The University of Maine and Bowdoin College women’s basketball teams both got coverage in the Portland Press Herald’s March 16 and Maine Sunday Telegram’s March 17 editions, deservedly so for repeating their achievements of last year in winning their respective regional championships and advancing to the NCAA tournament in their respective divisions.

But there is a noticeable difference in the attention given to each team. On March 16, it was reported that Bowdoin was that day playing for the national championship in Division III, while Maine was entering tournament play in Division I, with opponent, place and date to be determined. It seems to me that unless you are a loyal Maine fan, or perhaps a sportswriter enthusiastically following Maine’s journey, it should not be too difficult to acknowledge that Bowdoin’s 31-1 record and pending national championship game are especially worthy of top billing.

And yet, Maine gets a front-page story, with photos on Pages A1 and A6, plus a three-quarter-page spread with two stories on the front page of the sports section (Page D1), including a 6-inch-by-10-inch photo, and three more photos with the lead story.

Bowdoin, a day away from playing an unbeaten team for a national championship, warrants only a relatively brief seven- to eight-paragraph story and a tiny photo on Page D1. Next day, in the Telegram’s March 17 edition, Bowdoin’s loss does lead the sports section (Page C1), but the adjacent piece on the Maine team’s upcoming tourney status, which is essentially a repeat of the previous day’s content by the same sportswriter, is a much longer article, with two photos.

Does a larger public university’s sports team somehow deserve to be celebrated in grander fashion than a smaller, private college’s team, when both bring pride to the state? Surely, more balanced coverage of both teams would have been more equitable and appropriate.

Michael Beaudoin


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