Story by Linden Moore
Photo by Lori Shontz
On Friday, May 12, the University of Oregon student chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) hosted sports radio host and columnist Julie DiCaro. The Chicago-based sports journalist gave a public talk at the SOJC inspiring women to work together and feel confident in the sports media landscape.
“When we don’t all speak out, those of us who do are left to twist in the wind,” she said.
One of the topics DiCaro addressed was the self-censorship of women because they feel they have to be mindful of what they say on camera and on social media to prevent abusive comments.
“Self-censorship is a real concern for a lot of women,” she said. “We’re vulnerable to the fact that there aren’t very many of us. You’re taking a big leap when you speak out about something.”
She offered up her own example of being victimized by internet trolls.
“I think women start getting trolled because you speak out about something,” she said. “There’s a lot of men who don’t want women in sports, as they feel like it’s their little corner of the world.”
DiCaro talked about her “More Than Mean” campaign, for which she and fellow sportscaster Sarah Spain listened to unsuspecting men as they read abusive tweets to their faces. Although it left the two women vulnerable to social media backlash, it furthered the conversation around the topic of internet bullying toward women.
“It gave other women permission to talk about it because we had been suffering in silence alone,” DiCaro said. “This video was an example of moving a conversation forward because so many of us raise our voices together, and that’s not necessarily something that’s happening in sports right now.”
DiCaro also noted how important it is for women to not only speak out with one another, but to also become allies for each other.
“One of the lessons I’ve had to learn is that we’re not in competition with each other,” she said. “We can’t think that way if we want to succeed in this industry.”
One way to be an ally, she said, is to advocate for fellow women colleagues by retweeting a story of theirs or just letting them know you support them.
Overall, DiCaro hopes that because of what has happened to her and her response, young women will find the courage to claim their place in the sports media industry even if males expect something less.
“It’s hard to find your confidence and courage at your age, but find it as soon as you can,” she said. “You will go so much farther if you believe in yourself. Know your value. Don’t accept any less because you think that’s what they want from you.”
Linden Moore is a sophomore double-majoring in journalism and public relations with a focus on sports journalism and communication. She serves on the executive board for the SOJC’s Association for Women in Sports Media and is an active member of the Warsaw Sports Business Club on campus. She launched and serves as the campus editor for The Tab Oregon, a branch of a global media site established at over 70 schools across the United States. She will be interning at The Tab‘s headquarters this summer. See Linden’s online portfolio, connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her on Twitter @lindenmoore22.