Had the opportunity to meet New York Times sports journalist Karen Crouse tonight and hear her speak while she was in town for a charity golf tournament organized by the Idaho Falls-based nonprofit Alturas Institute. I’d previously heard her speak at a sports journalism convention four years ago, and hearing her in a smaller setting was an incredible experience.
New York Times writer visits Idaho Falls
By MARLOWE HEREFORD
An award-winning sports journalist is visiting Idaho Falls before resuming a busy summer schedule of golf and Olympic sports coverage.
New York Times writer Karen Crouse spoke Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn at a dinner organized by the Alturas Institute. The Idaho Falls based non-profit organization committed to “advancing civic education, civic engagement and civil discourse,” per its official website is hosting a charity golf tournament today at the Idaho Falls Country Club to support the newly approved College of Eastern Idaho and Crouse will be in attendance.
David Adler, president of the Alturas Institute, previously invited her to Boise in 2013 and to the ‘Conversations with Exceptional Women’ conference in Sun Valley in 2015 and 2016. He said he has read Crouse’s work in the New York Times for years, and he later met her once she accepted the invitation to attend the Boise event. She is also a member of the Alturas Institute’s advisory board, and Adler said he was grateful that she could come to Idaho Falls this week.
“She’s a really tremendous writer,” Adler said. “She has a very humanistic approach for covering golf and other sports. She was kind enough to join us and share stories.”
Crouse shared several tidbits from her career, including covering the 2012 Masters that ultimately led to Augusta adding its first two female members. She was one of three women covering the Masters that year, and she pitched a question to Augusta National chairman Billy Payne she still remembers.
“‘As a grandfather of granddaughters, what would you say to them at the kitchen table if they asked you, ‘Grandpa, why can’t we get into the club you run?’” Crouse recalled Thursday.
Payne’s reply to Crouse was “That is a private matter” later adding, “my kitchen table conversations are private, too.”
Crouse was writing opinion pieces in addition to news coverage that week, which she described as a “very tricky” task, and her column following Payne’s response was about how Augusta worked quickly to renovate restrooms but they had yet to admit women members. That week also included three days of no one speaking to her aside from the golfers, fallout from her editor and readers after a reporter she met at the Masters posted to a blog with a headline reading “NYT reporter to boycott Masters,” being interviewed for an Associated Press story and rumors that she would lose her job. A job offer arose from the San Francisco Chronicle, and she considered it for weeks before writing a letter of resignation from the Times.
While in a taxi on the way to the Times newsroom to resign, her phone rang. She learned Augusta had just announced they had added two female members, and she dropped everything to write the story for the next day’s paper. Crouse said that the turn of events made her realize the platform she had with the Times and it ultimately made her stay.
“A lot of good came out of that week,” Crouse said.