Panel: Women have a spot in sports media, you just have to take a chance

A panel of five women in the sports media industry shared their experiences with The University of Alabama.

By Mandi Banyai
News Producer

Tuscaloosa, Ala. — A panel of five women in the sports media industry spoke to students and faculty at The University of Alabama.

On Wednesday, March 4, the Alabama Program In Sports Communication (APSC), The University of Alabama Career Center, and the Association For Women In Sports Media brought a “Women In Sports” panel to Tuscaloosa to speak with students at UA.

The panel consisted of Alex McDaniel, deputy editor of storytelling at SB Nation, Ashley Atwell, director of social content for the National Basketball Association (NBA), Mary-Clare Brophy, social media correspondent for Learfield IMG College Gamecock Athletics, Jordan Doyle, senior coordinator of social content and engagement for the Chicago White Sox, and Megan Julian, social media manager for the Los Angeles Chargers. 

The women answered a series of questions about the path that lead them to where they are today, and the obstacles that come with it. One of the main topics the women touched on were the misconceptions and possible inequality women are assumed to face when working in the sports media industry. 

“The way it really should be is based on your hard work, your successes, and your knowledge in general no matter what gender you are,” said Ashley Atwell, NBA director of social content. “Anyone can really learn to do this job and can learn to love sports if they have a passion for it, so that’s one area that we see talented women, but there’s always this misconception that women don’t know sports, and you have to prove yourself for people to listen.”

Students in the audience looking to pursue a career in the sports media industry as women had many questions regarding some of the challenges they may face when looking for a job. The panel provided the young women some insight of their experiences and the ways in which they overcame these assumed stereotypes.

“Internally, one thing I’ve tried to do is build working relationships with the players so that they know that you’re there to do your job and it’s OK to get to know them and chat, so that they get comfortable on a working level where I can ask them to do something or film something for me, and they will do it,” said Jordan Doyle, senior coordinator of social content and engagement for the Chicago White Sox.

Megan Julian, social media manager for the Los Angeles Chargers, said “For me coming into a locker room or a plane ride with the team, it was ‘I’m never going to act like I don’t belong here, because I do belong here’ and the second you let someone think that you might not belong in that space, they’re gonna have that in their heads.”

“I never acted like I didn’t belong in that room, I never acted like my opinion doesn’t matter, it’s about putting yourself out there and ‘Hey, I worked just as hard for this job and I work the same hours you do and it doesn’t really matter what my gender is.”