JOURNALISM IS ON the job training, Inquirer metro columnist Annette John-Hall said in class today.
While on the job, Annette was verbally assaulted by a baseball player and hit on by a basketball player. She sampled a marijuana brownie. She's received thousands of emails and comments on her stories, not all of which have been pleasant. She's met celebrities (Denzel!) and befriended famous athletes. And she's traveled the world reporting and telling stories.
Here are a few things that stood out to me:
- She started covering sports while attending San Francisco State University.
- She then went to work for the Oakland Tribune, followed by the Rocky Mountain News and the San Jose Mercury News.
- She was one of the first black women reporters covering the NBA.
- As a sports reporter and columnist, she worked with athletes to make the locker room environment more friendly to women.
- "As a woman, the job is so much more difficult," she said, referring to being a sports journalist. "I had to be beyond reproach. It's a very fine line between being friendly enough to get info but not too friendly."
- In reference to the Mexican TV reporter Ines Sainz, Annette said, "When you go into a locker room, cover yourself up."
- Half of the athletes don't read the newspapers and those who do don't look at the bylines, she said.
- She left the sports department because she was tired of working nights and weekends (and holidays). She wanted more regular time with her family.
- Sports reporters are expected to be critical, whereas news reporters are supposed to be objective.
- As a metro columnist, her job is to reveal her point of view. "This is just my truth," she said. "I welcome conversation about it."
- Even though she lives in New Jersey, she tries to give voice to the thousands of people who get ignored everyday.
- She does not just sit at a desk and rant. She is a columnist, not a pundit.
- She is confident and argumentative and she goes into stories with an idea of what she will find. But if the story turns out to be different, she'll report what she learns.
- She suggests you learn multimedia skills. "The more moves you have," she said, "the more in demand you'll be."
- She said that a lot of your success will come from who you know. But it is really about what you're willing to do (i.e. go the extra mile).
What stood out for you?
8 months ago