The State of the Black Sports Reporter panel featured a variety of print, television and online professionals. Mike Freeman (Bleacher Report), Carlton Thompson (MLB.com), Gary Washburn (Boston Globe), Shannon Cross (TV One) and Chris Broussard (ESPN), used their experiences rising through the ranks of journalism to advise and inspire up and coming members of the media to never give up on their passion to become the next great journalist. If the discussion had a theme it would be perseverance. The panel described their small beginnings interning, writing for school papers and covering local high school sports to break into the business and gain a wealth experience. In terms of being black in the industry, the panel explained that the obvious challenge of diversity will always be an issue so you have to perfect your craft and make yourself valuable to an outlet. Here are a few highlights from the esteemed group.
Mike Freeman: “Your mistakes are more amplified and your success is more diminished. As a result, use your allies to help advance in the industry and combat adversity.”
Carlton Thompson: “If you’re good and you’re working hard they’ll find you. So position yourself to be the BEST.” Align yourself with people that are going places. Your alliances are important to your success”
Gary Washburn: “Perseverance is the key to succeeding in this industry. This is a perception business and a judgmental business. Carry yourself as a professional. Be professional at ALL TIMES.”
Shannon Cross: “It’s never too late to go after whatever your passion is. And if you don’t know it’s never too late to figure it out. Even if you’re established in your career you’ve got to keep learning. Writing will get you far. Be safe is actually risky, so you might as well be fearless.”
Chris Broussard: “Sometimes you can be so focused on why you’re not on TV or at a huge paper, you may not be excelling where you’re at. Don’t worry about starting small. Sometimes it’s better because you get many experiences that can help in the future. Whatever you do don’t Despise Small Beginnings.”