ward­ing part; prov­ing the doubters wrong, that you are in fact well up for the task, and as shock­ing as it might sound to some, may in fact know as much about sport as men do.

I think male dom­i­nance is well and truly a thing of the past now as sheer fe­male tal­ent makes its way up the ranks

Joanne Cantwell with Dublin’s Con O’Cal­laghan last year.

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