Meet Stephanie, One of the Only Women in the Room

Name: Stephanie Sheehan

Major: Journalism & communications

Hometown: Fairfield, CT

Favorite sports team:  Mets

Dream Job: Baseball beat writer

 

 

When did you first know you were interested in sports journalism?

It wasn’t until I first joined The Daily Campus, UConn’s student newspaper. I loved sports, and I loved writing, but I never even thought about putting the two together until I realized how much fun I could have doing it.

 

What is it that you love about sports/sports journalism?

Sports are emotional. It takes a lot of passion and dedication to follow a team so closely, and it’s something I love to do-- invest myself in something that feels larger than life and watch as players sometimes transcend the game. Sports journalism gives people a chance to turn their passions into a career, and I couldn’t do my job well if I didn’t love every minute of it.

Have you found any difficulties being a young woman in a stereotypically male-dominated field?  If so, what were they?

I’ve never faced any direct difficulties, like derogatory comments or anything, but every time I go to Gampel or XL to cover a men’s basketball game, it’s not hard to notice that I’m the only female among the other beat writers, who are all older men. It’s kind of empowering to be the only female beat writer there. But, I do feel like I can’t ever make a mistake. I have to know everything to feel like a “real” sports fan.

 

Was there ever a moment when you felt discouraged to pursue sports journalism?

I’m lucky enough that any negative feedback I’ve ever gotten for an article or a column has been because of a difference in opinion or an error, not because of my gender. I have had a few people try and regulate what I should write, but situations like that only make me want to work harder and be better.

Who are your role models and why?

It’s funny, I don’t really have a role model I can point to and say, “This person changed my life.” I do admire Jeff Jacobs, a longtime sports columnist who worked at the Hartford Courant while I was there this past summer. He treated me with so much respect and he still comes up to me at basketball games to say hi once in a while. He doesn’t have to acknowledge my existence, but sometimes he goes out of his way to. Plus, his columns are fire. I can only hope to write as great as he does.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to never, ever feel ashamed for being emotional about something. Sports is emotion. Sports are personal. Take those feelings and own them, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about it. Life is unfulfilling without passion.

If you could say anything to people who don’t believe women are capable enough to be great sports journalists, what would you say?

I’d say get with the times. If you still think gender has any bearing on how much a person can like sports or how capable a person is of journalism, then you’re not even worth my time.

All photos couresy of Stephanie Sheehan