Amy Burton

December, 2023

Blog, Press Release

AWM 2023 Year in Review

2023 has proven that the only thing predictable in the world of media is the unpredictability. As I look back at previous year’s Year in Review– that’s been a theme many times and held true again. There have been ups and downs, advertising uncertainty, volatility in the market – all the while holding onto hope of possibilities for a stable 24.

The SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes gave the public a glimpse into the world of media. While late-night television was dark, news was on, which created curiosity and confusion for the public but opportunity to better understand how partnerships work. One of many key topics was muddling through how to “work with AI” while the pace of use and implementation was accelerating. Other industries will have the gift of hindsight to view what our industry did as a case study.

While every facet of media has been touched by emotional swings in 2023, that are sure to continue in 2024, what holds true is resiliency of our people. Talent in front of and behind the camera and microphones are consistently telling the stories – for entertainment when we need a break, news when we need to understand.  

AWM has been celebrating these storytellers for nearly fifty years. This year, we added a record number of members, created two new programs including our Member Networks and AWM Coaching all while continuing to host our Gracie Interview Series, offering ongoing education through webinars and an exclusive panel on “Turn Job Loss into Career Advancement”. At a time when females behind the camera and microphone had a lack of recognition, we produced a Directors Tribute at the Gracie Awards. Take a few minutes to watch seeing the impact women have had for years on storytelling.

I am still in awe of the bravery it took for a group of women, who were part of NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), to sign AWM into existence more than 70 years ago and then creating an awards program to celebrate the programming and individual talent created by, for and about women. Therefore, despite a year of unpredictability for AWM, the mission of advancing women in media continued.

The AWM leadership – including the boards of directors for our association and foundation are unmatched. Their tireless efforts to grow AWM are having an impact for the future of women in media. We ask you to join, donate and engage – stay connected as we head into another year with unpredictability being very predictable.

I’m looking forward to recharging my battery over the holidays with my family. With two active teenagers at home, as so many can appreciate, integrating work into time with our kids is fulfilling and exhausting. I’m a better mom and steward to AWM with organized chaos but looking forward to watching/listening to all the highlights from television, streaming, radio and audio I’ve missed!  

Cheers to a fabulous 24!

As we say at the close of our events
Good night, Gracie!
Becky Brooks
(Proudly) President, AWM & Foundation

Amy Burton

November, 2023

AWM Foundation, Blog, Press Release

The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation Urges Year-End Support for Giving Tuesday

As the year draws to a close, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF), the philanthropic arm of the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM), is reaching out to its community to rally behind the mission of advancing women in media through educational programs and scholarships. AWMF is gearing up for the season of giving and Giving Tuesday on November 28, urging contributions to sustain the Foundation’s impactful initiatives.

How You Can Support:

  • Make a Donation: Visit https://allwomeninmedia.org/foundation/make-a-donation/ to make a tax-deductible donation. Your contribution will directly impact the lives of women in media through scholarships, educational programs and giving scholarships for Gracie Award Entries.
  • Spread the Message: Use your voice on social media to spread awareness about AWMF’s mission. Share personal stories, experiences, and the impact of supporting women in media using the hashtags #AWMFGivingTuesday and #GivingTuesday.
  • Partner with AWMF: Partner with AWMF to amplify the impact of your commitment to advancing women in media. Visit Sponsorship — (allwomeninmedia.org), to learn more.
  • AWMF Events: Engage by participating in upcoming programs like AWM Coaching, AWM Connects, and Gracie Interview Series.

Celebrating Past Scholarships: AWMF takes pride in its scholarship programs, which support students pursuing careers in media and journalism. These scholarships not only provide financial assistance but also open doors for young women to reach their full potential in the media industry. In 2023 alone, the AWMF provided The AWMF and Podcast Movement Scholarship, AWMF Scholarship in Honor of Barbara Walters, The AWMF & NCTA Scholarship and The ESPN Scholarship.

AWMF’s commitment to recognizing and empowering future generations of women in media remains steadfast, and supporting AWMF on Giving Tuesday and through year-end giving will ensure the continuation of these vital initiatives.

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For media inquiries or additional information about The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, please contact:

Jenny Ditto
Awards & Public Relations Manager
Ph: 513.407.3637
jenny.ditto@allwomeninmedia.org

About the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF): In 1960, the Alliance for Women in Media became the first professional broadcasting organization to establish an educational foundation. The AWMF supports and promotes educational programs, charitable activities and scholarships to benefit the public and media industry. The Foundation also produces nationally acclaimed recognition programs, including the Gracie Awards®, honoring exemplary programming created by, for or about women and individual achievement. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, educational organization. For the latest news on the Gracies, follow The Gracies on InstagramTwitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. For more information visit www.allwomeninmedia.org/gracies.

Amy Burton

November, 2023

Gracies Leadership Award, Press Release

Alliance for Women in Media Honors Eight Female Leaders at the Gracies Leadership Awards

Photos from the event can be found here.

November 13, 2023 (New York, NY) – The Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) hosted the Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon, on Monday, November 13 at Tribeca 360° in New York City, recognizing the outstanding contributions of eight remarkable female leaders. This year, the event ushered in a new era featuring the Inaugural Gracies Icon Award recipient, Delilah, who’s inspiring life and career was highlighted with a captivating fireside chat alongside Erica Farber, President & CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).

“Very few people in the world are known by one name, and here we have Delilah.”  When asked her thoughts on receiving the first ever Gracies Icon Award, Delilah exclaimed, “I am so blessed and so honored and thank you… I won a Gracie years ago and I thought that was the top for me.”

The eight honorees represent a diverse array of talents and achievements across various media platforms, ranging from broadcasting to digital media. Their stories serve as an inspiration to aspiring female leaders, including students attending as part of the Google News Initiative Fellowship, encouraging them to break barriers and make a lasting impact.

Highlights from the speeches include:

  • Kay Olin, AWM Legacy Leadership Award recipient, began her remarks by saying, “Thank you seems like such an inadequate word to express how honored I am today…the only thing better than awarding a Gracie, is receiving one.” Olin continued, “The most humbling thing about standing here and accepting this award, it’s not about one person, leadership is a shared experience, it’s teamwork—to my village, I say Thank You.”
  • Susan Larkin, Chief Operating Officer, Audacy, began her acceptance noting, “There’s two words that you’ll hear through my remarks, gratitude and team… we know as leaders, we don’t do this ourselves.”
  • In accepting the honor, Rashida Jones, President, MSNBC, said, “We are leaders here, for a mission and with a responsibility… while becoming the first in anything is an incredible honor, and one that I take very seriously, I know for a fact no one ascends on their own. It takes a village of supporters, mentors and sponsors for each one of us to get here, and I’ve been lucky to have a host of mentors, many of them women, but even luckier to be a mentor… because it’s important to pay it forward.”
  • Suzanne Grimes, President, Westwood One and EVP of Corporate Marketing at Cumulus Media, highlighted a previous battle with breast cancer and pivotal life event, noting the frequent stigma around women’s health issues and proudly stated, “as women and leaders we have the power to change this dynamic.” 
  • Rebekah Dopp, Executive Vice President, Distribution, Strategy and Affiliate Relations, The CW, concluded her acceptance by emphasizing, “Our industry and the work that we do is critical. Everyone belongs here and our industry must reflect the society we live in… in this circle, let’s continue to celebrate what unites us and overcome what divides us.”
  • Rosalyn Durant, Executive Vice President, Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN proudly pointed out, “Over half the executives at ESPN’s table are women, let us acknowledge that is what true leadership looks like, and that’s what real change agency looks like.”
  • Lori Locke, Executive Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), expressed gratitude “I want to thank my work colleagues at Warner Bros Discovery, some of those are here to support me, we make an incredible team together… #oneteam I am committed to upholding the principles ­­­­­of leadership that this Gracie Award represents.”

“This room is unique, bringing together leaders from television, streaming, radio, audio and digital medias in one space… the only experience of its kind.” said Becky Brooks, President, AWM/F.

 “We exist to connect, recognize and inspire women across our industry. This program is one of my favorite events as it reflects those three pillars,” added Heather Cohen, Immediate Past Chair, AWM/F and President, The Weiss Agency. “Each of these women have such a tremendous impact on our industry. They all have accolades and accomplishments, and we have an opportunity to hear from each one personally… and notable today, what an honor to have Delilah, one of the greatest in our business, as our inaugural Gracies Icon Award recipient.”

Throughout the event, the common themes of lifting the next generation, that achievement happens through nurturing relationships and building great teams were reiterated and reflect AWM’s mission of connecting, recognizing and educating women in media.

Sponsors of the event include: Audacy, Clear Channel Outdoor, Cumulus Media, ESPN, Exponent, Google News Initiative, Katz Media Group, KPMG, NBC Universal News Group, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, Warner Bros. Discovery, Westwood One, and WideOrbit.

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For more information about the Alliance for Women in Media and the Gracies Leadership Awards, please visit allwomeninmedia.org

About the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM): The Alliance for Women in Media connects, recognizes and educates women across the media industry. AWM is a diverse community that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, education, and innovation. Established in 1951 as American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), AWM is the longest-established professional association dedicated to advancing women in media. AWM harnesses the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.

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Media Contact:
Jenny Ditto 
859.514.3008
jennyditto@allwomeninmedia.org

Amy Burton

November, 2023

Blog, Press Release

Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) Partners with the International Coaching Federation Foundation (ICF) to Offer Exclusive AWM Coaching Program

The Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) is proud to announce a new partnership with the International Coaching Federation Foundation (ICF). This collaboration will provide AWM members with the unique opportunity to access professional coaching at an exclusive discounted rate.

Program Overview: Through the AWM Coaching program, participants will be paired with a credentialed coach, holding the titles of Associate (ACC), Professional (PCC), or Master Certified Coaches (MCC). These ICF Credential-holders have completed rigorous education and practice requirements, emphasizing their commitment to excellence in coaching. Participants in the AWM Coaching program can anticipate a series of six to ten coaching sessions with their individual ICF Coach, ensuring a productive and tailored coaching experience. The schedule and goals for these coaching sessions will be established between the coach and participant.

Information Session: Discover the tremendous value of ICF professional coaching by joining on November 30 at 2 pm ET for an informational webinar. Register for the event here.

Application Deadline: To take advantage of this exceptional member benefit, submit your application for the AWM Coaching program by the application deadline of 5 pm ET on December 8, 2023.

Why AWM Coaching: To continue the Alliance for Women in Media’s mission of over 70 years advancing women in media, AWM Coaching serves to provide its membership the benefit of boosting their personal and professional growth in the media industry through the transformative power of professional coaching.

Amy Burton

October, 2023

Blog, Press Release, The Gracies

49th ANNUAL GRACIE AWARDS CALL FOR ENTRIES ANNOUNCED BY THE ALLIANCE FOR WOMEN IN MEDIA FOUNDATION

October 12, 2023 – The Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF), is proud to open the call for entries for the 49th Annual Gracie Awards.

“For nearly five decades, The Gracie Awards have illuminated the trailblazing work of women in media and stand as a tribute to exceptional content produced by, for, and about women and we look forward to celebrating and honoring those who continue to shape the landscape of news and entertainment,” affirms Becky Brooks, President of AWMF. “As our primary annual fundraising event, the Gracies empower the Foundation to fulfill its mission of advancing women in media through scholarships and programming.

The 49th Annual Gracie Awards will once again shine a spotlight on exceptional talent across various media categories, including radio, television, streaming, and podcasting, from creatives, including writers, broadcast journalists and actors, to technical categories, including producers, directors and showrunners. Entries are invited from media professionals, networks, and organizations, showcasing their dedication to advancing the portrayal and representation of women’s voices in media content.

Once again taking on the roles of co-chairs for the 2024 Gracie Awards are Heather Cohen, Executive Vice President at The Weiss Agency, Annie Howell, Chief Communications Officer at Hallmark Media, and Mike McVay, President of McVay Media Consulting. Vicangelo Bulluck, an Emmy Award-winning industry veteran with extensive experience in awards production, has been at the helm of the Gracie Awards since 2016 and will continue to serve as the producer for the 2024 Gracie Awards.

Key Information for Submissions:

  • Eligibility Air Dates Period: January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023.
  • Early Bird Submission Deadline: December 14, 2023
  • Deadline for All Entries: January 18, 2024
  • Submission Guidelines including updated Categories and Entry Forms: https://allwomeninmedia.org/gracies/call-for-entries/

About the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF): In 1960, the Alliance for Women in Media became the first professional broadcasting organization to establish an educational foundation. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation supports and promotes educational programs, charitable activities and scholarships to benefit the public and media industry. The Foundation also produces nationally acclaimed recognition programs, including the Gracie Awards®, honoring exemplary programming created by, for or about women and individual achievement. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, educational organization. For the latest news on the Gracies, follow The Gracies on InstagramTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook. For more information about the Gracie Awards and to submit your entries, please visit www.allwomeninmedia.org/gracies.

About The Gracie Awards

The Gracies Awards is the largest fundraiser of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation which advances women in media through educational programs and scholarships. The Gracie Awards honors exemplary programming and individual talent created by, for and about women. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation has created partnerships and joint initiatives with the Emma Bowen Foundation, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), NCTA – The Cable and Telecommunications Association and other organizations that are philosophically aligned with the mission of the Foundation. For more information about The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation and the Gracie Awards please visit allwomeninmedia.org and follow on Twitter (@AllWomeninMedia), (#TheGracies), Instagram (@allwomeninmedia) and Facebook.

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Media Contact:
Jenny Ditto 
859.514.3008
jennyditto@allwomeninmedia.org

Amy Burton

October, 2023

Gracies Leadership Award, Press Release

Alliance for Women in Media Announces Radio Legend Delilah as Inaugural Recipient of the Gracies Icon Award

October 10, 2023 – The Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) is proud to announce radio legend Delilah will be honored with the inaugural Gracies Icon Award at the 2023 Gracies Leadership Awards. Delilah, often referred to as the “Oprah of Radio,” will be celebrated for her outstanding contributions to the world of radio and her unwavering commitment to uplifting and empowering listeners.

“We are thrilled to present the first-ever Gracies Icon Award to Delilah,” said Becky Brooks, President of the Alliance for Women in Media. “Delilah’s remarkable career in broadcasting has been a source inspiration and empowerment for countless women in the industry. Her commitment to connecting with her audience through the airwaves is truly exceptional. Delilah embodies the spirit of the Gracie Awards, and we are honored to celebrate her achievements at this year’s event.”

With a career spanning over three decades, Delilah has captured the hearts of millions with her soothing voice, open heart, and love for music. She currently holds the title of the most-listened-to woman on radio in the United States.

Delilah’s career has garnered numerous accolades, including her induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2016 and the prestigious National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2017. Her induction into the NAB Broadcast Hall of Fame was a historic moment, marking the first time in 35 years that a woman received such a distinction. Delilah also earned a coveted Marconi Award for “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year” from the NAB in 2016. Furthermore, she is a regular recipient of the “Most Influential Women in Radio” honor by Radio Ink and previously received the “Outstanding Host Entertainment/Information” award at the Alliance for Women in Media’s 37th Annual Gracie Awards Gala.

Delilah’s unique blend of storytelling, empathetic listening, and encouragement, all accompanied by adult contemporary music, has made her a top-ranked radio host with both female and male listeners in cities across the nation. She has described her show as a “safety zone where listeners take off their armor, slip into a ‘Mr. Rogers’ cardigan, sit around the electronic hearth, and share their secrets.”

In addition to her illustrious on-air radio career, Delilah is an author and also a radio station owner, purchasing the radio station that provided her with her broadcasting start at age 14, KDUN AM in Reedsport, Oregon, in 2021.The station was bankrupt at the time of her purchase, providing her an opportunity to restore the only local market media resource to the community.

Beyond her work in radio and writing, Delilah’s dedication to improving the lives of children is truly remarkable. As a mother of 15 children, 12 of whom she adopted, she founded the Point Hope foundation in 2004 as a voice for forgotten children worldwide.

The Gracies Icon Award celebrates Delilah’s outstanding career, dedication to her listeners, and her relentless commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others. AWM is proud to honor her at the Gracies Leadership Awards on November 13 at Tribeca 360° in New York City, alongside previously announced honorees, Rebekah Dopp, Rosalyn Durant, Suzanne Grimes, Rashida Jones, Susan Larkin, Lori Locke, and Kay Olin.

Special thanks to sponsors of the Gracies Leadership Awards including, Audacy, Clear Channel Outdoor, Cumulus Media/Westwood One, ESPN, Google News Initiative, Katz Media Group, NBCUniversal News Group, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, and WideOrbit.

For more information about the Alliance for Women in Media and the Gracies Leadership Awards, please visit allwomeninmedia.org

About the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM): The Alliance for Women in Media connects, recognizes and educates women across the media industry. AWM is a diverse community that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, education, and innovation. Established in 1951 as American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), AWM is the longest-established professional association dedicated to advancing women in media. AWM harnesses the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.

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Media Contact:
Jenny Ditto 
859.514.3008
jennyditto@allwomeninmedia.org

Amy Burton

October, 2023

Gracies Leadership Award, Press Release

ALLIANCE FOR WOMEN IN MEDIA ANNOUNCES GRACIES LEADERSHIP AWARDS TO HONOR SIX WOMEN IN MEDIA

Kay Olin to Receive AWM Legacy Leadership Award November 13 at Tribeca 360° New York

October 5, 2023 – The Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) proudly announces the distinguished recipients of the 2023 Gracies Leadership Awards, celebrating the remarkable achievements and groundbreaking contributions of women in leadership.

The awards luncheon will take place at Tribeca 360° in New York on Monday, November 13, promising an unforgettable afternoon celebrating the accomplishments of these extraordinary women and their collective influence on future generations.

This year’s honorees represent a formidable group of industry leaders:

  1. Rebekah Dopp, EVP, Distribution, Strategy & Affiliate Relations, The CW
  2. Rosalyn Durant, EVP, Programming and Acquisitions, ESPN
  3. Suzanne Grimes, President Westwood One and EVP Corporate Marketing, Cumulus Media
  4. Rashida Jones, President, MSNBC
  5. Susan Larkin, COO, Audacy
  6. Lori Locke, EVP and Chief Accounting Officer, Warner Bros. Discovery

In addition to honoring these exemplary leaders, AWM will recognize Kay Olin, Owner and President of Olin and Associates, and former President of Local Focus, with the Legacy Leadership Award. This award acknowledges her profound impact on the organization and her distinguished service in leadership roles, including her tenure as past AWM Chair.

Becky Brooks, President of the Alliance for Women in Media, remarked, “We are immensely proud to honor these leaders in media who have not only excelled in their respective fields but have also served as beacons of inspiration for future generations. Their unwavering dedication to shaping the media landscape with inclusivity and innovation makes them true leaders in every sense. We look forward to celebrating their outstanding achievements at the Gracies Leadership Awards, as they continue to illuminate and advance the path forward for all women in media.”

Special thanks to sponsors of the Gracies Leadership Awards including Audacy, Clear Channel Outdoor, ESPN, Google News Initiative, Katz Media Group, NBCUniversal News Group, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, Westwood One and WideOrbit.

For more information about the Alliance for Women in Media and the Gracies Leadership Awards, please visit allwomeninmedia.org

About the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM): The Alliance for Women in Media connects, recognizes and educates women across the media industry. AWM is a diverse community that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, education, and innovation. Established in 1951 as American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), AWM is the longest-established professional association dedicated to advancing women in media. AWM harnesses the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.

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Media Contact:
Jenny Ditto 
859.514.3008
jennyditto@allwomeninmedia.org

Amy Burton

September, 2023

Blog, Gracie Interview Series, Press Release

Lemonada Media Founders Share Insights in Gracie Interview Series with Heather Cohen, Executive Vice President, Weiss Agency

View Interview Here

[September 6, 2023] On Thursday, September 7 the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) will release the latest Gracie Interview Series with Lemonada Media’s founders, Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs, in conversation with Heather Cohen, immediate Past Chair, AWM Foundation, Executive Vice President, Weiss Agency.

Lemonada Media is an award-winning podcast network known for its thought-provoking and socially impactful content. In this insightful conversation, Lemonada’s founders discuss their journey, their commitment to storytelling, and their dedication to amplifying diverse voices within the media landscape. As part of AWM’s ongoing mission to empower and celebrate women in media, this interview provides a unique opportunity to delve into the minds behind Lemonada Media, a company known for its commitment to authenticity, inclusivity and “making life suck less.”

Furthermore, Lemonada Media has gained recognition for its compelling podcasts, which tackle critical social issues, foster meaningful conversations, and explore a wide range of topics, from mental health, women’s issues to racial justice and more.

In this engaging interview, Lemonada’s founders share:

  • The inspiration behind Lemonada Media and its commitment to creating content that matters.
  • Their experiences navigating the ever-evolving podcasting industry.
  • Insights into the importance of diversity and inclusion in media.
  • Upcoming projects and initiatives aimed at promoting underrepresented voices.

The interview with Lemonada Media’s founders will be available on the Alliance for Women in Media’s website on September 7. AWM members are encouraged to tune in to gain valuable insights into the world of podcasting and media entrepreneurship.

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About the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM): The Alliance for Women in Media connects, recognizes and educates women across the media industry. AWM is a diverse community that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, education, and innovation. Established in 1951 as American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), AWM is the longest-established professional association dedicated to advancing women in media. AWM harnesses the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.

CONTACT:
Jenny Ditto
Awards & Public Relations Manager
Jennyditto@allwomeninmedia.org

Amy Burton

August, 2023

AWM Foundation, Blog, Scholarships

Marissa Kraus’ Essay, “The Impact of Women in Sports Media,” an AWM Foundation and ESPN Scholarship Project

Marissa Kraus was the recipient of the 2023 Alliance for Women in Media Foundation and ESPN Scholarship. Kraus is an undergraduate student attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Journalism. What follows is her project essay on The Impact of Women in Sports Media.


The Impact of Women in Sports Media

Like many things in women’s history, finding a place for females in sports media took a while. Although sports media is still heavily male-dominated, it has drastically grown over the past century, particularly the last two decades.

In the last 20 years or so, sports media has progressed significantly in terms of racial diversity, gender equality, and in eliminating entities like sexism and misogyny, according to Anna Clemmons with Global Sport Matters.  

Of course, getting to that point wasn’t easy. Schools unfortunately don’t teach the history of women in sports media (although that would be an awesome class!) so I did some of my own research. My key takeaway? There are countless women that have contributed to women’s progress in sports media that would not fit in this essay. Phyllis George, Jayne Kennedy, and even Robin Roberts are all names that aided in the growth of women in the industry. Furthermore, it is also important to note milestones like Title IX, which encouraged women to pursue careers in sports media.

Of course, one can’t talk about the history of sports journalism without mentioning ESPN. While there are many prominent female broadcasters, sideline reporters, writers and producers with ESPN today, it wasn’t always like that. When network sports television began in the 1940s, it was majority male and wasn’t until 1975 when a female had a prominent role in network sports broadcasting, according to Doug Mead with Bleacher Report.

Today, ESPN reporters like Lisa Salters, Holly Rowe, and Pam Ward are recognized for their lasting impact on women in sports media. In fact, another well-known name, Shelley Smith, has made a direct impact on me.

During my sophomore year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I learned of the name Shelley Smith, who actually attended UNL. In fact, many of the current faculty went to school with Smith and know her personally. As a budding journalist, this caught my attention, so I began to research more about Smith. I found that she was not just an ESPN reporter, but one of the most impactful female sports reporters in the industry. Her impact started at UNL at the same college newspaper I currently work for, the Daily Nebraskan, where she was the sports editor and even pushed to get access to the Nebraska men’s locker rooms. How cool is that?

Since then, multi award-winning Smith has worked for many publications including Sports Illustrated before landing at ESPN first as a part-time reporter and now as one of their top sports writers. She has also written three books and is an outspoken supporter of the National Breast Cancer Foundation after becoming diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014.

To say that Smith impacted me would be an understatement. Her story and influence inspired me so much that I set up an interview with her and had the pleasure of talking with her personally. This conversation, which spanned from her memories of working at the Daily Nebraskan to stories from reporting for ESPN, was such an incredible opportunity. If I wasn’t sure about going into sports media before that phone call, I certainly was after.

There are so many other inspiring women in sports media who have paved the way for journalists like me, and I am forever grateful for their willingness to challenge the status quo. If it hadn’t been for those early female journalists who rallied for a spot on the sports broadcast, or for Melissa Ludtke who went to federal court to guarantee female reporters equal protection rights, the state of women in sports media would not be where we are today.

Beyond just getting a spot at the table, the progress of women in sports media has allowed progress in diversity too. Having diversity in sports media is important for more representative coverage, allowing underrepresented populations and issues to be recognized more by the public. However, diversity does not just mean gender, and women’s progress is just the start. As women’s growth in the industry continues, how can we gain diversity in other areas too, like race, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status? Now that is a shower thought for every supporter of journalism.

Continuing to increase diversity is important for not only the future of women in sports media, but for all people in media.

There are more women in sports media than ever before, and it is an honor to be a part of that piece of history. Learning its history has shown me that nothing will change until someone is willing to get out of their comfort zone to make that change. While I may not be a Shelley Smith, I hope to make my own impact in the industry and maybe even inspire another budding female journalist one day.


If you have any questions about current and future AWM Foundation scholarships, please visit https://allwomeninmedia.org/foundation/scholarships.

Donate today to support the future of women in media, https://allwomeninmedia.org/foundation/make-a-donation.

Amy Burton

August, 2023

AWM Foundation, Blog, Scholarships

Carsen Smith’s Metaverse, an AWM Foundation and NCTA Scholarship Recipient Project

Carsen Smith was the recipient of the 2022 Alliance for Women in Media Foundation and NCTA – the Internet and Television Association Scholarship. Carsen is a graduate student attending Columbia University studying Film MFA. Her scholarship project, Metaverse, is set in the year 2032 depicting an array of women working in the “modern day metaverse.”


If you have any questions about current and future AWM Foundation scholarships, please visit https://allwomeninmedia.org/foundation/scholarships.

Donate today to support the future of women in media, https://allwomeninmedia.org/foundation/make-a-donation.