September 09, 2003

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is being sued for discriminating against white male applicants in its sports department. "The PD has not hired a white male sports writer -- full-time, from outside The PD -- since 1989," claims Marty Gitlin.

posted by rcade to general at 06:47 PM - 21 comments

What a dope. Write your damn stories and move along.

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:54 PM on September 09

jason, I think that's a little unfair. For all we know, he may have a legitimate beef. The article is a bit ambiguous, and it seems the only source cited is Gitlin himself. And he doesn't really seem to have his numbers lined up. Everything is an "estimate" and "by his calculations". To wit:

"The basic problem here, to my knowledge, is that The PD has not hired a white male sports writer -- full-time, from outside The PD -- since 1989," Gitlin says. By his calculations, the 10 or so openings have all gone to blacks or women -- save for the hiring of columnist Bud Shaw. He estimates that "80 percent of sports writers nationwide are white males. That indicates policy to me." He almost seems to lack conviction in his own complaint.

posted by vito90 at 07:17 PM on September 09

"He almost seems to lack conviction in his own complaint." Exactly. He seems more upset he wasn't picked for his dream job so he looked for a way to get compensation or revenge. Maybe this is the attitude that resulted in him not getting hired. It seems like he had a decent career ... why ruin it with accusations that lack conviction? Not to mention, this seems a bit funny to have surfaced after the NY Times fiasco.

posted by jasonspaceman at 08:16 PM on September 09

So the Cleveland Plain Dealer is the last newspaper on earth with a sports section I take it? Making it impossible for him to get a job somewhere else? Sorry, discrimination against women was (and arguably is) the norm, this just sounds dumb. Perhaps if no other paper will hire him either than maybe the reason why the PD won't hire him mightjust be that he's not as good as he thinks, conspiracy or no.

posted by Space Coyote at 10:43 PM on September 09

Impossible to even comment on. I've sat in enough high level meetings to learn that we have problems in hiring minorities. I can't even count how many times a colleague or peer has elbowed me and made a comment about blacks or hispanics. Maybe this guys sucks as a writer, but maybe there is something deeper going on. Turn about is fair play until it happens to you, right? But it isn't going to be solved by a bunch of people like us anonymously posting our opinions hidden behind our usernames.

posted by usfbull at 11:57 PM on September 09

amen usfbull!

posted by garfield at 07:14 AM on September 10

Gitlin says in the article that he's "in favor of affirmative action," but this lawsuit shows that he's only in favor of it until his own interests are involved. If he's genuinely for the policy, he should accept the fact that the Plain Dealer is practicing it aggressively and find some other windmill to tilt at. Besides, I'd be surprised if his stats about no white hires since 1989 was true.

posted by rcade at 07:54 AM on September 10

I always have a problem with claims like this. In cases where discriminatory hiring practices are almost universal, I can see the point of suing sometimes, but this guy said it himself: 80% of sports writers are white guys. So go to one of the places where the staff is 80% white males, jerkass! We really need to chill with the lawsuits.

posted by Samsonov14 at 08:04 AM on September 10

We really need to chill with the lawsuits. amen sammy!

posted by garfield at 08:30 AM on September 10

But it isn't going to be solved by a bunch of people like us anonymously posting our opinions hidden behind our usernames. But..but..but..aww man! You've taken all the fun out of the internet now. Next to porn, isn't that the main reason the internet was invented? *wanders off to watch some TV instead*

posted by grum@work at 08:50 AM on September 10

Cool. Most white guys all sound the same anyway. Face it, we're boring - even to each other.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:13 AM on September 10

speak for yourself, weedy. i'm awesome.

posted by garfield at 10:16 AM on September 10

I'm supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:42 AM on September 10

Amen garfield!

posted by jasonspaceman at 11:56 AM on September 10

Fine I take it back - you're all awesome. I'm boring. And white. Man, am I ever white.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:42 PM on September 10

I can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Actually I can copy and paste supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from WC's post. Does that mean the CPD should hire me to be a columnist? And, if not, is it because I'm a pale white guy--like David Bowie but not so thin or English?

posted by billsaysthis at 12:45 PM on September 10

Sportswriting is a brutal profession to get into. If you expect to be paid well and fairly for your work, then you're in the wrong field. That's why I took my journalism degree into the Web content business and I do my sportswriting for fun on my own time. If you truly love it, then do it for love and love alone.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 05:05 PM on September 10

Someone once made a pretty good comparison between sportswriting gigs at newspapers and airline seats: just about everyone pays a different price, not the same. It's possible that the Plain Dealer isn't hiring white males from outside of the department. It's also possible that the Plain Dealer doesn't hire reporters from smaller competitors in the same market, which isn't an uncommon situation in major metropolitan areas. It's not so much evidence that reporters at the smaller papers are terrible or of a reluctance to decimate the smaller paper's staff. It is more of a pride thing. If you're the sports editor at The Biggun Times, there's always (a) arrogance that the local Podunk Daily doesn't measure up to your staff; and (b) a fear that it reflects poorly upon you if you're constantly using the Daily as your farm club -- as in "why are you missing this talent in the first place?" So in one instance, this guy was the clearly the best beat guy in a major West Coast city, while working on the third paper in the market. However, the No. 1 paper didn't think he was "good enough". So he had to go to markets in the Midwest and East Coast before the No. 1 paper decided that he was good enough to come back and work for them. To me, this is more likely than a "policy" to force white guys to come in as editorial assistants if they want to become full-time staffers.

posted by jackhererra at 09:12 PM on September 10

grum, if it helps any, my pants were around my ankles when I posted that.

posted by usfbull at 09:34 PM on September 10

Scott: A lot of professions are brutal to enter, but I don't think that means it isn't worth trying 1. One of the things that has to be a bitch about a sportswriting career is that it's the dream job of millions of people. 1: However, I took my journalism degree to the Internet also.

posted by rcade at 04:35 AM on September 11

I took my journalism degree (USC '83) and MBA (Rutgers '87) to the software industry as a programmer. Neither degree was all that much help since I never took a computer class but I did enjoy the parties, especially in LA.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:01 PM on September 11

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