Opening the sports-reporting ranks

by Alexandria Valdez

In the locker room of the Green Bay Packers after the team’s training-camp scrimmage, I was one of only four women reporters roaming among the players.

Although I’ve known that there is a dearth of female sports reporters in the industry, the shortage became more evident that day as I reported for the Green Bay Press-Gazette. During our Chips Quinn training we talked a lot about diversity, but there are many versions of diversity besides the one we focused on, ethnicity. As I’ve gained journalism experience, I’ve seen how females are lacking in the sports-reporting world.

I joined my campus newspaper the first semester of my freshman year at the University of Montana. Only one other woman was a sports reporter, but she switched to design after one semester. Since spring of 2012, I have been the only female sports reporter on the staff of the Montana Kaimin.

My love for NASCAR racing drew me to sports reporting. Call it what you want, but I fell in love with the fast cars, the purr of the engines and the excitement that comes with every race. It never seemed weird to me that, as a woman, I couldn’t or shouldn’t be a sports reporter.

It was an amazing experience to be at the Packers scrimmage and also to see some of the women asking players the tough questions.

The other sports story I got to do at the Press-Gazette involved auto racing and the merger of the American Le Mans series and the GRAND-AM Road Racing series. Again, I did not see many women as I walked around the paddock area.

Going to events with the Press-Gazette’s sports reporters let me peek into a possible future I could pursue. I would like to be a beat reporter for a professional team, and having the exposure in Green Bay, however small, allowed me to experience something that I can strive toward. It also motivated me to prepare well for this fall as I continue to report about sports for my school paper.

I hope that other women who are pursuing a sports-reporting career will have an opportunity similar to mine at the Press-Gazette. We haven’t quite broken through the glass ceiling – it continues to be a work in progress.

Alexandria Valdez is a senior journalism student at the University of Montana. She was a Summer 2013 Chips Quinn Scholar for the Green Bay (Wis.) Press-Gazette. Valdez started working at the Montana Kaimin, the school paper, as a freshman and has been the only female sports reporter since spring 2012. She participated in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute in May 2012.


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