Becoming a sports journalist was for Karen-Marie Ellefsen a dream from the time she was nine years old.
– I quickly realized that I was not going to become a good athlete myself, so my chance to live in the world of sports was to become a sports journalist, she says to host Anne Lindmo.
Now she is going to retire after 40 years at NRK. And tells Lindmo about «old days». About what it was like to be a female sports journalist who was a male-dominated profession, when she started at NRK 40 years ago.
She admits that not everything was as easy.
At that time, there were no women in the functions as reporter, commentator and journalists in the sport on NRK.
– They claimed that no girls applied, says Ellefsen.
And says that the bosses were probably a little scared of the audience reactions, if a female journalist spoke on TV.
Was set to work with children’s sports
Ellefsen started working as a freelancer for NRK as a student in the twenties, and gradually worked his way inwards. And eventually got to work as a reporter as she wanted, but not for NRK’s main broadcasts.
– The first half year as a freelancer, I was only put to work with children’s sports, because I was not as visible in that broadcast.
– They probably thought that it would be accepted if women work with children’s sports, because it suits women to work with children.
Eventually, she got to work with reports for Sportsrevyen, and the name became more visible on the screen. Ellefsen says that there were no reactions – not before she started working as a program manager.
When she first became program manager for Sportsrevyen, a powerful article was written in Dagbladet.
– Now the bottom has been reached. The fact that a woman talks about sports is the final proof that society is disintegrating, it was written in a reader post in Dagbladet.
– I did not care, but it was very seriously written.
Also had to stay away from football
Ellefsen was permanently employed on October 1, 1979, and since then she has conveyed many of the most memorable sporting moments to the Norwegian people. Earlier this autumn, she received the King’s Medal of Merit.
But one sport she was warned early on to work on, and that was football.
– When I was hired, there was a colleague who said: “Yes, it’s okay that she’s hired, but in football she has to stay away.”
– They had realized that I was not so bad at the other things, but one thing had to be that these guys managed, but not the women.
And it was football.
– They probably felt their male ego a bit threatening, says Ellefsen.
She says that football was a long way off for the men, and believes that it is still not completely healthy today.
– It is not completely clear that girls should be allowed to talk about football and write about football.
– It is still the case that men get the most criticism when it comes to football, but girls who get involved in football probably get even more criticism, she says.
Realized it in the end
But even though it was a bit tough at first, it has been many memorable years.
– Yes, they got a lot of respect for me eventually. And there were several who had to sharpen up as presenters after I had started, Ellefsen smiles.
Now she is retiring.
– It has been a fantastic journey, says the host and sports journalist in conclusion.