Western alumna a trailblazer for women in sports journalism
At 23-years-old, Carolyn Price displayed tenacity and perseverance as she marched into the boy’s locker room to get the interview she needed.
It was 1977. Price had just graduated from Western months earlier and had been given a job at the Lynden Tribune.
Although she didn’t know it at the time, Price had just become the first female sports reporter for a print publication in Washington. Price would continue to be a trailblazer in her career, as she later founded Puget Cycles, the first local bike magazine in Seattle, that would eventually become OutdoorsNW Magazine.
Early on at her time as sports editor for the Lynden Tribune, Price had to fight to be treated fairly as a reporter.
She recalled the time she was left waiting on the outside of a locker room with no chance of getting an interview with Lynden High School’s men’s basketball coach after a state game.
After one of the games, the team’s coaches all went into the locker room. Being a woman, Price wasn’t allowed in. As other male reporters from newspapers around Washington went in, Price had to stand outside and wait.
She asked several of the fellow reporters to send out the coach so she could conduct her interview, but it eventually became apparent that no one was going to come out.
“I crashed the boys’ locker room and all the boys started yelling, ‘There’s a girl in here’ and running behind lockers and throwing towels around,” Price said. “I found the coach and he took me gently by my elbow and escorted me out into the gym and all the other reporters from the daily newspapers followed.”
After that, getting interviews after games wasn’t a problem for her.
This same determined nature is something Price, now 63, still has to this day. John Rezell, a reporter who has been working at OutdoorsNW for about a year spoke to her determination.
“She just accepts a challenge head-on and finds a way to overcome it instead of making excuses,” he said.
While a student at Western, Price was the sports editor of The Western Front, following the lead of two female editors before her, who she said paved the way for her.
“Western gave me the opportunity to say it’s okay to be a women’s sports writer. There were lots of opportunities to write and to be accepted as an equal,” Price said.
Soon after Western, Bill Lewis, the editor of the Lynden Tribune, defied the norm when he offered Price the sports editor job at the Lynden Tribune, despite protest from others, she said.
“He took a chance on me by giving me that opportunity,” Price said. “He really launched my career, he was everything to me.”
Price spent three years working in Lynden, where she was able to cement herself as a trusted reporter among the community. She then took on the task covering Port Roberts, a small community right next to the Canadian border, there she was a one-woman team.
In her time working at Port Roberts, she learned everything about publishing a newspaper.
Those skills would serve Price well for her future. In 1987 after a short tenure at the Pierce County Herald, Price felt it was time to start her own publication.
Price moved to Seattle, where she noticed there was a rapidly growing bike community that had a need for a unifying publication.
With the $1,500 she had saved up, she rented an office in lower Queen Anne, bought a computer and started Puget Sound Cyclist, a biking magazine that covered the Seattle area.
Her instincts were right and the publication was successful off the bat, because it served a need in the community, Price said.
The magazine featured an event calendar that Price says was a big reason readers kept coming back.
Price grew Puget Sound Cycles into NW Cycles. In 1994, with the help of her brother Greg Price, the magazine became OutdoorsNW and transformed into a multisport magazine.
Greg Price started working with his sister only with the intention to help out, but his love of being an entrepreneur kept him around ever since.
The two siblings have managed to build a publication that has been printing for 30 years now.
“We were a perfect yin and yang,” Price said. “We both could do what the other couldn’t.”
Price has become a notable mentor in her own right.
Yitka Winn, who is now an editor at REI, got her start in writing because Price gave a young college graduate a chance during the middle of a recession.
“I think her success as a writer comes from her genuine love of people, places and of a good story,” Winn said.