Sexist Olympics coverage reflects lack of diversity in journalism

Posted August 24, 2016

Olympic sports and athletes always become focal points for the media during the games, but this year some have pointed out flaws in the coverage of landmark female athletes.

People Magazine called Simone Biles "the Michael Jordan of gymnastics," comparing her to a male athlete rather than recognizing her accomplishments as singular. The Chicago Tribune downplayed trap-shooting bronze medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein's win in a tweet where it called her the "wife of a Bears lineman."

And while Simone Manuel made history as the first African-American woman to win an individual gold for swimming, NBC didn't air her medal ceremony until the middle of the night in the U.S., after it happened.

"They felt it was more important to air seven-hour-old footage of Russians doing gymnastics badly," Deadspin quipped.

There are many reasons for this, such as reporters not being knowledgeable about Olympic sports, but the Poynter Institute portends a more serious problem: a lack of newsroom diversity.

"While 45 percent of the athletes in Rio are female, only 21 percent of the press covering the Olympics are women," Poynter reported, citing a recent Cambridge University report. "It’s good to hold the media accountable in hopes of a better-reported 2020 Olympic Games."


Twitter: ChandraMJohnson


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