Ultiworld Staff and Contributor Demographics, 2019-2020

Starting in 2021 and as part of the commitments outlined in our Equity Statement, Ultiworld collects baseline demographic information about our staff and contributors to share in an annual public report. Our instrument for this is an anonymous, opt-in survey for staff and contributors as defined below. While not a complete index of equity and inclusion at Ultiworld, we present the data as one rough snapshot of our contributor base, a prompt for further reflection and examination, and a measure for greater accountability to our readers and staff.

Because 2020 was an unusual year for coverage, we asked respondents about their work in both 2019 and 2020 to gather a more representative idea of how Ultiworld works during typical playing seasons. Future reports will address one year at a time.

What To Know About This Data

In the survey, we asked core staff and significant contributors to self-describe across non-exclusive demographic categories. For purposes of this report, we invited responses from anyone with at least three bylines during either year as well as anyone present in a regular reporting, content production, or internal role with the site. We also asked respondents to describe what work they did for Ultiworld within broad categories during the relevant period.

Because contributors could choose multiple options for each question (for example, self-identifying as both Black and Latinx), percentages across a broader category often add up to more than 100%. Each demographic question included options for “none of these” and “choose not to respond”; “Middle Eastern,” “Pacific Islander,” and “Native and Indigenous” were also listed but received no responses for either year.

43 total respondents completed the survey; 36 of these indicated work for Ultiworld in 2020, while 40 indicated work for Ultiworld in 2019.

This data was collected and retained anonymously. We worked to be transparent and forthcoming with respondents throughout the process, describing on the survey and in internal communications how the data would be saved and shared.

Results and Analysis: 2020

All Staff and Contributors
Staff and Contributors By Role
(click to view larger)
(click to view larger)

Self-described as…Self-described as…
Nonbinary, genderqueer, or other gender nonconforming11%East Asian, South Asian, or Southeast Asian14%
Any other than white19%
Received no responses: Middle Eastern, Native and Indigenous, Pacific Islander

Editing and ManagementWritingBroadcastingMedia Production
Nonbinary, genderqueer, or other gender nonconforming13%10%8%17%
East Asian, South Asian, or Southeast Asian25%10%8%17%
Any other than white50%17%23%17%
Received no responses: Middle Eastern, Native and Indigenous, Pacific Islander

Results and Analysis: 2019

All Staff and Contributors
Staff and Contributors By Role
(click to view larger)
(click to view larger)

Self-described as…Self-described as…
Nonbinary, genderqueer, or other gender nonconforming8%East Asian, South Asian, or Southeast Asian18%
Any other than white25%
Received no responses: Middle Eastern, Native and Indigenous, Pacific Islander

Editing and ManagementWritingBroadcastingMedia Production
Nonbinary, genderqueer, or other gender nonconformingnone6%none10%
East Asian, South Asian, or Southeast Asian22%15%14%10%
Any other than white44%21%29%10%
Received no responses: Middle Eastern, Native and Indigenous, Pacific Islander

Who This Survey Includes

Ultiworld has a small number of full-time employees as well as a slightly larger number of paid freelance staff consistently working part-time or equivalent, mostly in editorial or management roles. Much of the rest of the site’s material comes from staff writers and other staff-level contributors who create multiple pieces each month or hold regular production or operation roles; finally, there is a wider circle of occasional contributors who produce several pieces a year and whose presence in the site’s published content, internal channels, and overall operation make up a meaningful part of what Ultiworld is and does.

We tried to reach as many of these people as possible, announcing the survey via multiple virtual office platforms as well as email where possible. There are likely some we didn’t reach, as well as some who received the survey but didn’t complete it. For this reason, the data may not include all staff and contributors who met our qualifications in the years described, though the total number of responses is roughly commensurate with the scale of the site and the number of significant contributors we would expect during this period.

What This Report Covers

We limited the demographics covered here to race and gender. While the larger equity conversation includes many elements of identity and experience outside these, we chose to focus on categories that are better served by voluntary self-description than attempting to index via other means, while avoiding categories that may feel more sensitive to disclose. (We didn’t, for example, choose to ask about sexual orientation or disability, though we also value queer and disabled perspectives.)

Additionally, many contributors have roles across multiple areas of the site in ways their title on our masthead may not fully reflect: someone listed as an “editor” might also contribute reporting throughout the year, while a “staff writer” might also have a prominent role in our podcast and video presence. We asked respondents to describe these roles as distinct from their listed positions in order to get another view of which voices are present in which aspects of Ultiworld’s content and community.

Finally, the survey was focused on staff and contributor demographics, so this report doesn’t address content on the site, such as coverage across gender divisions or from outside the US. We plan to gather data on that content via other means (such as indexing published articles or videos) and will continue to share that information publicly for greater transparency and accountability in our work.

What This Data Can Tell Us

Given the small size of the company and the limitations of the survey format, fluctuations between these two years may be hard to draw strong conclusions about (for example, the small drop in women writers from 2019 to 2020 may reflect a year with fewer opportunities for occasional reporting or other contributions, could be due to other factors, or could simply be more noise than signal).

Looking at the data holistically, however, some clear patterns emerge. Notably, Black and female contributors remain strikingly underrepresented, while no respondents at all self-described as Native or Middle Eastern. As emphasized in our Equity Statement, we believe it is vital to use our platform to amplify diverse voices in the stories of disc sports; doing so is both a moral imperative and essential to the overall quality of the site. As long as these gaps are present, our coverage will be incomplete, and our ability to recruit and retain new talent will be affected by a sense of what kind of people are not only present in the room, but truly supported there.

It’s not enough for us to declare an intention to welcome a diverse range of contributors. Ultiworld continues to prioritize initiatives that commit real resources toward recruiting voices underrepresented in our coverage and supporting them in their work for the site, while also allowing them space to define their own projects and perspectives. We look forward to pursuing programs for women and BIPOC contributors on the model of 2019’s Female Writers Development program when coverage resumes, as well as developing new podcasts and streaming shows to bring more perspectives to both our media portfolio and our ultimate culture content.

If you’d like to get involved with the site, check out our Pitch Guidelines for information on submissions and payment. We are always on the hunt for talented new regular contributors; if you have a perspective you believe is missing from our current offerings, we’d love to hear from you.

We welcome your feedback at [email protected].

  1. Ultiworld

    Ultiworld is the premier news media site dedicated to the sport of ultimate. This article includes the work of a number of our staff or contributors that have been identified within the piece.


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