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Women’s History Month Interview Series: Jennifer Williams Talks Women in Sports and Changing the Game

Jennifer Williams’ take on women in sports and how she’s looking to be a gamechanger.

(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Williams)

(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Williams)


Sports weren’t always part of the plan for New York City Sports Reporter Jennifer Williams. After attending Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she majored in political science and architectural studies, as well as played tennis, she took the unconventional path and applied for a job at ESPN.

“I wanted to be on the business side of things,” said Williams. “There are more roles for women other than reporter, but my first passion is digital media.”

Two years into her gig at ESPN, the sports company footed the bill for her to complete a graduate program at Quinnipiac University where she received a Master’s degree in Interactive Communications. She worked in a number of roles, self-producing segments for ESPN mobile, and espnU.

Williams made her way down the Washington D.C. after five years with ESPN to join Comcast Sportsnet as the Digital Media Producer and Talent, covering the Washington Redskins.

“I like the concept of writing my own scripts and putting pieces together,” Jennifer shared. “I love watching the analytics, being on the field and having the opportunity to meet new people and travel. The best part is when the story and concept come together and you see people retweeting it.”

Like many can attest to, breaking into the sports industry is no easy task. Williams got her start right before the recession and worked to keep a competitive edge. Through her experience as a journalist, she has had the opportunity to meet and interview many people. When asked what her most memorable interview to date was, she said, with no hesitation, Billie Jean King.

“Talk about a boss!” said Williams. “This was right after [President] Obama approved gay marriage, so she shared a lot of things. She’s such a champion and pioneer.”

In addition, she stated that she loves her interviews with athletes and sports she wasn’t familiar with.

“You don’t go into [the interview] with any pre-conceived notions and I loved being able to learn from that.”

There’s no average day in the life of a sports journalist, but Jennifer’s everyday practices include watching SportsCenter, looking up stories and following up for details.

“I like to do my research in the morning so I’m prepped,” Williams said. “It’s always go go go and lots of writing.”

As a freelance host and anchor for SI Wire, she is responsible for writing, taping and delivering stories as they come in and turning around the content as quickly as possible.

Her advice to young graduates looking to work in the industry?

“Play up to your strengths. Young people are seen as experts in social media, so you have to be willing to do any work to the get experience you need to get ahead. Figure out your niche and be yourself.”

With March being Women’s History Month, Williams also spoke about what it is like to be woman in sports and who has helped her throughout her journey.

“Linda Cohn is a family friend, but she is someone who knows [the business] inside and out,” she said “Everyone, men included, look up to her and they should.”

There is certainly the “good” and “bad” in everything, but Williams said being a woman in sports allows her to have a different perspective and different interaction with athletes as a whole. She’s always looking to take risks and said she stays informed and works to ask harder, more challenging questions.

Every sports fan has their favorite movie and favorite athlete.

“Sandlot and Serena Williams,” Jennifer said. “I’m the older sister too.”

Jennifer’s personality and passion allows her to remain a driving force as she looks to further her career.

“I want people to walk away having known something they didn’t before and be known as a great journalist,” she shared. “Regardless of being male or female, I want to be a gamechanger and do things differently.”

Before getting off the phone with Jennifer, she shared one last piece of advice.

“You have to show love for the work you do. Be a Boss.”

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