The world of sports journalism is always evolving and changing. With hundreds of games, interviews, and other events taking place every day, the landscape of sports doesn’t stay stagnant long. Since I’m aspiring to become a big broadcaster/ analyst, I decided to interview Jessica Towne. Towne covers the Eagles, 76ers, Phillies, and Flyers, and she is a powerful voice for women’s journalism for Babes On Broad. I was curious not only about her journey and future aspirations but also, I wanted to learn more about the role of gender in her content production and social media interaction. Here is my interview with Jessica:
What inspired you to enter the world of journalism/ media broadcasting?
Towne: Really, it was just my love for Philadelphia sports. I’ve always loved sports. My brother and sister are athletes. My boyfriend was an athlete and is now a coach. I grew up watching sports with my dad and grandfathers and like any Philly sports fan, I have very specific memories of watching certain teams with my family and things like that. I’ve always loved talking sports. After I graduated college, I came across a LinkedIn ad for a social media administrator for a Philly based beat website and got a chance to write an article with them. From there, I realized that was what I loved doing. I love sharing my opinions about the Eagles/Sixers/Phillies/Flyers and having discussions about them.
How has creating stories and content affected you? Is it what you thought it would be?
Towne: It’s really given me more of an appreciation and respect for the athletes than I already had. There are a lot of reporters in the sports world – not just Philly – that like to break stories and have the huge bomb piece. That’s not what I want to do, nor what I try to do. I am a fan, and I like giving my opinions and creating content as a fan who has an immense appreciation and knowledge of the games. It’s only affected me in positive ways. I’ve also had a lot of conversations with parents about being someone for their daughters to look up to. Showing their little girls that ladies can do this too and can play with the boys any day of the week has been the most awesome part of being in this career so far.
What is Babes on Broad? What areas do you delve into?
Towne: Babes On Broad is an all Philly-sports podcast. We mainly focus on the Eagles as we break down our likes and dislikes of the game, our opinions from the previous week, and preview for the upcoming matchup. We give our score predictions and then do a food & drink of the week. Additionally, we do a “what’s going on in Philly” segment where we talk about different things going on in the city as well as the other sports teams and what they’re doing.
How much do you think gender has an impact on the content you produce and the way you produce it?
Towne: I think my gender has more of an impact on the response to the content, not how I produce it or create it. But, we also have a really awesome fanbase for Babes On Broad, especially one that thinks it’s awesome to listen to two women talk. It’s a different vibe than most sports shows that are male dominant, and it’s a change of pace as well.
How does commentary from viewers differ simply because of your gender? Do people treat your views, content, and ideas differently simply because you are a woman?
Towne: I definitely think we’re treated differently, but it’s also not always a bad thing. Sure, there are the ones that are negatively different, but there are the responses that are positively different. They are impressed with the way we study the game not having that firsthand playing experience.
How do you feel society can combat the negative/different treatment of women in sports?
Towne: It really just comes down to not assuming something about a person based on gender stereotypes. It’s really easy to have a conversation with someone and share opinions, whether they be the same or different. It’s easy to do without attacking someone and assuming they lack the knowledge to back up their opinion. I feel like, primarily, a lot of society has done that. I would say the majority respects women in sports. There are only a handful that really don’t.
What has been the coolest thing you have done/ been apart of as a result of your work in sports journalism/ media?
Towne: There’s the cool things like helping with a Ben Simmons interview, going to the Eagles draft party as a media member, and things like that; but, honestly, my favorite part has been talking to younger girls who think what I do is cool. While doing the Rob Maaddi show the other night, there was a man at the restaurant (Center Square Tavern in Woolwich Township, NJ) with his two daughters who were easily under 10. He came up to me and jokingly said, “They’re coming for your job in a few years,” and I responded, “Don’t worry about me, they can come take the guys’ jobs, and we can do a show just the girls.” Their little smiles were PRICELESS!
Without limits or obstacles, what would be your dream piece or project that you hope to be a part of or establish in the future?
Towne: I’d love to be able to have as many players on my shows as possible. I think people love hearing more personal conversations with players that they can relate to, and I think currently we have a lot of those in the city. That’s something I would love to do.