SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane has a long, storied sports history, but until recently Spokane's media outlets have never had a female sports director.
That changed when Brenna Greene recently stepped into the sports director role at KREM 2 News. Greene was formerly KREM’s weekend sports and anchor and reporter.
Greene made headlines in late December with a tweet about the hurdles she’s overcome as a woman in the business.
“A few years ago a sports director said he had concerns about hiring me because I was a girl, and he was worried that I physically couldn’t handle shooting a whole game with a big camera,” Greene tweeted while covering Washington State University in the Alamo Bowl. “Tonight I was the only girl on the sideline shooting. And I did a damn good job.”
That tweet has been shared and liked more than 60,000 times.
KREM talked to Greene about how she got her start, the biggest challenges she’s faced and what advice she has to girls who hope to follow in her footsteps.
KREM: When did you first realize you wanted to be a sports reporter/director?
Brenna Greene: It was something that gradually happened over time. I grew up going to Oregon football games and so I was just around a lot of television through that. That progressed into me reading the sports page every day on the way to school. Eventually that progressed into me knowing at a later age I wanted to do something in sports. I’d grown up around so much media as a Duck fan, that this is just what I first thought of. I never really faltered on my goals and dreams once I made up my mind that this is what I wanted to do.
KREM: What have the biggest challenges been to get here?
Brenna Greene: Too many. I don’t even know where to begin. Getting your foot in the door first off. After that, actually not freaking out when you’re on camera (I still have my first ever sportscast from my first job. It’s awful. That DVD will be hidden forever, haha). Then obviously as I referenced in the tweet, a lot of sexism. Some of it comes from men when I'm out in the field. Sometimes it's pretty tame (an example of tame in my world would be cat calling), and sometimes it's extremely blatant and uncomfortable. I could literally tell stories for days. Obviously, I’ve had to deal with men doubting me within the profession as well. Normally that just makes me work harder though because I want to prove them wrong. I’d say that’s worked out pretty well thus far!
KREM: What does it mean to you to be the first female sports director in Spokane?
Brenna Greene: Everything. This community means the world to me. It’s where I found myself and came into the person I am today. To be able to break this barrier in this community is such an honor. If one little girl sees me in charge and knows that they can be in charge, regardless of the profession they choose, then that’s pretty cool. There are not many female sports directors in the entire country, so to be in that small group as well means so much. I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity.
KREM: Why do you think your tweet was shared so widely?
Brenna Greene: Honestly, it totally shocked me that it got so big. I expected a few of my friends who had walked this journey with me to like it and that would be about it. I think it just has to do with the fact that women are more vocal than ever in terms of speaking out about the barriers that are placed upon us, and breaking those down. I think it just resonates with the basic notion that people are constantly told they can’t do something, and everyone loves a story of someone overcoming the “can’t.”
KREM: What issues are there in sports journalism that still hold women back?
Brenna Greene: I think the main issue is not enough women in positions of power. That can be in both “behind the scenes” positions or on-camera positions like the one I hold. We need more women in those positions so that our perspective can be understood more. I also think a huge issue is that girls in this industry can be just seen as pretty faces a lot of time, especially by the public. Women in sports in particular are valued for their attractiveness way more than their tenaciousness or their ability to just plain do their job. You rarely see guys in this industry have to deal with those standards. I’m here to do a job, not just look pretty and smile.
KREM: What advice do you have for girls who aspire to work in sports journalism?
Brenna Greene: Especially in sports, you need to learn how to do nearly everyone’s jobs in the station. I shoot, produce, make graphics, edit video. There is so much more that goes into a sportscast than just standing in front of a camera. It’s a grind, but it’s extremely rewarding. I’d say 5 percent of my day is actually me standing in front of a camera. The rest of the time I’m working toward making that 5 percent of my day go smoothly.