The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

COLUMN: Women in sports media are also women in sports

Zaria+Flippin
Sia DeyKoontz
Zaria Flippin

Happy national women and girls in sports day!

I’ve known for a while that working in the sports field is something I’ve wanted to do. Ever since I made the decision to make this my living and pursue my dream, I’ve truly never looked back.

Basketball was a big part of my life, and it was an avenue that helped me throughout my life. Basketball was a part of my life that I never wanted to let go. But I fell out of love with playing the sport.

Being a part of The News for a full year has helped me express my creativity through sports. If you told 10-year-old Zaria that there was a way for me to still be part of sports without playing the sport, I would’ve thought someone was lying to me.

This job has taught me a lot of things, but I think the main thing I have learned was how to be okay with taking risks and expressing my creativity.

I love making connections with athletes and coaches, and I love traveling and creating content in any shape and form.

I always knew that being a content creator was something that has always interested me, and I wanted to try something that the sports staff for The News hasn’t done a lot of: multimedia.

I think the biggest risk I’ve taken that has paid off were the Instagram Reels. It has shown a side of the athletes that not everybody gets to see, and that was my main goal: to showcase and highlight on how athletes are still humans.

This job has also taught me how to be a leader. Training a staff as big as the one we have now can be a little challenging, but it has taught me so much about myself as a person.

I see myself as a mentor for my staff. I want to create a safe space and environment for my staff so they feel comfortable to share any ideas they have.

Being a woman in sports is one of the most rewarding things in my life. I get to experience events that I would’ve never thought I could go to, like the NCAA Volleyball Tournament.

Now, I would be lying if I said that being a woman in sports is all pretty and amazing. Of course, I love my job, but it would be wrong to say that there are no challenges in this field.

The number of times I have been challenged or questioned about why I chose this field or how much I know is beyond me.

When I first started out, the assumption was, “Oh, you only want to do this to be around men all the time.”

Um, no. That’s definitely not the reason why I chose this job.

I think every woman in sports has also been asked the question of, “Can you name five players?”

Yes. What makes people think I can’t?

The biggest aspect of being a woman in sports that I dread is people, including athletes and coaches, not taking me seriously.

The video that always plays back in my mind is Cam Newton’s press conference with the Carolina Panthers and Jourdan Rodrigue, a Charlotte Observer reporter, when he said it’s “funny to hear a female talk about routes.”

In my opinion, I don’t think that’s funny. I think it’s Rodrigue’s job, and if it’s really that comical, then I think we need to work on his sense of humor.

Personally, there has not been a time when an athlete at Eastern has not taken me seriously. There are times when I’ll get questions about why I chose this path, and I give my honest answer, but there hasn’t been a time that any Eastern athlete nor coach thought less of me and questioned my knowledge.

I wouldn’t change anything in my life right now, as I am living out my dreams, meeting people who have the same goals and drive as me and putting my best foot forward in every article and video I write.

There are a lot of people I look up to in the sports field: Malika Andrews, Kimberley A. Martin, Mina Kimes, Sarah Spain, just to name a few.

I know that journalists are not the first thing people think of when women in sports are brought up, but journalists shouldn’t be forgotten as they should be a part of the conversation.

I am friends with a lot of women in sports media across the nation: Oklahoma, North Carolina, California, even Arizona.

When people forget about women in sports media when women in sports are a topic of conversation, it is hurtful. Not getting the recognition for all of the blood, sweat and tears I put into my job is disheartening in a way.

Women in sports media deserve a spot on the field, on the court and on the rink just as much as other women in sports.

 

Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.

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