Monday, I sent out this email -

Which one of you has been approached by Yahoo blogs, The Sporting Blog, SportsbyBrooks, or even ESPN the Magazine online? (Really, I am not sure the latter ever got off the ground.)

I sort of snapped this morning when I read yet another blogger was joining the SbB crew and all I could think to myself was, “What the fuck? Where is Texas Gal? Where is Sooze? What about HCIC? Jesus fucking Christ I can’t throw a rock without hitting a talented female sports blogger and the same guys are being picked up all over the place. What gives?”

(I realize that SbB might be not be the most desirable spot for a female blogger – depending on her sensibilities – to land, but it is still a high-profile blogging position. That pays.)

If you are on this email list it means that you are among the 20-odd female female sports writers I respect, and cannot believe I haven’t seen any of your names appear yet at any of the sites I mentioned above. Every single one of you runs a site with well-above average page views. What am I missing here? Why don’t I see your names in the bigger bylines? (Deadspin aside, which many of us have contributed to, but none on a regular basis.)

So please tell me at least one of you has been asked and turned it down. (Which is a very real possibility.) Or has been asked, but everything is still top secret and you can at least wink and say, “No, I’ve got nothing going on over at my place. Nope. Nadda. Yoo-hoo? What does chocolate milk have to do with anything? Oh, Yahoo? Never heard of it.”

Anyway, I might try to work my (probably misdirected) anger in a post, so your input would be helpful. If you don’t want to be mentioned because you think such talk takes away from being considered part of the boys club, please let me know.

I’m just a little pissed off today.

sarah, aka TheStarterWife

PS I hope that none of you take this as lobbying for myself to reach a bigger audience. I am one of the least qualified/talented sports bloggers out there, male or female. But as a reader, yes, I want to see more women do well.

You can guess what the answers were. Just how many variations of “no” are there?

So sports knowledge, talent, and a significant readership means nothing? Is it possible, that the old boy network is even stronger online, despite the supposed equal playing field of the internet?

True, much of traditional sports journalism is rooted in the mens locker mentality, a fact I was reminded of by Lizzy from Babes Love Baseball.

I totally agree, but its not just sports blogging, its the whole sports writing arena in general.

Kat O’Brien at Newsday, Amalie Benjamin and Jackie MacMullan of the Globe are really the only three female sports writers who come to mind, and I can’t even imagine the kind of crap they put up with. When I was working on the sports desk at the Daily News, it sucked. You had to work twice as hard, be twice as smart and funny and clever to even get an ounce of respect from some of the fuckin’ meatheads there. It’s retarded.

Which brings me to Texas Gal. She runs one of the busiest Red Sox blogs out there, contributes to both Ladies… and Babes Love Baseball, and has managed a team to the top of the The Sporting News invitational Strat-O-Matic, beating out Will Leitch, Curt Schilling, Dan Shanoff, and Chris Mottram. You would think that alone would warrant at least an email from someone, but nope. And for most sites it is all about the page views right? So you think it might mean something to that she can attract 200+ comments in an open-thread about a spring training game.

Many female sports bloggers have decided the best route was just keep building their own brand, ala Kickette, Miss Chatter, Chicks in the Huddle, Need4Sheed, and Red Hot Momma. Building podcasts, building relationships with local sports media, and going after their own ad revenue. And it is rewarding, they all admit it, but it would also be nice to get some work from the major blog outlets.

You would think that these “branded” niche gals would be a perfect fit as contributors at larger entities. Big sites need to keep their content fresh and add new eyeballs all the time. These women already have built in audiences that are only seeing them at their own home pages.

Wouldn’t the addition of some female writers make more sense than adding yet another blogger who by his own admission is all working all over the place? Don’t we run the risk of having the same voices from popular sites being over exposed? (Especially, when they are running basically the same posts on two different sites?)

So maybe online networking is like real life networking, and it is who you know who gets you in. Then explain to me then how a writer like Sarah Schorno who hustles for gigs on HuffPo and seems to know every major blogger around still has not been given a contributing spot.

There are a few exceptions. Holly recently formally joined Every Day Should Be Saturday after helping out Orson for quite some time. Andrea from Ladies contributes to Bugs and Cranks. The Fanhouse has the Lovely Ladies of the Fanhouse Minute. But these blogs do not make up the oversight of the others.

From Nola Chick, Chicks in the Huddle

I’m so glad you’re speaking up about this. While I can’t say I ever expected to be approached by any of these popular blogging communities, I do find it a little curious that no other female bloggers have either. Which is weird, considering its the female sports blogs I find often times to be the most passionate and insightful. Sure we don’t put up pictures of hot chicks in bikinis everyday or yet another shot of Erin Andrews’ boobs poking through a sweater, but does that really mean we should be disqualified from the possibility of blogging with the boys?
I’m glad you got this out of your system. I’ve gotten so used to female sports blogs getting the “Rodney Dangerfield” treatment, that this oversight wouldn’t have even hit my radar. Let me know if your ranting leads to anything (other than a subdued urge to kick the living shit out of something…)
I don’t have a solution. My email sparked quite a few solid conversations about how female bloggers can get together to make sure our work is not overlooked. Hopefully it will lead to something big.
And the sites that don’t add women editors, writers, and contributors? Well, I don’t know what else to say to convince them they are missing out. But they are.
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45 Responses to Is there a sports blogging glass ceiling?

  1. J-Money says:

    True that, TSW. As I told you in an email reply, that’s why I’m moving more away from sports and hoping that continued posting on my personal blog will get noticed and eventually I will get a job, silence the wake-up calls from the creditors, and grow a tail.

  2. J-Money = Blogging five-tool.

  3. Extra P. says:

    I will mention one female sportswriter at a huge outlet that I enjoy. Dana O’Neil at ESPN has been covering college basketball really well (she may do other stuff, but I’m pretty myopic this time of year). Hopefully more writers like her will get that national platform so male editors don’t feel confused and frightened when a woman knocks on the door.

  4. Well, Kissing Suzy Kolber let Ladies… run the site that one day.

    Yes…let.

  5. Holly says:

    (Sorry about the unicorn.)

    (Kinda.)

  6. cmottram says:

    “…has managed a team to the top of the The Sporting News invitational Strat-O-Matic, beating out Will Leitch, Curt Schilling, Dan Shanoff, and Chris Mottram.”

    I’m playing w/ the f’ing ’86 O’s. They lost 90 games that year. Cut me some slack here.

  7. SA says:

    I like Dana O’Neil too Extra P. Also Mechelle Voepel, although I don’t know if she just prefers writing about women’s college basketball or if they’re keeping her on that beat.

    Great post TSW.

  8. [...] XX Factor – Worth asking: is there a glass ceiling at the bigger name sports blogs hiring writers? Some female bloggers weigh in. [Black and Gold Tchotchkes] [...]

  9. IJustMadeThatUp says:

    I should be surprised that this type of bias exists within the Internets and Ebays, where we’re supposed to be “anonymous” and no gender or race bias supposedly exists. But obviously people have clustered together in the same kind of boys club mentality that happens in real world journalism/media. It’s disappointing, because within the blogs and websites, it’s only people’s voices that count. All you’ve got to judge someone by is their words. And when those words are equal to (or better than) everyone else’s and you STILL make a judgment based on what you may know about a person, it’s idiotic.

  10. The Fanhouse also has Stephanie Stradley, who writes NFL stuff mostly, but also did legal analysis on Clemens.

  11. Stradley used to work at the Chron with her site, so I put her in the category of traditional journalism. (She is really good though.)

  12. [...] for what I do, even though blathering about sports on the internet seems to be springing some guys to glory as this online thing gains more and more respectability. It looks like I’ll be shut down on [...]

  13. Shane says:

    Wow, everyone bitches about everything. Who gives a fuck.

  14. mcbias says:

    Hmm…I disagree with the glass ceiling, but maybe it’s because I’ve been all over this category already. When I asked bloggers for advice before starting my blog, I went to Sooze and Head Chick (along with two male sports bloggers). When I built my blog, I paid attention to what Kristine was doing, and later interviewed her. I’ve had Natalie do a guest post, I’ve guest posted on Babes Love Baseball, I compiled a list of female sports bloggers to prove that there are many out there (100+ at least)…I’m saying all this to protect my bum against flaming before I make my main point, ha.

    I guess all I’m saying is, I think that there is a glass ceiling, but the glass is very thin. If a female wants more mainstream blog attention and interest, she has to get involved with mainstream people and ask people who are in the mainstream how they got there. Sitting around writing excellent content on your blog and wondering “why isn’t anyone paying attention to me?” isn’t going to do it. I know because that’s what I used to do, and I got nowhere until I started working the network. Females have to show their competitive nature, and have to be willing to adjust for the market if necessary. Adjusting for the market doesn’t mean “give in to soulless wealthy white males” either, ha; I could go into more detail, but this is already long enough, and the more I write, the more chance I offend someone. Sadly, just the facts of life.

  15. PeteJayhawk says:

    Shane also wishes you would write more about the WWF.

  16. MDT says:

    I’m more bothered that people keep hiring Suss. He’s a robot, people! He’s coming to destroy our planet! Can’t you see?

  17. MetsGal says:

    So first of all, props to Deadspin for linking to this article. I write for a semi-popular blog about the Mets and am the only female writer there. While I am no where near as popular as all of the ladies you are talking about, I completely feel where you are coming from. MetsBlog (which has NO female writers that I know of) has now started linking to other blogs more, and no matter how original or well written a post I am making, it NEVER gets linked to, even though he knows and links to our site often.

    The bigger blogs should realize what’s right in front of them. I am guilty of not linking to other female writers, mainly because I didn’t know how many were out there (due to lack of linking by big names). Whenever I can, I am going to make an honest effort to support the female writers. My site is well read and I hope that I can give you women more exposure. Reading this and finding out there were more women out there like me who have such a passion for sports is comforting.

  18. Bob says:

    There are a few great female writers on the soccer site, The Offside. It seems to me that the sports blogosphere largely exists to support and entertain itself. That means plenty of pictures of women in bikinis and coverage of stories that appeals to the group’s main demographic, men in their 20s and 30s. In fact, some of the best bloggers are not part of the club, be it women or men.

  19. The Chick says:

    Thank you for writing this! I am with you.

  20. I just stumbled on this and I thought it was very thoughtfully done. You made some good points, especially when you look at some of the good bloggers — as a Sox blogger, Texas Gal is a personal favorite — who haven’t been picked up yet.

    However, I think you’re missing the boat, here. While things have changed in the last year or two in the sports blogosphere, there’s a good deal of sports bloggers who have been featured in mainstream media, but not picked up. One example: Staying with the Sox metaphor here, Surviving Grady has been the subject of articles in the Globe and the Boston Phoenix right off the top of my head, and I’m probably missing some others.

    These days, I’m in journalism by day (covering the military right now) and blog mostly at night, on weekends and early in the morning before the day starts. Like it or not, I think that’s relatively common. The reality is that while most of us are having a blast, there’s huge competition for fulltime gigs, and a lot of it is going to come down to not only being good, but being in the right place at the right time.

    You know what that makes us like, right? You got it. In that respect, anyway, it’s the print world.

  21. Sooze says:

    A-frickin-man ladies. Like MetsGal said, it’s always awesome to be pointed in the direction of other females who love sports just as much as you do yourself. It’s awesome to be part of the female voice of the sports blogosphere – we’re getting louder and I love it. Also,I may as well take this opportunity to say how much I love and how lucky I feel to write with the 3 amazing ladies at BLB. They rock.

  22. JCN says:

    Frankly, the women of FanHouse freaking rule. And while our roster doesn’t have any holes right now, I’m always interested in hiring new talent if you’ve got a good pitch on how we can improve the site. Please drop me a line at john.ness [at] googlemail if you’ve got one.

  23. Kevin says:

    Got here from Ballhype and read every word. Interesting stuff that I’ve never really thought about.

  24. timothywilliamspr says:

    I think that it is important for female sports bloggers to continue blogging about sports. The more opinions and viewpoints that are in the blogosphere the more quality ideas and thoughts will be present.

  25. Chris says:

    A blog post about chicks and sports and no pics of boobs? What gives? ;) It is an interesting concept and it makes a lot sense as well. I think the key is continuing to stand out and these guest spots on FanHouse, etc, can and will become permanent positions.

    Writing is a lot like sports. Talent rarely goes unnoticed. Perhaps you all can ban together and start your own Yahoo Sports brand. That’d be sweet… Cartman-sweet, even.

    MetsGal also makes a good point. Discovery can be a bitch in the blogosphere.

  26. dwil says:

    Oh really??? Really??? Is this a serious post?!

    I was sent this link – and after reading it, as a black man, black writer I must seriously disagree with this assessment. I’ve been dissed by these places like the frigging plague.

    The fact of the matter is that there is only so much room for female writers but there is NO room for writers who can’t be fit into a box….

    Like I wrote some time ago, “They couldn’t wait for Ralph Wiley to hurry up and die.”

    It ain’t just women.

  27. kevin says:

    This may sound naive, but how can you be certain of the gender of a blogger you’ve never seen? Unless you are flaunting your gender or using a real name on your site — or writing for a blog like “Ladies…” or “Babes Love Baseball” — there should be no way to tell what gender you are. I’d be curious to know if there are female or minority bloggers out there, who, without using obvious pseudonyms or posting pictures of themselves to reveal their gender, nevertheless feel they have been the victim of prejudice in the blogosphere.

  28. Dwil – I honestly do not know how to respond to your comment comparing the different plights of the minority writer. I don’t. But that is not what my post was about.

    Kevin – Interesting enough, many people don’t know that Need4Sheed is written by a woman. (Which is funny to me since she is recognized at games.)

  29. stoeten says:

    Some of what’s written in this post cuts beautifully down to the truth, but some of it, to me, seems like a whole lot of gibberish. I honestly don’t want to start picking at it– because what it’s ultimately driving at is Right– but there were some statements in there . . .

    Alright. This isn’t really the place I want to start nitpicking. All I really mean to say is, I’m not sure if the problems are quite as black and white as someone might read it here, but otherwise… you know. Right on.

    ii.
    I don’t mean this at all in a snide way, but just to be perfectly honest (and as a point of reference)… there were some sites mentioned in this post with names don’t identify the authors’ gender, that I am a reader of, that I had no clue were being run by women. Frankly, I had never really thought about it. And I don’t care.

    Maybe I’m way wrong, but I would be surprised if anybody noticed or cared about that sort of thing. If a site is good, it’s good. No? That’s not some crazy bubble of idealism I’m living in, is it?

  30. stoeten says:

    *with names THAT don’t identify…

  31. stoeten says:

    Wow… speaking of gibberish!

    There’s no way to edit comments on here, eh?

  32. dwil says:

    I just tried to email you but your “Email TSW” doesn’t work when I click on it.. all that came up in the “Compose” space is “tswladies.” If you don’t want your email address known here, please send an email to me at: mesoanarchy@gmail.com and I will send the email I just wrote….

    Thanks.

  33. Erin says:

    Thanks for writing the post – it made me realize that I haven’t paid much attention to the fact that the bloggers who have recently gotten their gold-tipped wings are men. I was just excited about the rising profile of bloggers overall… at least that’s my excuse. But now that I think about it, it’d be a shame if blogging, which is the most democratic medium available, were not able to introduce some gender balance to sports coverage and commentary.

  34. Sarge says:

    That does it. Blogging needs its very own Title IX!

  35. Hextall454 says:

    Nice work, TSW.

  36. DMtShooter says:

    Kevin’s right, in re not being able to tell the gender of a blogger. As a matter of fact, I am a sassy Asian trannie with a heart of gold.

    In a past life, I was an indie rock musician; blogging is the exact same gig, in that it’s fun, doesn’t pay enough to make sense, and anyone who has done it for a while becomes convinced of their own genius and bitter about anyone who seems more popular than you.

    But the reality is that popular and/or paid does not equal good; if it did, Menudo and Spice Girls albums wouldn’t be in budget bins, and Simmons would try more than once a month. At the end of the day, you get your audience and have your work, and you’re either happy with it or not. And if your audience evangelizes you enough, you make your own ceiling.

  37. Nicole says:

    Well said, TSW. As a sports writer, I can second the fact that this is no different than in the “real” media world. Why is it that I have to prove that I can discuss games with intelligence and handle hearing swear words before anyone will even give me a chance to speak? Why is it that I’m required to be be very bold and loud in order for them to feel I’m “one of the guys” but that very demeanor is then labeled pushy, bitchy and too strong? It’s a double standard. Know what you’re talking about, but also be skinny and gorgeous with a big rack and a tight sweater otherwise we won’t hear the words coming out of your mouth. And you can only stand on the sideline and ask things like “how does it feel to win the championship?”

  38. Caroline says:

    dwil: you probably have a good point about the exclusion of bloggers of color, but it’s just not the subject of this particular discussion.

    Kevin: Why is using your own name for a handle on your blog “flaunting” your gender? I don’t think that women should have to pretend not to be women in order to be accepted by the blogosphere, anymore than I think that SbB should take the bikini pictures down.

    I’m one half of a tiny and rightfully obscure Red Sox blog, and I certainly don’t expect any more than the three or four comments we get most of the time, but I basically worship the ground that Texas Gal walks on, and I can’t help but suspect that if her posts had pictures of Jamie Kotsay instead of Jacoby Ellsbury, she’d get a lot more attention from the mainstream.

  39. Just to qualify this comment, I am a female sports blogger but I do not believe that I would be “worthy” of blogging for one of the big sites right now so I’m not complaining about myself not getting a position like that.

    I think this problem has to relate to the sport media world. I am a PR intern for the Detroit Red Wings and while I’d say there is a pretty solid balance between the # of individuals from each gender in the PR/Marketing/Sales offices, when I go up to the press box for the game, I am usually one of 5 females out of easily 85. And three of those five are from the PR department. There is only one female beat reporter covering the Wings and sometimes Sports Ticker is represented by a female. There is also sometimes a female assisting the visiting TV with their broadcast (behind the scenes).

    So I think blogging merely reflects that culture already in place with sport media…

  40. Drexel Perry says:

    This is a great topic and an issue that is more than worthy of mention in the blogosphere.

    As a black sports blogger, I can also relate to dwil’s comments.

    The blog game is growing by the second and as its popularity increases, it will become more and more difficult for individuals to stand out.

    Regardless of our color or gender, we all have something to offer that is enjoyed by our various audiences and hopefully as time moves forward, more of us will be “discovered” .

  41. americandust says:

    Duh… girls don’t know sports!

    (Just kidding… as long as it’s a good read and about Soccer I could care less who wrote it).

  42. [...] found a great piece today about female sports bloggers written by The Starter Wife that has a really good [...]

  43. There is a white male ceiling too. It’s there, I swear. You just have to look really high.

  44. Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful, positive comments.

    Jordi – That made me LOL, which I needed.

  45. Okay, someone recently sent me over here, and I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this already.

    First of all, thanks for the kind words. Kind words are always a good thing.

    But just to clarify, I am not a journalist. At all. Fans have more fun anyway.

    I started out writing a Texans FanBlog for the Houston Chronicle. I thought the Texans coverage at the newspaper was superficial and often inaccurate, and someone suggested that I contact them to create a Texans blog that they did not have. I thought it might be a way to push them to improve the quality of their coverage.

    I sent the guy in charge of sports blogs some test posts on subjects they suggested, and blogged away. When FanHouse was being created, I was contacted to write on Texans stuff. Eventually, I quit the Chronicle stuff because when your unpaid hobby feels like a job, you shouldn’t do it any more.

    Eventually, as FanHouse evolved, I started writing about other sports related things that I knew about and crossed my mind.

    So, I never really aspired to blog, it just sort of evolved. But looking back at it some, I think for me it was all about finding a niche that wasn’t being served, and serving it up on a plate. Also, not being afraid to volunteer for jobs that do not yet exist and tell people what special knowledge that you can offer that can help them out.

    I think in any job, if you can figure out ways to make THEM money, that opens some doors.

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