Christine Brennan

Last updated
Christine Brennan
Born (1958-05-14) May 14, 1958 (age 60)
Toledo, OH
Alma materNorthwestern University Medill School of Journalism (BA and MA)
OccupationSports journalist
Years active1981-
Known forFirst president of the Association for Women in Sports Media
Notable work
Best Seat in the House (memoir)

Christine Brennan (born May 14, 1958) is a sports columnist for USA Today , a commentator on ABC News, CNN, PBS NewsHour and NPR, and a best-selling author. She was the first female sports reporter for the Miami Herald in 1981, the first woman at the Washington Post on the Washington Redskins beat in 1985, [1] and the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media [2] in 1988.

Sports journalism is a form of writing that reports on sporting topics and competitions.

<i>USA Today</i> American national daily newspaper

USA Today is an internationally distributed American daily, middle-market newspaper that serves as the flagship publication of its owner, the Gannett Company. The newspaper has a generally centrist audience. Founded by Al Neuharth on September 15, 1982, it operates from Gannett's corporate headquarters on Jones Branch Drive, in McLean, Virginia. It is printed at 37 sites across the United States and at five additional sites internationally. Its dynamic design influenced the style of local, regional, and national newspapers worldwide, through its use of concise reports, colorized images, informational graphics, and inclusion of popular culture stories, among other distinct features.

<i>Miami Herald</i> American daily newspaper

The Miami Herald is a daily newspaper owned by the McClatchy Company and headquartered in Doral, Florida, a city in western Miami-Dade County and the Miami metropolitan area, several miles west of downtown Miami. Founded in 1903, it is the second largest newspaper in South Florida, serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe Counties. It also circulates throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.



Brennan received bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. [3] After graduating, she began working for the Miami Herald , becoming the Herald's first female sports reporter in 1981. She covered the Miami Hurricanes during their trip to the 1984 Orange Bowl national championship game, after which she wrote her first book, The Miracle of Miami. [4] At the game, she connected with former classmate Michael Wilbon, who recommended her to his Washington Post editors; she joined the Post's sports staff shortly thereafter. [5] She covered the Washington Redskins beat for three years, [6] then moved on to covering the Olympic Games. She worked for the Post for 12 years before joining USA Today as its national sports columnist in 1997. [7]

The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications is a constituent school of Northwestern University that offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. It has consistently been ranked one of the top schools of journalism in the United States. Medill alumni include 38 Pulitzer Prize laureates, numerous national correspondents for major networks, and many well-known reporters and columnists. Northwestern is one of the few schools embracing a technological approach towards journalism. Medill received a Knight Foundation grant to establish the Knight News Innovation Laboratory in 2011. The Knight Lab is a joint initiative of Medill and the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern, one of the first to combine journalism and computer science.

Northwestern University Private research university in Illinois, United States

Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois, United States, with other campuses located in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, and academic programs and facilities in Miami, Florida; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco, California. Along with its undergraduate programs, Northwestern is known for its Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Feinberg School of Medicine, Bienen School of Music, Medill School of Journalism, and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Miami Hurricanes football College Football Bowl Subdivision team; member of Atlantic Coast Conference

The Miami Hurricanes football team represents the University of Miami in the sport of American football. The Hurricanes compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The program began in 1926 and has won five AP national championships. The Miami Hurricanes are among the most storied and decorated football programs in NCAA history. Miami is ranked fourth on the list of All-time Associated Press National Poll Championships, tied with Southern California and Ohio State and behind Alabama, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma. Miami also holds a number of NFL Draft records, including most first-round selections in a single draft and most consecutive drafts with at least one first-round selection. Two Hurricanes have won the Heisman Trophy and nine have been inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame. The team plays its home games at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Hurricanes' head coach is currently Manny Diaz.

She has written seven books on sports, including best-selling Inside Edge, about Olympic figure skating, which was named one of the top 100 sports books of all time by Sports Illustrated in 2002. [8] She is an on-air commentator for ABC News, CNN, PBS NewsHour, and NPR. [1] She has covered every Olympic Games, summer and winter, since the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Figure skating Ice sport performed on figure skates

Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, duos, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport included in the Olympics, in 1908. The four Olympic disciplines are men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating, and ice dance. Non-Olympic disciplines include synchronized skating, Theater on Ice, and four skating. From juvenile through senior-level competition, skaters generally perform two programs which, depending on the discipline, may include spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, death spirals, and other elements or moves.

<i>Sports Illustrated</i> American sports magazine

Sports Illustrated (SI) is an American sports magazine owned by Meredith Corporation. First published in August 1954, it has over 3 million subscribers and is read by 23 million people each week, including over 18 million men.

ABC News News division of the American Broadcasting Company

ABC News is the news division of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), owned by the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. Its flagship program is the daily evening newscast ABC World News Tonight with David Muir; other programs include morning news-talk show Good Morning America, newsmagazine series Nightline, Primetime and 20/20, and Sunday morning political affairs program This Week with George Stephanopoulos.


In 1988, Brennan was elected the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media. [2] A longtime advocate for women in sports journalism, she started AWSM's scholarship-internship program for female journalism students, which has honored more than 140 students. She funds two of the scholarships, which are named after her late parents. [9]

Association for Women in Sports Media is a volunteer-managed, 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1987 as a support network and advocacy group for women who work in sports writing, editing, broadcast and production, and public and media relations. The membership of more than 700 men and women includes professionals in the industry and students aspiring to sports media careers.

Brennan, a nationally known speaker, has written and spoken on issues ranging from the importance of Title IX to the behavior of professional athletes to the scourge of performance-enhancing drug use in sports. Her USA Today columns on Augusta National Golf Club helped trigger the national debate on the club's lack of female members. [10]

Augusta National Golf Club

Augusta National Golf Club, located in Augusta, Georgia, is one of the most famous golf clubs in the world. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts on the site of the former Fruitland Nursery, the course was designed by Jones and Alister MacKenzie and opened for play in January 1933. Its first club professional was Ed Dudley, who served in the role until 1957; Dudley was one of the top tournament professionals of his era, with 15 wins on the PGA Tour. Since 1934, the club has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course. It was the top-ranked course in Golf Digest's 2009 list of America's 100 greatest courses and was the number ten-ranked course based on course architecture on Golfweek Magazine's 2011 list of best classic courses in the United States.

Brennan is a leading voice on many topics involving sports in society, including the Ray Rice/domestic violence story. She is among the sports journalists to publicly pledge to no longer use the Washington Redskins name in her columns. [11]

Washington Redskins name controversy

The Washington Redskins name controversy involves the name and logo of the Washington Redskins, a National Football League (NFL) franchise in the Washington metropolitan area. Native Americans have been questioning the use of the name and image since the 1960s, while the topic has received widespread public attention since the 1990s.

Personal life

Brennan is from Toledo, Ohio. [12] Her relationship with her father in the context of sports fandom is covered in her memoir, Best Seat in the House. [13] Brennan is a member of the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University and a national trustee at the University of Toledo. [14]


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  1. 1 2 "My Washington: Christine Brennan" . Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  2. 1 2 Chambers, Deborah; Steiner, Linda; Fleming, Carole (2004-06-17). Women and Journalism. Routledge. ISBN   9780415274456.
  3. "USA Today columnist Christine Brennan speaks about the role of women in sports media". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  4. "Forever Entwined". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  5. "George Solomon and the Washington Post Sports Section Have Had Influence Everywhere in Media". The Big Lead. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  6. Frantz, Bryan. "Manley, Ewing Among 2016 D.C. Sports Hall of Fame Class" . Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  7. "Still No Cheering in the Press Box: Christine Brennan". Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  8. "The Top 100 Sports Books Of All Time". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  9. "The growth of women in sports journalism is stagnant". Poynter. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  10. Shipnuck, Alan (2007-07-27). The Battle for Augusta National: Hootie, Martha, and the Masters of the Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN   9780743255011.
  11. Kogod, Sarah (2013-09-12). "Christine Brennan to stop using 'Redskins' in USA Today column". The Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  12. Ross, Betsy (2010-11-09). Playing Ball with the Boys: The Rise of Women in the World of Men's Sports. Clerisy Press. ISBN   9781578604609.
  13. "Dad Was Christine Brennan's Biggest Fan". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  14. "Journalist Christine Brennan, Coca-Cola executive Steven Cahillane among 7 named trustees". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  15. "The Billie Awards". women's sports foundation. Retrieved 2008-05-26.