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What did your path to becoming a field sports newscaster/reporter look like?

I think it would be super fun to be on the field of professional sports games and interview the coaches, players, and others. What does it take to get into sports reporting? I'm interested to hear what your path looked like and whether you have advice for young people like me about how best to accomplish this career goal. Thank you! #sports #television #broadcast-media #espn #sports-broadcasting

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Brendan’s Answer


Every person has a different story for how they got to where they are in broadcasting. There truly is no one path.

For me, I knew when I was young that I wanted to make my job in sports broadcasting. I got involved in high school doing play-by-play for my team's games and hosting radio talk shows when I could. I went to a college with a good broadcasting program. In addition to journalism course work, got involved with school TV & radio clubs doing as much sports as I could.

After graduation, it took a couple years for me to get my first on-air job. The first one is always the toughest! I was the main sports anchor in Casper, Wyoming. Often times, you have to be willing to start in very small city where the entry level jobs are. If you are not, you are making a really tough profession that much tougher. I always tell people who want to be on-air not to say no to basically any job. You never known when (or if) another offer will come.

I spent 2.5 years in Wyoming, then 2 more years in a small market in Texas before getting a major break and getting a job in Boston. As long as you truly love the job of being a sports anchor/reporter though, it should not matter where you are. Sure, you will want to stay ambitious and improve your job, but if you don't fundamentally love the job, it makes it almost impossible to stick with it long term

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Barry’s Answer

Hi, Taylor!

How's it going? As mostly a behind-the-scenes guy (features producer, in addition to - as a hobby - hosting a horse racing podcast), I can tell you that behind-the-scenes, there are many more jobs available than there are on the air. I am not telling you to abandon an on-air dream, but just that you never know where the path is going to lead so be flexible and willing to try anything. You might like a different aspect of the business even more as you go along.

I was fortunate to find my media calling in high school, where even in the late 1980s we had a live hookup to our local cable company to do broadcasting. This was before you could do webcasts using a cell phone (there were no cell phones) and other home-based, inexpensive equipment.

I was fortunate enough to get into the number one school in the country for sports journalism - Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications. The number of sports media figures - both on-air and behind-the-scenes - coming from there is absolutely staggering. Other good ones (not as good as Newhouse, of course) are Northwestern, Missouri, Ithaca, Boston U, and USC.

I've been at ESPN since 5 months after graduation - almost 24 years (way too long). I've had a lot of things happen to me, many of which were not good, but to keep your place in the world you have to sacrifice A LOT and be willing to withstand a lot of adversity. A LOT of adversity. You don't have enough time to read all of mine. :)

I currently produce TV features for SportsCenter, etc and - as a hobby - host a horse racing podcast on ESPN.com. A career in this business can happen for you, too. Just be flexible, confident but not overconfident, and constantly do things that will hone your craft.

Best regards,

Barry Abrams