SB Nation Wants to “Hire” You (Not Really)

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Over the last year, the curtain has been fully pulled back on SB Nation’s company policy to mislead and screw over aspiring sportswriters.

Most in the sports media industry were already familiar with SB Nation’s practices: A job opening appears at one of the blogging network’s team sites for what seemed like a full-time position, based on the apparent full-time demands made of applicants.

Only, once offered the position, the jobs pay a small monthly stipend with veiled assurances of potential to see a nominal increase down the line.

Deadspin exposed these practices in August of 2017 in an exposé titled ‘How SB Nation Profits Off An Army Of Exploited Workers’ and since then, SB Nation has done small, internal damage control. A memo leaked to Deadspin in May referred to “fans” and “important voice [who] do not want to be paid,” which runs contrary to SB Nation seeking college graduates or writers and editors with previous media experience.

Meanwhile, this does nothing to address the main issue of full-time editorial freelancers not receiving living wages to work for a profitable media company.

In fact, it appears business is being conducted as usual at SB Nation. The SB Nation Talent Manager Twitter account has been spamming Twitter with job postings over the last two weeks.

As expected, all of the postings appear to promote a job opportunity at SB Nation. Keywords such as ‘hiring’ and ‘manage’ fill each post. However, the postings have little indication of any improvement in pay or benefits for applying for a full-time position with the company.

Despite SB Nation’s best efforts to do damage control after it was finally revealed that they were either underpaying or not at all compensating hundreds of team site managing editors, social media managers, news desk writers, and columnists, it appears the status quo has remained in tact VOX Media.

Adding to the issue is how tone-deaf it looks for this information to come to light, then have these kind of jobs continuously promoted from a talent acquisition account presumably earning a full-time wage to recruit new legions of low paid or unpaid staff.

At present, SB Nation appears only marginally different from any of the multi-level marketing systems you may see a an old acquaintance from high school try to sell you on Facebook.

It is a system that works for SB Nation, mostly due to the dire state of sports media. The continued closure of outlets and shrinking of newsrooms that never adjusted to online publishing eliminates job prospects. Recent graduates who believe by working free they are paying dues, or veterans in need of the slightest shred of hope for a future opportunity are vulnerable marks.

As an industry, it is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot allow SB Nation’s system to become the standard. If Deadspin exposing it was not enough to curb the issue, that leaves would-be staff to take a stand.

Don’t apply for SB Nation job postings, and if you do apply, do not take a position that does not offer a full-time wage for your efforts. Make it perfectly clear to the hiring managers at their company – who are obviously taking home a living wage to recruit you into the system reliant on large-scale traffic generation at a low price – that you will not be taken advantage of.

The sports media industry will never get out of the hole it is currently in if we continue to allow outlets to pay under $2000 a month for full-time work. It is time to take a stand and tell SB Nation to fuck off — or we will continue to see more of these empty “opportunities” replace actual jobs.