Panel, Q&A set to discuss harassment of women in sports media

November 03, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In April, a video titled #MoreThanMean called out the insulting and obscene harassment routinely heaped on two female Chicago sports reporters. That video has been viewed more than 3.7 million times and started a national conversation.

Now, the women featured in the video — Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain — are visiting Penn State. 

Their free public discussion and question-and-answer session will be conducted at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, in Freeman Auditorium of the HUB-Robeson Center, University Park.

VIDEO: #MoreThanMean (Warning: Contains graphic language.) 

Their visit is coordinated by the campus chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) as part of the ongoing Conversation Series conducted by the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, housed in the College of Communications at Penn State.

“The video made a huge impact on me and I loved seeing all the support and positive reactions after the video was released,” said Anita Nham, president of AWSM at Penn State. “I’m really excited for Sarah and Julie to visit so people at Penn State can learn more about the video, the outcomes from the video and to address the issue of women working in the sports industry.”

DiCaro is columnist for CBSChicago.com and a weekend host and update anchor for 670 The Score (WSCR-AM) in Chicago. She studied journalism and French at Indiana University before earning her J.D. at DePaul’s College of Law. She worked for 15 years in criminal and family court before she moved to sports media.

A Cubs blogger since 2007, DiCaro has written for such outlets as Deadspin, Huffington Post, Red Eye and Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron. She previously worked as a social media manager and sports anchor for WGN Radio and launched Aerys Sports, the only online sports network run entirely by women.

Spain works for ESPN and contributes to “SportsCenter,” “Outside the Lines” and “Around the Horn,” among others. She also contributes to espnW.com, ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio. She joined ESPN 1000 in 2010 after previously writing a popular sports blog on ChicagoNow.com, acting as a recurring guest-host of “ChicagoNow Radio” on WGN AM-720 and doing freelance writing. Spain also worked as a sideline reporter for the Big Ten Network and hosted the Coors Light Fantasy Players Minute, an online fantasy football show. 

She previously started MouthpieceSports.com, acting as a producer, writer and reporter. Before returning to the Midwest in 2008, Spain, who grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois, spent six years in Los Angeles, where she graduated from the Second City improv comedy conservatory, worked as an associate producer for “The Final Score” on Fox Sports Net and did freelance acting, sports writing and hosting.

“We really appreciate Julie and Sarah joining us to talk about this important piece of work,” said John Affleck, the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the Curley Center. “While the language abusers use online is vulgar in the extreme, we feel the subject needs of social media trolling has to be addressed.”

AWSM is an international organization that works as a support network and advocacy group for women who work in sports writing, editing, broadcast and production, and public and media relations. AWSM works to promote and increase diversity in sports media through its internship and scholarship programs. The group provides mentoring for young female professionals entering into sports media. This association serves as a watchdog for women in sports media, promotes fair portrayals of females in the industry, and enforces positive work environments and equal access to opportunities.

The Curley Center explores issues and trends in sports journalism through instruction, outreach, programming and research. Along with core courses in sports writing, sports broadcasting and sports information, the Curley Center places an emphasis on internships and hands-on experience with broadcast, multimedia and print outlets as well as with league, sport and team publicity and sports information operations. The Center emphasizes co-curricular activities (on and off campus) and the quality of students as well as the reputation of the program have produced many one-of-a-kind experiences. Partnerships with news organizations have led to opportunities covering the Paralympics, the Penn State baseball team’s historic visit to Cuba, Penn State football in Ireland, the Olympics, the Final Four and many more.

Last Updated November 03, 2016