EDITOR’S NOTE: ESPN is celebrating the 45th anniversary of Title IX with cross-platform content across television, digital and radio, including a 24-hour marathon of live and classic women’s sports programming, as well as dedicated features and stories on espnW.com. Jenn Holmes, deputy editor, espnW, explained to Front Row how espnW strategized its editorial focus around the anniversary of this landmark event.
Being a site focused on women in sports, there are year-round opportunities to talk about Title IX and its influence. In the last year or so, a lot of those stories have focused on campus sexual assault and whether universities are or are not compliant. But as this is the 45th anniversary of this groundbreaking piece of legislation, we really wanted to show through a variety of stories how many touch points it has.
With espnW’s features editor Laura Marcinek at the helm, we started planning at the beginning of the year, brainstorming within our own espnW editorial team, and also working with the SC Featured team to give it a 360-degree examination. We planned our features to complement the best women’s games curated for TV, along with our Nine for IX films. We also collaborated on a Whiteboard project, “Nine Things You Didn’t Know about Title IX,” voiced by espnW’s Kate Fagan, that explains some little-known facts about Title IX and debunks some myths around the law. Even we learned some things while putting together the script for it!
To kick off our week-long digital run, we slated a feature on legendary coach Carol Hutchins and how her lawsuit in the 1970s as a freshman basketball player at Michigan State changed the landscape for Title IX. We followed that with a look at how women having more sports options has actually hurt American golf. Mid-week, Mechelle Voepel examined the challenges still faced by women in college athletic departments, and Thursday we promoted a Q&A with Tina Sloan Greene, the first black head coach in women’s college lacrosse, who explained Title IX’s impact on women of color. And we capped the week with a video featuring Julie Foudy and her visit with the San Diego Splash — a basketball team of women aged 85-91, who share stories of struggling for equality in athletics before Title IX came to be.