If you happened to tune into the Northeast Conference (NEC) Front Row for the Mount St. Mary’s versus Sacred Heart women’s basketball game on Jan. 21, you witnessed a historical event for NEC broadcasting. Although fans were only able to see Tykera Carter ’18, graduate student Morgan Miller and Dominique Patrick as on-air talent, 14 other women behind the scenes helped put together the NEC’s first ever all-women broadcast.
What had started out as a plan for just on-air talent and the control room to be staffed by women turned into a full-fledged broadcast team made up entirely of women when Brian Thorne, graduate professor of Studio and Live production at the School of Communication, Media and the Arts (SCMA), proposed the idea just a day before tip-off. Graduate students Shannon Szefinski and Lauryn McNair took initiative and reached out to local Sacred Heart University (SHU) female graduates of the SCMA program to see if they would be interested.
“We had people come back who had graduated two or three years ago and they were so down for it when we told them what it was for,” said Szefinski. “Everyone was all-in about it and everyone wanted to make it happen.”
Before the broadcast began, Thorne told all of the women something they would not forget.
“You are not remarkable females,” said Thorne. “You are remarkable humans.”
Word spread online as the Sacred Heart Athletics Twitter account posted just minutes before the broadcast started, which created buzz on all social media platforms, and even local television.
“It was really special, and I didn’t realize the magnitude of it until right when it was happening,” said Szefinski.
According to ESPN.com, only about 16% of sports editors are women, and only about 14% of reporters are women which is an increase from 10% in 2018. Furthermore, the first all-female Major League Baseball (MLB) broadcast done by Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) was not until October of 2021.
Graduate student Shannon Torres has seen the SCMA program grow from a male dominated field to a nearly 50-50 split. Torres encourages incoming female undergraduates to join the sports media and production field, with confidence and trust in themselves.
“As long as you are willing to and want to, you will be on the same level as everyone else, whether they are male or female,” said Torres.
This will be the first of many all-female broadcasts for the SCMA program as they expect many more women to join the field in the coming years.
The Crew List: Control Room: Lauryn McNair (Director), Shannon Szefinski (Technical Director), Shannon Torres (Producer), Cynthia Gomez (Replay), Graphics (Kristen James), and Ana Ramos (Audio).
Camera Operators: Lauren Baker, Camila Cayere, Laura Willoughby, Brooke Leshin, and Natalie Discenza.
Talent: Tykera Carter (Play-by-Play), Dominique Patrick (Color), Morgan Miller (Sideline), and Rose Hadsell (Booth Asst.).
On the Floor: Shaina Blakesley (In House Feed) and Allison Hogue (SID).