Media coverage audits show gender gap persists

MGN Online

New year, same old stuff when it comes to college basketball coverage, gender-wise: Men’s college hoops receive three times the coverage of women’s hoops.

Power Plays, thanks to their “intrepid tracker” Tori Burnstein, released its latest #CoveringtheCoverage audit of women’s vs. men’s sports coverage in newspapers and on television. As in previous studies, the weekly newsletter looked at six national newspapers and tallied women’s sports stories, men’s sports stories, WBB and MBB stories, as well as scheduled men’s and women’s basketball telecasts for the entire month of December.

Once again the results were, sadly, no different from previous study results, basically confirming the longstanding gender imbalance and inequitable coverage:

  • 95% of newspaper coverage is by men, 5% by women
  • 34.5 women stories and 103.5 men’s stories in December 
  • USA Today had more women’s basketball stories (4) than men’s (3)
  • New York Times had the highest percentage (12.75%) of women’s stories
  • Washington Post had the most women’s stories (30.5)
  • Chicago Tribune had the worst with only five women stories
  • 52 men’s games on national television compared to 17 women’s games

“This didn’t surprise me,” wrote PP’s Lindsay Gibbs of her report’s findings.

The MSR also conducted a sports coverage audit, mostly on the Minneapolis Star Tribune. We did check out two St. Paul Pioneer Press sports sections as well over a 23-day, six-week period (Jan. 14-Feb. 12). We used the same Power Plays criteria: total stories, men stories, women stories, WBB stories, MBB stories and televised games listings.

We found the local sports coverage breakdown to be as follows:

  • 474 sports stories total by both Twin Cities dailies: women (135) and men (337)
  • 77% of Pioneer Press stories were men, 22% women—2 WBB and 1 MBB 
  • 70.5% of Star Tribune stories were men, 29% women—51 WBB and 79 MBB
  • 428 traditional MBB televised games as compared to 70 WBB games (six of which were streaming)

 As Gibbs said of her report, we too found no surprises in our analysis.

Charles Hallman/MSR News Dr. Richard Lapchick

Progress stalled

The latest College Racial and Gender Report Card of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools shows a continued lack of diversity within athletic leadership, says The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES). A new TIDES report card released Jan. 26 gave the schools an overall D-plus grade and an F for gender hiring.

“I was disappointed that these groups didn’t get better,” TIDES Director Richard Lapchick told the MSR on the underrepresentation of women and people of color in such college leadership positions as chancellors and presidents, athletic directors, faculty athletic representatives and conference commissioners. 

White people held 82% of the 395 campus leadership positions, and over 74% were White men. Meanwhile, nine Black men are university chancellor or president.

The TIDES report gave racial hiring a B-minus: 12 Black men are ADs, one more than last year, and three Black women, also an increase of one from last year. There was a not quite two percent increase from 2020 in Black assistant football coaches.

On a positive note, however, Lapchick did point out the “unprecedented” hiring of Black coaches. “More than half of the head coaches hired in Division I basketball were Black, and half of women hires were Black.”