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Discussion on Being a Woman in Sports Journalism

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SportsTVJobs.com: You’ve recently written an article for SportsTVJobs.com about what it’s like being a woman in sports journalism, in the article you share many personal experiences and also interviewed ESPN’s Suzy Kolber and Cindy Brunson about their experiences in the business. Let’s start with the personal side – there are three arenas for sports journalists – the newsroom, the press box and the locker room – how hard was it to gain respect in each of these areas?

Pam: At first I think it is pretty intimidating because as a woman you are the minority. When you walk in I think a lot of men have a preconceived notion that you don’t know as much about sports as they do. In my case, my dad groomed me to watch sports and to play sports so for me it was second nature. I never had a problem because once co-workers and athletes got to know me, they knew that I knew what I was talking about, but it can be extremely intimidating. You have that sort of ‘probationary period’ where you’re really being scrutinized and you have to go above and beyond to show that you can really do these jobs.

The locker room situation, maybe the first 5 or 10 times you go in there you just kind of pray you get what you need, people are courteous to you and you get out unscathed. I was fortunate not to have any negative experiences, of course I had athletes blow me off or not be too kind to me, but nothing that scarred me or nothing that made me hesitant to want to go in and do interviews after that.

SportsTVJobs.com: Interestingly Suzy Kolber and Cindy Brunson have very different opinions on the locker room experience and its importance.

Pam: When I interviewed both of them I kind of told them I feel like there should be a neutral interview room, I would enjoy us all going into an interview room, let the guys cool off. I mean who after a bad day at work wants to stand there half-naked and explain why they had a bad day. I don’t think any occupation wants to do that. I feel like it would be more respectful to them to go into a neutral interview room.

When I asked both Cindy Brunson and Suzy Kolber what they thought, it was interesting Suzy kind of sided with me. She said it’s a disgusting place, I don’t want to be in there, men reporters don’t want to be in there and the athletes don’t want you in there. She said when I go in, I make the best of it but I don’t want to be in there it’s not a good place for anybody.

Cindy Brunson had a really good point though, she said when you go into the locker room you get that raw emotion of someone who went in to the clubhouse after a tough game. Her point was athletes give us so much in clichés but it’s nice to get something raw an emotional out of them. In an interview room it would give them time to cool down, gather their thoughts, and take away some of that emotion that we really need in sports.