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Journalism Showcase: SportsCenter Reporter Dives Into Growth of Girls Youth Flag Football - FlagSpin

Journalism Showcase: SportsCenter Reporter Dives Into Growth of Girls Youth Flag Football

“SC Report” is a regular feature of the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. Running approximately two minutes, the report focuses on an interesting news topic of the day.

National reporter Michele Steele is one of several reporters who contribute to the “SC Report,” and this week, she presented the second part of a two-part series on the exploding growth of girls flag football.

“Our bureau producer in California, Jessica Shobar, had initially flagged – pun definitely intended – this story to me,” said Steele, who is based in Chicago. “She saw the state she lives in was unanimously approving making girls high school flag football a varsity sport.

“I looked at it and thought it is a great story,” she said. “I think that we all know some of the trends around young people and their interest in sports, and here’s a sport that’s become, in pretty short order, the fastest-growing youth sport in the country. And it involves girls and growing the game of football by expanding the tent.”

As she looked into the story, Steele realized there was enough there for a two-part series, and the 6 p.m. SportsCenter team agreed. The first, which aired Feb. 6, was essentially on the growth in California, and the second part, which aired Feb. 14, delved into which states were coming next.

“We worked hand-in-hand with two NFL teams to secure information and to get sound on the ground for this story,” she said. “Whenever we do these news-of-the-day pieces, they force you to be incredibly resourceful because we don’t have four months to work on a story – sometimes you have closer to four hours.

Michele Steele
(Melissa Rawlins/ESPN Images)

“So when we can’t go to Los Angeles on that kind of turnaround, we called up our contacts at the [Los Angeles] Chargers and [Atlanta] Falcons and were able to get great video and sound from both coasts because both of those teams are working on significant girls flag football programs.”

Steele also interviewed former NFL player Izell Reese, the executive who is driving the NFL’s flag football program.

Steele praised the team she worked with on the series, including producer Patrick Abraham and editors Ashley Colley and Joe Formisano.

“They really shepherded these pieces with a lot of different video from different sources and helped make them enjoyable and informative for our audience,” she said.

“The response from viewers has been overwhelmingly positive,” Steele said. “So many women have said they wish they had this when they were coming up, and so many parents are saying ‘I’m so fired up for my daughter to be involved in this.’”

Watch on ESPN Instagram

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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