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.”