The sports industry is one of the most difficult industries to break into no matter what you want to do. However, as a recent high school graduate, and an aspiring sports journalist, I understand the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the sports industry. It may seem impossible to break into the industry; frankly, it will never be an easy industry to get into. However, our industry needs aspiring journalists more than ever right now. The global pandemic has allowed me to have a chance to reflect on the long grueling journey that is just starting. Moreover, I want to see an aspiring journalist succeed. Therefore, in this open letter to any aspiring journalists, I want to share some of the biggest pieces of advice I was given and have been able to use to begin to see the crack into the journalism clique. Before you can become a successful journalist there is one thing you have to have in your arsenal of personalities, the ability to be hungry.
You may ask, what do you mean by “being hungry? I am glad you asked, you are the only person that will ever know what you want to do with your future. You have to be hungry for it, and take every opportunity you are given; even if you are not keen on the opportunity. Some of the most reputable people in the industry got their start in an undesirable way too; for example, Tyler Dunne from Bleacher Report got his start as the Syracuse Daily Orange swimming and diving beat reporter at Syracuse University. Being hungry will allow you to keep a level head, especially when you hit a “foul ball”, and are told “no’ when inquiring about an opportunity. Being hungry is the main ingredient to the heartiest appetizer you will ever have, hard work; as long as you eat the hard work part of the dinner course on the menu, success will follow.
Hard work is an expensive price for someone to pay and will take a lot out of you. There will be days that an aspiring journalist will be sitting in front of a screen, pumping out content. There may be times where you feel like you cannot do anymore and begin losing hope. It may be tough, but just keep pushing. In fact, it will come when you least expect it.
For me, it was a warm spring day in 2018 inside Allegany-Limestone High School. I was wearing a beautiful pink shirt and a blue tie as I prepared for a mock panel interview. This interview was required for graduation a couple of years later. One of the interviewees was NFL Agent Shane Costa, he said, “keep working hard, and someone will take a chance on you, no matter what.
To any hopeful, or rising journalist reading this, you may think there is no chance. Use COVID-19 to your advantage and take a bite of what is front of you, the opportunity will come when you least expect it. Until that happens, stay healthy, stay humble, and stay classy.