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Connecticut: Tina Thornton (ESPN) & Grace Chirumanzu

At ESPN, we also met up with Grace Chirumanzu, a journalist in Zimbabwe and mother to be! At seven months pregnant, she was brave enough to leave her other baby son with her family to come here for an experience that she has been “waiting for all my life.”

She has been mentored by Tina Thornton, Senior Coordinating Producer at ESPN and the two of them really seem to be learning from each other, about work, life and trying to balance it all.

From an early age, Grace dreamed of becoming a star sports reporter. Quite a dream for a young girl living in a country where no female sports reporters existed. According to Grace, sports journalism is a field that many women avoid. In the newsrooms, women are either harassed or dismissed, which “discourages many women from trying.”

Currently, Grace is one of only four female sports reporters/journalists in the country. Through her blog and newspaper outlets, she continues to push for an increase in the quantity and quality of sports coverage for women and girls.“Women deserve to have their voices heard. I want to be the voice for the voiceless. I want to become the first female sports editor in Zimbabwe.”

As a reporter, Grace prides herself in uplifting female athletes, even when they have poor performances. “It is not my job to destroy someone’s personality, but to be constructively critical and to build them up.” The media has to highlight and inspire other women to take up sport and that won’t happen through condescending commentaries. Grace encourages other female reporters to “look past the laptop on which they are typing to the lives and the people that are going to receive it.”

The journey ahead will not be easy, but Grace is confident that this program has helped launch her back into her field with more enthusiasm and knowledge than ever. She said, “It doesn’t come on a silver platter, you have to work for it…and i’ll be doing that by working hard myself. If i’m to come here, spend one month away from my family, it should be a great example for my kids to know that this is not easy, but mommy is taking this opportunity because she is working hard and trying to better herself and her life and we should do the same.”