Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Annette John-Hall: "This is Just My Truth. I Welcome Conversation About it."

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?

21 comments:

Richard Fogel said...

I really admired the guest speaker today, I thought she was a fascinating person that has done outstanding work in her career. To start out with your hometown newspaper is really lucky and she made the most of it. What really interested me was the three years she spent covering the Nuggets. For a black women to have enough courage to take that job is awesome, like she said there weren't to many colored reporters period during that time. I think its really interesting that she knows so many famous people as well, overall I really enjoyed what she had to say and I hope I can be half as successful as she is now when I grow up.

MIA said...

I thought the guest speaker today was pretty awesome. For her to stay and report even though she may have not been wanted, she hung around and remained reporting for the Nuggets. In a sense she was admirable to me and I hope she continues to be successful.

Arielle Arlan said...

Ms. Hall is a great speaker. She knows how to keep people engaged and she has a lot of advice to give. I heard her speak before when I did the Acel Moore workshop this past winter. I learned alot and see her as someone I can look up to as an aspiring young female journalist.

Shauna Cottle said...

I thought she did an amazing job! Annette had some great advice, and she was definitely entertaining. I was so inspired by her, and I emailed her to let her know that.

Cara Stefchak said...

Think twice before you go for those edibles everyone.

lilkohr391 said...

I really enjoyed hearing her speak yesterday; I felt she gave good insight and knowledge to the class as aspiring journalists (or at least some of us). I felt that her advice and thoughts put a career in journalism into a realistic perspective for me.

Kate Trowbridge said...

I really enjoyed listening to her speak! She definitely did a great job of keeping the listener engaged throughout the whole presentation. What stood out for me the most was the last thing you mentioned, about who you know and what you are willing to do. I'm always willing to go the extra mile so to hear that it may actually help me in the future was a bit reassuring.

Amber Curtis said...

I loved her! She really gave great insight on the career I was looking toward. She spoke about the ups and downs and wasn't afraid to tell the truth about anything. She is a great role model and reminds me so much of Pam Oliver. The fact she was willing to offer her e-mail address for help was very generous. She kept me focused on listening and curious about the future ahead for writing. She was an excellent choice!

Mallory Sullivan said...

I loved Annette not only because I agreed with practically everything she had to say, but she seemed so comfortable and confident talking to over 100 students. Her personality was welcoming and her views were practical.

Jonathan said...

I personally found it very reassuring to hear that she was content to let the insulting responses to her story just slide. As an investigative reporter at my old college's newspaper covering everything from wasteful administrative spending to a dorm sexual assault cover-up, I've lost count of how many letters to the editor called for my resignation in less-than-polite terms, and more times than not my editor felt it necessary for some kind of response to be made, which inevitably added fuel to the fire. To hear that a professional columnist acts the way she does in that regard is very reassuring.

Michael Busza said...

I thought that Annette John-Hall was a very inspirational speaker to bring into a journalism class. She was very informed and extremely passionate about her occupation, which thereby made me even more passionate about my future career. She brought to the class another personal perspective, similar yet different from Prof. Miller's, that can't be taught from the textbook. I especially appreciated her openness to questions because young journalists are always curious about what it's like actually being on the job.

Dan Wasson said...

Annette gave me more of a clearer approach to journalism as a career. I liked how she was able to incorporate her actual experiences she dealed with along the way while making them interesting at the same time. She seems like a very fascinating person just from her many accomplishments.

Julianna said...

I loved her! To me she was a realistic portrayal of where I want to be eventually in my career. I was actually thinking of changing majors, but listening to her kind of sparked my interest again.

Kevin S. said...

I especially liked how she eased into speaking though humor. Although I'm not sure how realistic her rise in the journalism would be today, the fact that she did it was admirable.

taylor_kimble said...

i loved Annette! she told the truth and nothing but the truth about her job. she had my attention from the beginning when she told us about her encounter with "today's marijuana". i thought that whole story was funny. i respect that she was willing to modify her career in order to put her self in a better position as a mother and wife. she inspires me to continue my goal to becoming a reporter.

kaela.fortino said...

I really enjoyed listening to Annette! She was straight forward and honest with her answers and I learned a lot about the different paths a journalist can take in his or her career. She definitely reassured me that you do not have to stay in the same position for your entire career, and you should always seek new opportunities when given the chance. I admire her a lot for all the risks she took, it reminded me that you always have to go the extra mile because it will pay off in the end.

Kaitlyn Sutton said...

I liked how down to earth Annette was. I am sure that for some guest speakers, talking and really connecting to a class of more than 100 students could seem like an impossible feat, yet Annette did it gracefully and even got us all to laugh! She was such a sweet lady who gave me a real insight to the journalistic world! I would love to start reading her column.

Cassandra D'Amelio said...

Annette was a wonderful guest speaker! I enjoyed listening to her honest recollection on her experiences as a journalist. One of the things that really stood out to me was her positive attitude. Despite being called a bitch, discriminated against for her sex and race, hit on by various ball players, and treated like an inferior by her male counterparts, she held her head high and did what needed to be done. She aims to be neutral and professional but still knows how to have a good time and make light of past situations. I thought it was cool that even though she was passionate about her career, she compromised in order to spend more time with her family. Her experiences shed light on what it really means to be a woman, from the nation's greatest state, in journalism.

jeanette vega said...

What stood out about Annette to me the most was how strongshe was. She is perfect for the indusstry becasue she has such a strong spirit and the meantality and attitude to take on just about anything. She taught me a lot about the business and gave me more insight as to what ill be looking forward to as a journalist. I was surprised when she told me a masters was unneccessary for the business, that made me really happy lolI appreciate when guests readers come in and speak to students pursueing the same carrer. I hope to have more speakers like Annette in the furtue.

Anonymous said...

She was absolutely AMAZING.
I loved her stories and she was an inspiration to me! I really admired her openess to talk about the different barriers she encountered as a female journalist.

Taisje Claiborne

Anonymous said...

why doesn't she look like her picture in her column-she should update,she is much older and larger then I thought she'd be based on her published image. Look it up, she needs to change her name to "Annette GIANT Hall".