How She Got There: ESPN Business Reporter and Lawyer Kristi Dosh

Name:  Kristi Dosh
Age:  30
Job Title and Description:  ESPN Sports Business Reporter
College/Major:  Oglethorpe University (Politics); University of Florida (Juris Doctor)
Website:  www.kristidosh.com
Twitter Handle:  @SportsBizMiss

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Currently, I’m ESPN’s sports business reporter, and I appear on all platforms. I write for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine and appear on ESPN radio and television shows to discuss sports business topics. While the content I deal with changes from day-to-day since I cover all sports, I find I’m most productive when I have a routine. The first thing I do every morning (usually while still in bed) is read through all my emails that came in overnight. I flag anything I might want to tweet or write about later. Then I go through my Google Reader, which is loaded with dozens of blogs that cover sports from angles ranging from marketing/advertising to the The Chronicle of Higher Education. By then I’m usually at my computer and tweeting interesting facts as I read through the posts. After that, I move on to whatever written piece I’m working on next for ESPN. Sometimes that means I’m at the research stage, sometimes I’m interviewing sources, and sometimes I’m writing my draft. I’ll work until I reach a stopping point for lunch, which can range from 11-1 pm. After lunch, I’m back to more of the same – researching, interviewing and writing. Sometimes I’m being interviewed for radio or television during the day, which can require me to put aside what I’m working on and research for my interview. So, while I have a routine, I have to be flexible. For the most part, this is my routine seven days a week, although I generally use this routine to work on my books I’m writing on the weekends unless there’s a big sporting event or story to cover. And I’m always on Twitter sharing interesting facts and answering questions people tweet me!

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
What I would consider my first “job” in sports media was an unpaid contributor position with “SportsMoney” on Forbes.com. I was an avid reader of the site and one day emailed the editor to comment on a piece he had written about the MLB collective bargaining agreement. I had just begun writing a book on the subject, and had previously been published in a legal journal on the topic, which I pointed out in the email. The editor emailed me back a couple of days later and asked if I wanted to become a contributor, and I excitedly accepted.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
How easy it is to be perceived as having a bias. One positive or one negative comment can be perceived as a bias that can follow you around forever.

Are there any particular difficulties or disadvantages being a woman in your particular field?
Being in the media means putting yourself out there for public consumption, which can result in negative feedback, particularly about your appearance.

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
There are so many people who deserve some recognition! I couldn’t possibly single one out over the others, but I can say the first people who come to mind are professors.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
“You can’t always wait for opportunity to knock. Sometimes you have to tear the door off its hinges and tackle opportunity in the street.” I’ve seen quotes like this in a number of places, so I’m not sure of its origination, but if I had a personal mantra, this would be it! You can’t sit around waiting for things to happen to you – you have to make them happen.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
When I was just starting out I used some data in a piece I wrote without fully understanding how the data was gathered, which caused me to draw incorrect conclusions. I learned how important it is to ask questions when you’re dealing with raw data to understand what is and isn’t covered and relay that to your audience.

What is the best part of your job?
Waking up every morning excited to do my job!

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
Proof that they’re passionate about what they say they want to do. It’s easy to say you’re passionate – show me, don’t tell me. Are you so passionate you wake up two hours early before classes or your current job to do something related to the job you want? Are you so passionate you’ve been doing an internship in the field while working another job that pays the bills? Prove to me that this is your passion.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
Network, network, network! You can never go wrong by meeting and keeping in touch with people in the industry in which you want to work. Many jobs are filled through personal connections and never advertised to the public. Get out there and let people know your goals – you’ll be amazed how many of them want to help you achieve those goals!