A Tweet About A Job Opportunity Starts An Important Conversation About Women In Sports Media

"Sorry for attempting to make sports media more than 10% female."

On Monday, Sports Illustrated senior writer Charlotte Wilder tweeted about a job opportunity with the magazine, adding, "Especially if you're a woman trying to get into sports, you should message me." Unfortunately, former ESPN reporter Ed Werder took issue with this part of the tweet.

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Werder accused Wilder of "excluding" men from being considered for the job, asking, "So men need not apply? Any others ineligible?" The response started a back-and-forth with Wilder, as she and other female sports writers schooled him in how difficult it is for women to break into the male-dominated wor ld of sports media.

"Oh WOW you're right, Ed," Wilder tweeted sarcastically, "sorry for attempting to make sports media more than 10% female, my bad." She added that many qualified women and people of color are frequently overlooked during the hiring process, "so it's important to make an extra effort."

As the New York Post points out, the Women's Media Center reported in 2017 that the number of female assistant sports editors at 100 newspapers and websites in the U.S. and Canada fell from 17.2 percent to 9.8 percent between 2012 and 2014.

NBC Sports reporter Kerith Burke tweeted another set of statistics from a New York Daily News article, which cited a recent report from the Associated Press Sports Editors. The study found that "90 percent of the sports editors, 69.9 percent of the assistant sports editors, 83.4 percent of the columnists, 88.5 percent of the reporters, and 79.6 percent of the copy editors/designers were men."

Mina Kimes, a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, reminded Werder that "encouraging women to apply for a position isn't the same as 'excluding' men." She added that "it's helping female applicants network, which can be a challenge given the massive gender imbalance in our industry."

Others pointed out that Wilder's tweet is unlikely to discourage men from applying for the job. Karisa Maxwell, a deputy editor at Sporting News, shared an anecdote about hiring interns, writing that she received more than 175 applicants, but only three were women. 

"They didn't get the job because they accepted another opportunity or weren't as qualified as other candidates, but they had to compete against 172 men — and you think Ed Werder's ratio is bad," Maxwell wrote.

Jeanna Thomas of SB Nation pointed out that, while White men are likely to apply for these types of jobs, women and people of color may not. "They're often discouraged if they don't feel like they're OVERQUALIFIED because that's kinda what it takes to break into sports for people who don't look like Ed Werder," she wrote.

Hopefully, Wilder's tweet and the important conversation that ensued will encourage a more diverse set of applicants — not just for the Sports Illustrated job, but across the industry.

Cover image: J. Gracey Stinson / Shutterstock.com

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