A study published Thursday revealed a massive gender gap in the field of sports writing. The study was conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida on behalf of the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE). The researchers found that 95 percent of sports editors were men. In addition, the study found a lack of minorities on staff in APSE member publications, in which 94.7 percent of sports editors are white. According to study director Richard Lapchick, these findings reflect long-held concerns in the APSE program. Said Lapchick, “I expected [our findings] to be bleak, and [they] certainly were,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Additionally, the report found that women comprised less than 7 percent of all Associated Press sports columnists and only 12.6 percent of sports staffers at APSE’s over 300 member newspapers. John Cherwa, an Orlando Sentinel editor, commented, “I hope that any sports columnist who has chided a professional sports league for its lack of diversity will look at these results and decide whether they should be challenging their bosses to do better,” the LA Times reports.
The dearth of women in sports writing might lead to poor coverage. “On the high school and college levels, more than 40 percent of the student-athletes are girls and women,” said Lapchick. “Having that additional perspective might lead writers to ask questions or look at angles that might shed light on the particular situation of a [É] female coach or athlete.”