Viewer Spotlight: Initiatives that Scripps News stands behind, and why

Viewers called into the Scripps News hotline this week with thoughts about our coverage of the WNBA.
Scripps News Viewer Hotline
Posted at 12:57 PM, Jun 21, 2024

Each week, the Scripps News Viewer Spotlight shines a light on the thousands of calls we've received from viewers on our toll-free Viewer Hotline.

This week, we want to respond to your feedback about our coverage of the WNBA.

Here's one recent viewer call:
"Your station is losing credibility constantly interjecting WNBA news sports stories as major. You have a financial interest in it. You broadcast some of these games. You ought to be ashamed of yourself constantly bringing up the WNBA when you have a financial motive."

Yes. The E.W. Scripps Company — which owns Scripps News — does air WNBA Friday night games on our sister network, ION, and we disclose that relationship in our coverage.

Related Story: As interest in women’s basketball grows, WNBA gets a new TV partner

Scripps News and our local stations have promoted the Friday night spotlight games on air, as we do — with disclosure — in support of other parent company initiatives like the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the Scripps Howard Journalism Awards and our charitable annual "If You Give A Child A Book" fundraising campaign.

Our parent company, the E.W. Scripps Company, has been vocal about partnering with — and spotlighting — women's pro sports, and bringing women's sports content to new, national audiences. In addition to the WNBA broadcasts, it recently inked a deal with the National Women's Soccer League to broadcast Saturday night double-headers on ION, along with previews, halftime shows and other soccer content.

But aside from our transparent promotion of WNBA games on our sister network ION, women’s basketball does not get disproportionate coverage at Scripps News. We cover it as news warrants, including when that news happens on competitor networks.

Related Story: Games starring Caitlin Clark have broken WNBA viewership records for 6 TV networks this season

Women’s basketball is having a moment. Thanks in no small part to the drafting of popular college players like Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark, we're seeing women's pro basketball dominate the cultural consciousness on a much larger scale.

The league just reported the highest-attended opening month in its history — with record arena sell-out rates — and record television viewership. That, in itself, is newsworthy.

We consider editorial independence and transparency to be critical to earning and keeping our viewers' trust. A smart viewer should be skeptical of what they see and hear and the motivation behind it.

Your feedback helps keep us accountable to those values.

Tell us more about what you think. Leave us a message 24/7 on our toll-free Scripps News Viewer Hotline at 1-833-4-Scripps.