Event Recap: October 9, 2014 Breakfast Panel BEYOND THE FIELD: Women in Sports Media and the Challenges they Face.

DSC_1265Over 40 WISE Cleveland members, colleagues within the industry, and collegiate student members gathered at the Embassy Suites on Rockside Road in Independence on Thursday October 9 for a breakfast panel discussion, BEYOND THE FIELD: Women in Sports Media and the Challenges they Face.

Moderated by Membership Chair of the chapter Lauren Harris, the three panelists included:

  • Susan Polakoff Shaw – Chief Media Maven and 2014 WISE Woman of the Year in Sports
  • Lisa Levine – Sports media consultant and presenter for the 2013 WISE Woman of the Year in Sports
  • Emily Lauer – Vice President at Fahlgren Mortine and Crisis Communicator for the 2013 Senior Games

Collectively the three female media mentors discussed openly their network of peers and challenges throughout their personal life as they achieved career milestones. These challenges are what helped them grow as they moved forward in decision making and high pressure environments in an ever changing industry. With personal stories from International events such as the Beijing and Sochi Olympics to hot topics of professional athletes within the NBA or NFL team scandals to the most recent Senior Games held in Cleveland the panelists delivered an interactive, informative, educational and fun morning to all those in attendance.

Key WISE “Take Away’s” from the panel include:DSC_1266

  • Understanding the Chain of Events and Know the Dynamics of the Situation
    • There are two (or sometimes three, or four) sides to every story. Before reporting, or acting to place that PR Spin on a sticky situation, be sure to understand and listen to everyone involved. Sometimes moving fast to evaporate any negativity that might be brewing from the chain of events, slow down and get everyone involved on the same page. Take the time to “coach” all individuals on how to respond and realize it is okay in some manners to Pause, Pass and Keep the Focus on the issue at hand vs. addressing anything that is not proven or not factual


  • Bloggers, Social Media and Knowing WHO is Appropriate to CREDENTIAL
    • In the past, issuing media or event credentials or approving who has “special access” to any type of high profile event was done based on history or credibility of the sources – such as a long standing print newspaper or magazine publication. Today a creditable media outlet may be a web blogger or a YouTube video personality that has millions of fans. They key is two-fold:
      • (1) Do your research – read all their posts, comments and fan feedback. Ask around or send colleagues their links to pre-read. If the social media outlet receives a credential, set the tone of what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior for the level of credential being issued to them
      • (2) Stay current. No matter what age level you get to in your career – Tweet, Post, and Follow. It’s important to be the best at your job and never reach “Dinosaur Status” Keep relevant and encourage others to do the same
  • Social Media Accounts
    • Your social media accounts are a reflection of YOU – and ultimately who you work for. Do not post emotionally based words or photos or anything questionable by not just your employer, but all clients.
  • Make it a 1-Day Story
    • Good or Bad, the media is always looking for the “next thing” so it’s okay to make your news, your companies news, or those you are working for a 1-Day story with lots of coverage vs. a long, drawn out controversial story that needs plenty of follow up or smaller stories published