In the first of several analysis regarding the gender coverage bias in Oregon high school media, I start with the largest media presence in Oregon sports: The Oregonian. In the interest of transparency and accountability, here is how EOG calculated the totals: All game articles/previews, conference previews/awards, state awards, any posted results, athlete spotlights (including recruiting), team spotlights, sport specific issues (ex. football playoff changes), and coaching news. Any articles referencing general college recruiting (ex. OSU recruiting class) or athletes not from Oregon were not included, nor were instances of accusations about school conduct. The time frame covered was from August 11th, 2021 to June 28th, 2022, which was when this was conducted and documented. Here are the results:
As anticipated, football led the way with a total of 230 articles written during this time frame. A note that was made is that the Oregonian had at least two instances of covering solely football during a given week in their written coverage during the season, including updating the Top 10 rankings from the OSAA in majority of weeks this season. Out of all the comparable sports, boys received more coverage in basketball, wrestling, baseball, golf, and lacrosse, a combined margin of 35 more articles for boys out of those sports. By comparison to football, volleyball being the lone girls only sport received only 20 articles this season, a miniscule 8% fraction of the football coverage this season.
Furthermore, football received more coverage in the off-season than volleyball did during the season, with approximately 50-60 football articles being written when the sport was outside the traditional season (August to November). The Oregonian did give more love to girls soccer, cross country, swimming, tennis, and track, a combined margin of 17 more articles for girls out of those sports. Between the sports that received more love for one gender over the other, boys still received more than double the amount of coverage to that of girls in those respective combined totals.
When the grand totals came out, the Oregonian wrote 664 total articles this season that were accounted for in the count. Out of those, boys received 67.1% of all coverage this year with 446 articles, while girls received 32.9% of coverage with 218 total articles this year. In total, 2/3rds of all sports coverage from the Oregonian in 2021-22 was written about boys, a statement about where their priorities lie in the realm of providing coverage in high school sports. When the forces that control the coverage and narrative around high school sports are against girls, it is a systematic barrier that works directly against their interests and ability to garner publicity.
An email to the Oregonian requesting comment or response to EOG’s findings went unanswered as of the time of this publication.