Maybe it was a coincidence, but all 15 reporters allowed to represent the media on U.S. ships escorting tankers in the Persian Gulf have been male.

And when the names of four women were offered to the military for the position of "pool" radio reporter on one trip, the brass decided there was no room for a radio reporter.

"Nobody has ever said directly to me that we're not going to let a woman on the pool," said Robin Sproul, Washington bureau chief for ABC radio, and the Pentagon's contact for the pool's radio slot. However, she said women radio reporters in Kuwait and other points in the gulf had been told by U.S. officials they didn't have much chance of being chosen for duty on a Navy ship.

"There is a strong feeling in the industry that the Navy has excluded these reporters simply because they are women," Ron Nessen, vice president of news and special programs at Mutual Broadcasting System, wrote the Pentagon.

"Such sexist discrimination in this era is simply intolerable," Nessen added in his letter.

Nessen said that so far there has been no response to his complaints about radio's representatives being excluded from the group of journalists allowed to accompany the U.S. military under an arrangement set up after the press was excluded from the U.S. invasion of Grenada. Nessen said he has sent the Pentagon the name of the woman he wants to represent Mutual -- Maggie Fox.

Pentagon spokesman Fred Hoffman said "there is no such policy to exclude women" from the pools. He said that when the pool arrangement was worked out, the news organizations picked the individual reporters. On pool "exercises," women have been represented, he said.

Navy Capt. Steve Taylor said the radio reporter was dropped from the pool earlier this month for lack of space.

For many in the radio industry, the problem is not so much a matter of women covering the comings and goings in the gulf. They are battling just to get a seat.

"A television guy just can't do radio. It's a whole different thing and it's not his top priority," said Nessen. The last pool had a television correspondent sending radio reports, some of which made references to the pictures, Nessen said.

So ABC radio has put a man on assignment in the area who can serve as a radio representative if the Pentagon organizes another pool.

Says Sproul: "Frankly, right now our main concern is that we want to get anybody on {the pool} there."

Oceans and Time For Michael Robbins, editor of Oceans magazine, the law of the sea had overtaken the unwritten code of journalism. Robbins, whose magazine has a circulation of 55,000, decided last week that a big-fish magazine like Time had devoured ideas and themes that a little-fish magazine like Oceans published in April.

Oceans dedicated its April issue to the rising oceans and eroding, changing coastlines, and it was called "Our Troubled Coasts." Time had a cover story last week on the rising oceans and eroding, changing coastlines. It was called "America's Vanishing Coastline."

Although there were sections that were vastly different in the two magazines, Time did a sidebar on the same spit of ocean that Oceans featured in one of its sidebars. Two photographers who were first used in a national publication by Oceans were contacted by Time, which used some of their work in last week's issue.

Robbins said that because Time did not give the small magazine any credit, it was time to complain. He sent out packages of his magazine and Time, accompanied by a press release saying that Oceans was "flattered" by the similarities.

Actually Robbins was not so much flattered as irritated.

"I realize we don't have any patent on this subject; it's a major crisis and the more said and written about it the better," he said. "Our annoyance was that we worked hard and went to original sources as did our writers and we feel Time used our homework."

If somewhere in the magazine Time had acknowledged Oceans, "everybody'd be happy," Robbins said.

Time's deputy chief of correspondents, Jack White, said the issue of eroding coastlines was first suggested by Time's Houston correspondent last year, many months before the Oceans story appeared. The Time story was prepared for this spring, he said, but a new editor held the article because he wanted it expanded for a cover story.

"If Oceans is claiming it is their idea, there were plenty of other publications that have written about this subject -- Scientific American, Science Digest, Christian Science Monitor," said White.

"It's quite an overstatement for them to say they discovered this one," said White. "It is simply not the case."

Staking Out a Candidate The ultimate media candidate, San Francisco Examiner columnist Warren Hinckle, has taken a leave of absence from the paper while he continues his campaign for mayor of San Francisco.

Covering a colleague might prove tricky for the Examiner, but the editors have given part of the assignment to their writer-in-residence, Pete Hamill. In keeping with the spirit of Politics 1987, Hamill has dutifully staked out Hinckle's apartment.

After watching Hinckle's door for two hours and 15 minutes one morning, Hamill wrote about beer deliveries to the store beneath Hinckle's modest dwelling and his own dream that Marilyn Chambers would be upstairs with Hinckle. But "On this morning, at least, {Hinckle} did not leave with anyone other than the dog."