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Marie-Claude Savard denounced the toxic world of sports journalism
When Marie-Claude Savard first arrived on the scene as a journalist covering the Habs for Radio-Canada, she experienced many difficulties.

She knew, when she accepted such a position, that there would be difficulties. After all, women in the locker room didn’t have it easy, since it was a man’s environment – which was already toxic to begin with, in her eyes.

At the time, Chantal Machabée was not yet in the field (she was reading the news), for those who want to know where she stood.

All this to say that Marie-Claude Savard, who was offered the job knowing full well that it would be difficult if she accepted, pedaled hard to keep up.

With no internet at her fingertips, she had to know everything by heart to maintain her credibility. After all, as she tells Jerr Allain on the What’s Up Podcast, the other journalists took advantage of every mistake she made to screw her up.

And that’s when they weren’t jamming her for making mistakes.

The environment was therefore very toxic, and any means were good to ensure that she made mistakes and didn’t have access to the same opportunities as the others.

For example? Journalists started interviewing players in the showers. Of course, she didn’t go, so she didn’t have access to the same material as the others.

According to the podcast, Réjean Tremblay was among those who put obstacles in her way by talking about her (badly) in his columns. She also recounts how epic it was with Michel Villeneuve.

Behind the scenes, many people also wanted her to be somewhere else.

Donald Beauchamp, who worked in communications for the Canadiens, was also a major obstacle, according to Marie-Claude Savard. Why was this? Because he hid information from her to prevent her from doing her job properly.

The first time she covered a press conference for the Habs, Beauchamp didn’t help her. She asked him what she should do, and the Habs employee didn’t tell her that the locker room was open to talk to players.

She found out after talking to the coach. She didn’t know before because she hadn’t specifically asked if the locker room was open to talk to players.

So she illegally talked to the players (she had no choice: she opened the evening news) afterwards and got criticized for it. But she wouldn’t have done it if she’d known the locker room was open when she asked to be guided.

That was my daily routine.

I was always on the lookout for (…) I’m-you missing something. I didn’t collaborate. – Marie-Claude Savard

By dint of perseverance, she earned her place on the beat. Sports fans loved her work and she started winning awards for it.

But still: it wasn’t easy.

For example? When Michel Villeneuve, an out-of-town guy, was hired to host a nightly sports show at LNC, she felt bad about it. She thought she deserved the chance, but nobody asked her if she was interested.

And let’s just say that, according to the interested party, Villeneuve wasn’t the most humble about the whole thing. When he ran into the journalist, he told her this:

Hey, hi little one!

You may win trophies, but you’re not the one with the big jobs, are you? – Michel Villeneuve to Marie-Claude Savard

When the time came for him to be interviewed on Salut Bonjour to talk about his show, he asked that it not be done by Marie-Claude Savard. However, she managed to trick him into going on air with her. Because it was her job to interview him in the first place.

The arrival of Chantal Machabée at the Canadian and the advancement of mentalities will have helped change things.

In a gust

– She’s not 100%.

– He says he’s not guilty.

– Tim Peel likes to get people talking.

– Makes sense.

– All is well.

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