On Saturday, confirmation of Ireland’s qualification to the semi-final round of the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup was followed by this tweet from RTÉ’s 2FM:
While increased coverage in Irish media of women’s sport is welcome, is it really satisfactory for the state broadcaster to announce radio-only coverage half-way through a major international tournament?
Could we even imagine a world where this would be the kind of coverage given to the senior men’s rugby team?
I’ll try to respond to Damien in this post, since 140 characters isn’t nearly enough.
To give credit where it is due: RTÉ News’ sport bulletins have improved over the couple of last years – to go so far as leading with reports on the women’s squad, even before the recent New Zealand win; and there has been consistent coverage and reporting of the Irish women’s rugby squad’s achievements from the likes of Damien O’Meara and Game On 2FM, RTÉ’s Michael Corcoran, Mary White of The Irish Examiner, Gavin Cummiskey of The Irish Times, Dan Sheridan and Billy Strickland of Inpho, the photojournalists of Sportsfile, and precious few other Irish journalists.
Indeed, reporters are more often than not present at fixtures and events.
The question is whether or not Irish eyes can fix on moving images of women on a playing pitch: through the medium of television. Will a report or footage end up on the cutting floor; and if a piece is published or broadcast, just what treatment will it get?
We can only judge on what has gone before, so let’s work back from this latest tournament.