There aren’t many websites that almost exclusively feature writing from female sports journalists and that also emphasizes women’s sports. ESPN and Sports Illustrated cover women’s sports on occasion and employ a few female writers, but espnW is the premier website that celebrates both. espnW, a site owned by ESPN and branded towards women, has been my primary source of news for this blog.
According to the ESPN PR website:
“espnW is a global multiplatform brand dedicated to engaging and inspiring women through sports. espnW.com, the brand’s content home, offers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and captures the biggest trends in sports life/style. espnW also provides a unique point of view on the sports stories that matter most to women and highlights the crossroads of sports and culture. Founded in July 2010, espnW’s content and voices live across digital, television, radio, films, events, educational platforms and social media.”
Laura Gentile founded the site in 2010, and the current editor-in-chief is Alison Overholt, who is also the editor-in-chief of ESPN the Magazine.
espnW has around 300,000 likes on Facebook, compared to ESPN’s 15,000,000, so it’s clearly a niche website that doesn’t receive the same traffic as the older, more general ESPN site. However, espnW is making steps forward. It launched its new espnW Brazil site in 2016 and also was part of the massive website rebuild that ESPN underwent in 2015.
The website’s interaction with the public is interesting to note; although espnW has a variety of social media platforms that allow for public interaction, the website itself cut its comment section in 2016 because of the frequency of inappropriate and offensive comments.
Like ESPN, the website is appealing to the eye with its use of text, pictures and videos (which can occasionally be overwhelming). It is easy to navigate and categorizes every topic in a logical way. The site has come under a bit of fire from women who question the idea that they need their own separate, “watered-down” site for sports, but I think the overall idea of espnW is good. It recognizes that many women consume news, particularly sports, a little bit differently than men, and it fits those needs. Women’s sports and and female journalists are also highlighted really well by espnW. It’s encouraging to see female athletes and writers get their own platform, because they sometimes tend to get lost in the masses of general sporting news.
Photo by Allison Leahy