This morning I heard the news that Sports broadcaster Rebecca Wilson had died aged 54.
Rebecca has been one of my favourite sports journalists for many years. Although she had connection within the world of journalism with her father and brother being correspondents and sports journalists respectively, one thing that I can say about her is that here is a woman who knows her shit. Or knew…
I hesitated to write “woman” because if I’m being totally honest, and you know I like to be, one could simply describe her as a person who knew their stuff. She is well versed in all sports around the country and around the globe.
She is one of those female sporting journalists that more than match it with the men in the industry. Just like Debbie Spillane and Karen Tighe, Rebecca Wilson was someone who you knew wasn’t there because she was the “hottest looking chick on the planet,” but she was there working on radio, television and in the print media talking about sport because she lived and breathed every hit, swing and miss, every tackle, every kick, every try and every goal.
I don’t want to take away anything from those younger female sports journalists that are coming through the ranks because these young ladies have just as many credentials and are just as knowledgeable as those three that I mentioned above. But when you look at the new breed of female sports journalist, you can get away with thinking that they got their job because they are ever so easy on the eye.
That’s not to say that Debbie, Karen and Rebecca have faces only their mother could love, but they come from a time when they were competing with ex-sports stars turned journalist and commentators who were legends of their respective sports and given roles in the media as draw-cards for punters and fans alike to watch the shows. Knowing that these women made it in that industry because they were brilliant at what they do makes their achievement that much better.
I just hope that the trend to employ younger women with faces for television doesn’t mean that the likes of Debbie Spillane, Karen Tighe, and Rebecca Wilson wouldn’t make it as a sports journalist in the future. I am in awe of all three women as they can rattle off statistics, remember results of games from yesteryear and are never backwards in asking the tough questions of today’s sporting stars.
Rebecca Wilson will be missed.