What I learned From Listening to a Group of ESPN Professionals

A handful of ESPN College Gameday professionals spoke to an audience of Murrow communication students in Goertzen on Friday, October 19th. They answered questions given by the charismatic Dean of the Murrow College, Bruce Pinkleton. This group of professionals included Gene Wojciechowski, Tom Rinaldi, Maria Taylor, and Rece Davis. I attended this event to learn about sports journalism because that was how it was presented to students. However, I learned much more than I expected about what it means to be a writer, a college student, and what the professional world of media looks like. This simple Q and A had revealed the struggles that many writers face, along with how how sports journalism goes beyond just sports.

Rinaldi started off by saying that the most important thing he will tell us today is that we should write. This took me by surprise as he continued “If you’re a writer you will be forever separated by those who can’t, won’t, and don’t write”. This was unexpected because Rinaldi is a sideline reporter where the majority of his job is being broadcasted on television. I was impacted by what was spoken because I was never extremely interested in sports journalism but I realized that being a journalist will require you to adapt to very different situations. It is all about connecting with people, whether that be in writing for a newspaper or reporting for a football game. Gene Wojciechowski proved my speculations by saying “you build relationships that aren’t necessarily personal but are more than professional”.

The topics of discussion during the panel varied from how to ask good open ended questions, why you should be as curious as you can instead of giving in to cynicism, and how to handle pushback from the public. All of these things are crucial to surviving with a career in communication. This discussion showed an audience of ambitious journalism students that making a career for yourself is determined by how hard you are willing to work and the best way to express your creativity. I am grateful for having the opportunity to attend an event relevant and informational about my passions here at Washington State University.