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The Shirley Povich Center at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism and espnW Team to Explore the Challenges Facing Female Athletes and Female Sports Journalists


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The Shirley Povich Center at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism and espnW have teamed to host a one-and-a-half day conference titled “Women, Sports and Media: Coverage, Careers, Consequences” April 20-21. In the first of its kind, this conference aims to facilitate conversations between professional journalists and academics that will explore challenges facing both women journalists covering sports and women athletes being covered.

The conference, to be held in the College’s Knight Hall on the University of Maryland campus, will include panels that bring together researchers and professionals.

“Research about women and sports occurs frequently at universities across the globe. Merrill College is honored to connect these cutting-edge scholars with industry leaders and athletes,” Philip Merrill College of Journalism Dean Lucy Dalglish said.

Laura Gentile, senior vice president of espnW and women’s initiatives, remarked: “This is a collaboration unlike anything we’ve ever done and believe that the capability and perspectives of the academic community and the experience of the journalism community will complement one another to increase awareness around issues specific to female journalists, female athletes, and female audiences.”

ESPN’s Claire Smith will be a keynote speaker. Smith was the first African-American women to cover Major League Baseball on a daily basis.  She recently won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the top honor for a baseball writer. Smith is a coordinating editor for ESPN’s universal news group, with an emphasis on baseball.

Cheryl Cooky, an Associate Professor of American Studies at Purdue University, will also give a keynote speech, focusing on how sports journalists cover female athletes. Cooky, who has a Ph.D. in Sociology and Gender Studies, studies the ways gender shapes experiences, cultural meanings, and societal structures in sports.

Other panels will include a mix of academics, athletes and professional and student journalists to discuss research findings about the status of women sports journalists, the availability of sports programming for women fans, and coverage of women athletes, both amateur and professional. A final plenary will address the state of the industry and recommendations moving forward.

Registration for the Conference is open here:

Information on the Call for Papers is here:

About the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism:

The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism is a resource for journalists, academics and the public who want to explore the complex role of sports in society. The Center is led by its director, George Solomon, who was assistant managing editor for sports at the Washington Post from 1975-2003.

About espnW:

espnW is a global multiplatform brand dedicated to engaging and inspiring women through sports., the brand’s content home, offers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and captures the biggest trends in sports life/style.  espnW also provides a unique point of view on the sports stories that matter most to women and highlights the crossroads of sports and culture. Founded in July 2010, espnW’s content and voices live across digital, television, radio, films, events, educational platforms and social media.

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