It’s a buzz word. It’s a loaded word. It’s a word that seemingly has a simple definition but one that is often filled with nuance and debate.
The media industry is no exception. What does diversity mean in the media world? Is it about the demographic composition of staffers? Is it about the demographic composition of editors, publishers, producers and people in management positions? Is it about the types of stories reported?
The Association for Women in Sports Media is, at heart, a diversity-based advocacy organization. Collectively, we want to see more women in all ranks of sports media — from positions of power and decision-making through the integral entry-level jobs. We want to see women be able to advance in their careers, and we want to ensure that any woman who chooses to work in sports media can do so in an environment that is free from hostility and harassment and other characteristics which cause her to feel “less than” simply because of her gender.
While we push for diversity within media organizations, AWSM looks at its own diversity, too. We strive to include in our membership women not only from all walks of life but also from all areas of the sports media. As we grow, we look to include not just traditional sports journalists but to be relevant and advocate for women in fields of public relations and online reporting.
To be an inclusive group is not always an easy task. That’s because women, even women in sports media, is not a homogenous group.
Because we are diverse, we have different experiences and attitudes and expectations which we bring to our daily lives, including our work life. There are cultural differences, generational differences, geographical differences, economic, racial, religious — the list of ways in which we can define and categorize ourselves seems nearly endless. In the end, we each view situations through our own unique perspective.
Strip away our individual expressions and we have the same base belief — that all women should have the opportunity to perform their jobs and advance in their careers whether they are covering a team or helping it put its best face forward. They should be able to do so in an environment free from gender-based criticism in its many and varied forms.
Our diversity gives us access to different experiences and points of view which make not just for a richer voice for AWSM but a much more powerful one. It is through the strength of our collective voice that we continue to advocate for opportunities and environments which help all women in sports media express their own unique talents.
– Amy Moritz
Note: Featured in the AWSM Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2011 edition.