Update at 2:53 p.m.: Dallas Morning News Editor Mike Wilson responded to me on Facebook, saying that the internal job posting had been “fixed” and reposted. The public-facing ad has been changed, as well.
It’s 2015, and job-ad writers still sometimes default to “he” in job ads. Or at least they do at my alma mater.
This morning, while trolling for new agency clients, I happened upon the following job listing from The Dallas Morning News seeking a sports editor:
“He will work closely with the AME/Sports to continually evaluate the best use of departmental resources,” it reads.
I posted my discovery on social media, and the response was heartening and occasionally hilarious:
Oh, will "he?" pic.twitter.com/eENoXzHft4
— Samantha Shaddock (@samshaddock) October 13, 2015
Sports journalism: because women have cooties. https://t.co/yiZ1PKTB84
— Zombieliza E-S (@ElizaEatonStern) October 13, 2015
I don't want this job, but I'm going to apply anyways. https://t.co/IuZCcyk4bV
— Katy Clarke (@katyclarke) October 13, 2015
— autumnaltones grimes (@andreagrimes) October 13, 2015
— Txnewsprincess (@txnewsprincess) October 13, 2015
w e l p https://t.co/xcTQ9Gds57
— ghost zoë (@zoeclaire_) October 13, 2015
@samshaddock maybe this is why they need an editor in the first place?
— 95Spooks (@95Sports) October 13, 2015
Some people noted that stylebooks through the ages have included a gender-neutral “he.” OK, sure. We need to update those stylebooks. As Twitter user Kate Morrison points out, “he” has never been inclusive.
Times change. "He" isn't inclusive. I read "he" as "We can't be bothered to think that women might want this gig." https://t.co/0ZD7cb6WvT
— Kate Morrison (@unlikelyfanatic) October 13, 2015
Several alternatives to “he” would work here: “this person,” “this editor,” “he or she,” etc. (Simply Hired suggests replacing “he” or “she” with “you,” which is way more inviting, to boot.) Using “he” here just reinforces the notion that sports journalism is a man’s world — even more so than is journalism in general.
Mistakes happen, and I’m sure that whoever wrote this job ad didn’t intend to be exclusionary. My brother, perhaps the fairest-minded person I know, posited that the paper overlooked the error because it already has someone in mind for the position and that person is male. Still, I think the fact that no one who proofed the ad noticed it speaks to a cultural problem that merits examination.