Five Things We Learned from AJ McCord

On Wednesday, November 7, UO AWSM hosted AJ McCord, a sports reporter and anchor at KOIN 6 in Portland. Growing up in San Diego, McCord was raised in a house full of women who explained the game of football to the men. Women talking sports was a norm for McCord and it was one of the main reasons why she wanted to pursue it as a career.  We had the opportunity to sit down with McCord to discuss her life leading up to KOIN 6. Here are five takeaways:

  1. Preparation is key! Arrive to your reporting assignment with your homework already done. AJ stressed the importance of being prepared, especially when you cover multiple teams in one night.
  2. The first 20 seconds of your highlight reel are the most important: “Put your best, most engaging stuff first because news directors are likely looking at hundreds of them.”
  3. Be open to change: “You’ll feel the fear of failure often in this job. It’s easy to get discouraged, but be open to your dream changing. Realizing what you want to do now can change. Sometimes you might feel like you’ll never get what you want to go, but maybe you don’t want to get there.”
  4. Find a stress reliever. AJ has fallen in love with the outdoors and has been able to appreciate the PNW on her days off. This allows her to step away from the constant work and pressure this industry brings.
  5.  Do not apply to a job through their website. AJ explained how imperative it is to find a direct email to apply through because you want to make it as easy as possible for them to higher you.

5 Takeaways from Matt Herb

 On Wednesday, we had the pleasure of hearing from Matt Herb. Matt has been covering Penn State football for nearly three decades, and talked to us about enhancing our script writing and gave us important tips on play-by-play. Here are five takeaways from his talk:

1. Make sure you know information about the opponent. Make sure you know the strength of the opponent so you can know what type of challenge the home team is facing and what they need to do to win.

2. Look at the local newspaper, for reports on injuries, suspensions, and feature ideas to help build your story for the game.

3. Put the game in context. Figure out if the game is a trend from the season or a break from what’s been happening. Once you find that key trend, use it as the lead for your story. 

4. If you cover a blowout game, look at individual performances rather than focusing on key plays where there might not be as many.

5. Lastly, it’s most likely most people have seen the game by the time you get to publishing, so aim to make your story unique and include something interesting that has happened from the game outside of the football played.

Stef Loh – Why Access is the Key to Success in Sports Writing

By Emma Childs

We had the lovely opportunity of getting a visit from University of Oregon SOJC alumna Stef Loh. Loh is in transitioning from sports reporter covering the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington State Cougars for the Seattle Times to the assistant sports editor!

Here are our five takeaways from her visit last week:

  1. Access is key! Build relationships with athletes families and friends, be trusted and you will be able to get good stories.
  2. “Don’t be picky once you graduate. Cast a wide net and prove that you can do the job, even if it’s in the middle of nowhere.”
  3. You should feel supported in a newsroom. Loh speaks from experience and worked in a place where she wasn’t completely supported. She hopes that future journalists are keen to those situations.
  4. Use “creative Googling” to your advantage. You can find out almost anything you need for a story.
  5. Take time if you are crafting a story. On her experience writing Tyler Hilinski’s story, “We wanted to do it right, not do it fast.”

Kate Scott and her journey to the Pac-12 Network

By Hayley Demanett

I’m now a senior in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon, but my path to choosing a major was not always been clear. I entered college as an education major, but eventually chose to switch to business. However, neither of these majors suited me nor my goals, and in the fall of 2016, I chose to enter the SOJC, which I will complete next fall.

So hearing that Kate Scott, a reporter for the Pac-12 Network, has experienced an indirect path to her own successful career, was helpful for me. Before working for the Pac-12 Network and before getting the chance to become one of the few women to do play-by-play for an NFL game (radio for a San Francisco 49ers exhibition game), she interned or was a regular contributor for Nike, Cal Magazine, KNBR-680 and Metro Traffic.

“There’s no straight line in broadcasting, and everyone has a different journey,” Scott said.

The University of Oregon chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media hosted broadcaster Kate Scott on March 15, and the first female sports reporter on the San Francisco Giants’ radio station spoke of her career journey.

Growing up in a conservative Southern California town, Scott was a four-sport athlete, who if not for a torn meniscus, would have played collegiate soccer. Due to this injury, Scott found a new way to channel her passion for athletics when she became the sports reporter for her high school newspaper.

While attending the University of California, Scott showcased her affinity for athletics through leading the “Go Bears” cheers at basketball and football games.

Before becoming a sports broadcaster, Scott was a traffic reporter at Metro Traffic, which was a frustrating time in her career, as sports reporting was her passion. However, Scott recounted this era in an appreciative way as she told how there were “supportive men behind me” and she eventually got to do the station’s sports updates.

Scott shared her story of how she got her start as the sports reporter on KNBR-680, the Giants’ flagship station in San Francisco. Initially, Scott had planned to interview at the organization’s Atlanta station, but after the San Francisco sports reporter quit, Scott received a call that they would like her to interview for the local job instead. “Contacts and connections are everything in this industry,” Scott said.

Perseverance has played a large role in Scott’s professional life. She told how when she started as the sports reporter at KNBR-680, she was “not prepared for the public response,” as she received a lot of hate for being a woman because “guys feel like radio is the final frontier.”

During her talk, Scott encouraged us to “try as hard as you can to not compare yourself to other people.” She discussed how this was a difficult task when she transitioned to television reporting, as she “didn’t have the Erin Andrews curls” and “if you’re a woman, you have to fit into this tiny box of being yourself.”

One of the key ideas that Scott conveyed to the AWSM attendees was to be someone who is supportive and “kind to everyone.” As a successful reporter who embodies this concept, Scott told us, “It’s great to move up in your career, but if you’re not bringing other people, you’re wasting your time.”

In regard to finding success in the journalism industry, Scott told how digital is “intertwining” with traditional journalism practices and encouraged the students to learn a diverse range of skills. She cautioned, “This industry is changing so quickly, so get on board or go do something else.”

Calling World Cup games and the Olympics would be her dream jobs, Scott said. She expressed how she would even “call underwater basket weaving” if given the opportunity to report at the Olympics.

One of the event’s attendees was University of Oregon student Hayley Tennant, who shared that her dream job is similar to Scott’s in that she hopes to enter the sports broadcasting industry as an anchor for ESPN. When asked what her biggest takeaways for the evening were, she said that you have to put a lot into this line of work, and to “say ‘yes’ to everything.” These ideas reflected what Scott said earlier in the evening regarding internships and job opportunities. She told the students to not “act like anything is beneath you.”

Scott told the AWSM attendees that one of the things that she works the hardest at is preparing for the games she is calling and practicing her craft. She said, “I don’t want anyone to ever say I don’t know something.”

Scott’s dedication to her profession was reaffirmed by her Pac-12 colleague of 2.5 years, Jon Weber, who also attended the AWSM meeting. When asked what qualities make Scott stand out as a reporter, he chuckled to himself and said that she’s very passionate and knowledgeable, and “she’ll know more than anybody else.”

An accomplished reporter, Scott provided us with valuable advice on how to find their way in the transitioning field of journalism. She encouraged them to “get your foot in the door anywhere,” support others in the industry and “fake it ‘til you make it.”

Five Tips From Women’s Hoops World Founder Sue Favor

University of Oregon alumna Sue Favor Skyped in with our chapter last week to discuss her passion for women’s hoops, the website she created and the steps she took to differentiate herself in the sports industry.

Five takeaways from Sue:

1 – Get to know the community you are covering. As a journalist, records and top scorers are important, but understanding and implementing the human angle makes your story relatable to the residents reading your work.

2 – Be prepared when conducting interviews. If you only use one or two sources, you will only capture a small portion of the story you’re covering.

3 – When you cover a game, make it a priority to create relationships with the sports information director.

4 – Don’t get mad – “Keep your cool and don’t say anything even though you know you’re right.”

5 – On the topic of overcoming (in the moment) sexism and just rough-around-the-edges individuals: “It always pays to stay professional. Kill them with a smile and be assertive.”

 

10 Things We Learned From Sports Journalist Julie DiCaro

By Linden Moore

On Friday, May 12, UO AWSM hosted its second celebrity speaker in two years, sports journalist Julie DiCaro. The Chicago-based journalist is known for openly speaking out about opportunities for women in sports and the equal treatment in a male-dominated industry. In addition, she shared her experiences with sexual violence and gave some insight as to how women deal with the life-changing trauma. We had an opportunity to sit down with Julie and here are ten takeaways from what we learned

1. You don’t have to major in journalism to have a successful career

“I was a journalism major in school and I wanted to be a sports reporter but at the time there weren’t women that I saw doing that,” she said. “I was practicing law when the Chicago Tribune asked if they could pick up my blog and distribute it then I let them know I wasn’t happy at my job and one day they said there was an opening for someone to run their blog network. I got an email from WGN radio and they wanted me on it so I backed into it but a lot later than I thought I would.”

2. There isn’t one definition for “sexism”

“It’s always jarring when you hear someone say something that can be interpreted as sexist,” she said. “There’s a difference between what men think is sexist and what women think as sexist guys they’ll say something and say, ‘I’m just joking around’ but for women that hits home.”

3. Sports has turned into a validation of opinions

“Sports radio is like the bastion of people who say things publically it’s okay,” she said. “When I go to colleges and see so many women interested in the sports industry I’m excited for that and I hope they’ll work in an industry the way that sports fan base looks then having it be all guys.”

4. We need strong male allies

“I’m glad I have those guys in my life who stick up for you on Twitter, who put women front and center to amplify their voices instead of trying to talk over them I wish all guys were like those guys,” she said.

 

5. The More than Mean campaign kick started a conversation, which means we can do something, too.

“For more than Mean, Sarah and I felt that we had our chance to have our say in an impactful way,” she said. “The backlash was formidable for a while but the support outweighed the it. Everything changed after that in terms of me being able to let a lot of it go. The awards aren’t the reason we did it but it’s validation that it mattered to people so that’s really rewarding. I also had trolls reach out and apologize to me after the video came out.”

6. Twitter is a large vortex that can be centered with gendered and sexual comments

“There’s a lot of women in Twitter screaming about what’s happening to them all the time,” she said. “But the way women are harassed online as very different is very gendered and sexualized and that’s what so alarming,” she said.

7. Domestic violence survivors don’t have one definition for rape

“It takes most women in those situations seven times of trying to leave if they get out at all it’s already a complex situation to get someone to leave and adding one more thing in there beyond what’s acceptable in civilized society,” she said. “Everything that’s listed, it’s like being a woman is a preexisting condition it seems so simple if you’re not in that situation but when you spend time with dv victims you realize how much damage has been done to people’s psyches and how they see the world.”

8. Screenshotting tweets can help you in protecting yourself against internet trolls

“I screenshot them because so many of them get deleted and when you talk about them people accuse you of exaggerating it,” she said.

9. Prosecutors drop domestic violence charges half the time

“Having worked with domestic violence victims, 50% of the times they drop the charges,” she said. “It’s hard to tell people to report it when I didn’t report my own rape,  so I know that feeling of there’s no way in hell that I can do this.”

10. Rape is NEVER a woman’s fault, it’s not a punishment for making a mistake

“We convince ourselves that it was our fault,” she said. “Punishment for being an idiot college student isn’t rape. If a woman doesn’t give consent, it’s rape.”

 

 

Sarah Lorge Butler Visits #UOAWSM

We had the lovely opportunity to host Sarah Lorge Butler for our week seven AWSM meeting. Butler is a writer for RunnersWorld.com and covered the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

Some of our executive board members also sat down with Butler to record a podcast. Check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/user-278312051/uoawsm-speaks-with-runners-world-writer-sarah-lorge-butler

Five Takeaways from Sarah:

1 — If you have a passion of covering sports. Do it. Nothing is stopping you. Don’t stop yourself from following and pursuing that passion.

2 — “You don’t need to be Lebron James to write about basketball.” Butler reiterates that you do not need to have played professionally or competed in a sport to cover it. You can still be a good journalist even if you have never experienced that sport personally.

3 — Freelance journalism can be hard, but it’s really rewarding. Be dependable and produce interesting content, and you’ll find success.

4 — “We have seen this year the need for journalism, especially local journalism.”

5 — The whole journalism world is so upside down right now—students could consider producing sponsored content. That’s where she got her start!

Five Tips From Boston Celtics Reporter Amanda Pflugrad

 University of Oregon alumnus, Amanda Pflugrad Skyped in with our chapter last week from the East Coast! Pflugrad spent her undergraduate years in the School of Journalism and Communications and as a cheerleader for the Ducks. She now is a Sports Reporter/Host for the Boston Celtics. 

Here are a few takeaways from our event with Amanda:

1) Everyone has their own career journey and path that they take. Just try and find your own way. Their isn’t one linear path, dream big!

2) One of the best things out of her job and this industry is the relationships and connections she makes! Her advice is to value the relationships you make and use them for your broadcast and your career!

3) Your willingness to learn will get you far! Pflugrad emphasized that being flexible and able to work with people will make you more appealing to hire.

4) It’s OK to be uncertain and scared of the future, continue to try and figure things out—that’s the best you can do!

5) Use your resources! Everyone around you is often willing to help if you ask, both your professors and professionals in the sports media industry.

 

Five Points of Wisdom from KEZI’s Hayley Lewis

KEZI sports reporter and anchor Hayley Lewis spoke to our AWSM chapter last Wednesday night about her career in sports broadcasting. Lewis, a previous winner of Miss Tennessee, shared how she gained the self-confidence that led her to her current job.

The best role you can play is yourself

Hayley emphasized that being yourself is the best thing you can do when applying for jobs. There are people with some of the same skills as you, but there’s only one of you. Be yourself and things will fall in place.

Find your passion by trying new things

Hayley didn’t start in broadcasting, and she mentioned that it’s OK to start your career in a different field. A former finance major, Lewis talked about how she shared a love of football with her dad, was a college football coach, and then became passionate about public speaking while in college. Trying new things can lead you to things you wouldn’t have imagined yourself doing.

You don’t need to have everything figured out right away

#Adulting is difficult. Lewis shared how she’s still learning how to adjust to her new city and is learning to budget both time and money. She even admitted to going on Bumble BFF to find new friends that aren’t co-workers and that she’s taken comfort in being in new situations.

Everyone has different strengths

Finding the something that makes you stand out from other applicants isn’t always obvious. Lewis shared that her time at Miss Tennessee helped her find her niche in public speaking and then combined it with sports. However, she told us that we don’t have to know our unique skill set now, but to find it by trying new things.

You don’t get a job on a silver platter, you have to really want it

Hayley talked about how she applied for 88 jobs, heard back from 12 and ended up getting three offers. She said, “Make sure you’re passionate about your field before applying for jobs, it’ll be easier to work harder.”

 

 

Five Pieces of Advice from meeting with AP’s Anne Peterson

By: Maggie Vanoni

AP reporter Anne Peterson spoke at the UO AWSM chapter Monday night about her experience covering sports all around the country, including the state of Oregon, to even her time covering the Olympics as well.

1. Network, network, network … Peterson emphasized the importance of reaching out to the people you find inspirational and getting a foot in the door. She believes that keeping in contact with coworkers and friends will help expose you to numerous opportunities.

2. You will have to do things you don’t want to in order to get where you want to go … Peterson started her career at AP doing the tasks that no one else wanted to, like manually entering lottery ticket numbers to doing the weather forecast. “You have to be willing to do anything,” Peterson said. “Don’t expect to cover the NBA right out of college.” Peterson said that she always worked hard no matter what she did, and her employers knew that and took it into consideration when opportunities opened up.

3. Background research … Come prepared to your reporting assignment with the homework done. Peterson stressed that during major events, like the Olympics, she has binders of background research on both teams and knows specific details about players as to be ready for any coverage.

4. Write Beforehand … Constantly working with tight deadlines, Peterson said her biggest help is writing paragraphs before she gets to the event. With her immense amount of prior background research, she crafts out sections of her gamers beforehand, always making sure to leave room for intro-paragraphs — something that she will focus on during the game.

 

5. Capture a moment and make that your lede  “Half the battle when writing is to try to capture a moment,” Peterson said. Peterson likes to lead her stories by capturing the game moment. Using last week’s Blazer game as an example, Peterson chose to lead her story of the game with Damian Lillard pointing at his wrist after he walked away from making a three-point shot with 0.7 seconds left, which ultimately clenched the win for Portland.