Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dei Lynam: "Everything I've Ever Done, I've Written for Myself."

Dei Lynam grew up around sports. Her father was a basketball coach in college and in the NBA, so Dei experienced journalism first hand.

"He had a lot of good friends who were journalists," she said in class. "They were fair to him."

After growing up in the Philly region, her family moved to the West Coast. Dei wound up going to college at UCLA, where she studied psychology.

"I looked at the comm classes and everybody looked the same," she recalled. "I didn't want to be in that cookie cutter mold."

While at UCLA, she worked in the athletic department doing office work. She made valuable connections there, including with a person working at a new sports station in Los Angeles.

"I called that guy every day," Dei remembered.

Eventually, she began working for that station. That started her on her professional path in sports and journalism.

She became a producer at NBA Entertainment for a few years before becoming a sports anchor/reporter at local news stations in Madison, WI and Cincinnati.

"I was the first female weekend sports person at both places," Dei said.

She eventually wound up back in the Philadelphia region when Comcast Sportsnet launched in 1997. She's been covering the Sixers, among other things, ever since.



Here are a few things she said that stood out to me:

• Her experiences behind the scenes, including learning how to edit video, made her feel qualified to do on-camera reporting.

• When covering the Sixers, she often arrives at the arena by 10 am for morning shoot around. She'll do locker room interviews afterward, and then prep stories for the Internet. She'll do live shots for the afternoon newscasts and then return to the locker room for interviews before the game. She goes live during pre-game, then works the game and post-game reports, often ending her day after midnight. "I hope to have a glass of wine in hand by 12:30," she joked.

• "Everything I've ever done, I've written for myself," she said. She does that because "I know it's going to be accurate," she said, and the words will sound more natural if they are written in her own voice.

• She has never had any problems being a female reporter in sports locker rooms. But being a woman in sports can be a hurdle, she said. Sometimes, women aren't considered for certain jobs that have been traditionally held by men.

• She went back to work within a few weeks after giving birth to her first child - out of loyalty to her job and because she wanted to make sure she kept her position. Dei suggested that if your employers offer three months of maternity or paternity leave, take it. You'll never get that time again.

• She began covering the Sixers around the same time Allen Iverson joined the team. They became pretty close over the years. But it was a business partnership, Dei said.

• Her news team had a conversation about reporting on the off-court antics of athletes despite potential conflicts of interest because the Sixers and Comcast were owned by the same company for a while. They decided, "If we want to be taken seriously as a news station, we have to cover the tough stuff," she said.

• She does not do selfies with the famous people she meets. "I've never gotten an autograph before in my life," she said. "I won't help my kids either."

• The industry is changing, she said. People are moving away from cable and streaming stuff. That has an impact on what gets covered in the news now.

9 comments:

Teresa Sayers said...

I really enjoyed listening to Ms. Lynam speak to us.
Being a female who wants to go into the sports journalist field, I always love seeing others who are already there. To me they are even more proof that I can make it, and I can be a female in a mostly male dominated world.
I really enjoyed her tips on how to succeed being a woman in the industry, and it really made me think when she said her job could be in jeopardy for no other reason than her age.
I also liked how she said she wrote all of her own stuff, and that she used her own voice.
My love for writing is brought me here, and my love for sports kept me. Knowing I can use those together, even if I take the path of a broadcast journalist, means a lot to me.
Overall I think Ms. Lynam is a great role model, and she is definitely someone I want to keep in touch with.

Katie Weaver said...

Dei Lynam was really enjoyable to listen to. She had a fresh, realistic perspective to the journalism industry and what it is like to be a woman working in a male-dominated field. Her comments about threats on her job because of her age were both thought-provoking and disturbing. I imagined this to say something about sexism and misogyny in the industry. However, Dei's outlook seemed positive, and I truly believe she will be just fine as far as her job prospects because of her great attitude and compelling presence. Though I am not really a basketball fan, I would watch for her commentary. It's great to see older women who defy stereotypes and are still making a name for themselves in a largely image-dominated field.
-Katie Weaver

Michael Walsh said...

As a huge sports fan and a 76ers fan in particular, I found everything about Dei Lynam's presentation engaging. She gave us a non butter coated version of her story.I think by doing so, she really showed how hard and unrewarding this career path can be at times. On the flip side of that, it can also be completely worth it. As a woman especially, I think Dei breaks a lot of social norms when it comes to the field of journalism. She wasn't afraid to be in a men's locker room full of undressed, sweaty, dirty, athletes. She knew that there was a certain professionalism needed to be able to succeed in this field. Sadly, however, I do not like how someone like Dei has to work so hard and long everyday. I know she probably likes what she does, but someone like her deserves more help or assistance. Especially when it comes to editing her own material and such. Overall, Dei is awesome and I am really happy you brought her in!

-Michael Walsh

sam nestel said...

The first time I heard Dei speak I was a sophomore in high school, so to hear her speak again, three years later, in my college journalism class was really interesting. I don't remember much of what she said back then, but I definitely know that what she said this time struck a chord with me. I really respect how honest she was about the ups and downs of being a journalist and how everything she has ever done, shes written for herself. Dei is inspirational for me because she came from the same place as me and worked her way up to where she is today. She really made a place for women in sports broadcasting, and its comforting to know that if that is where I decide to go in my career, that I'll have her as a role model.
-Samantha Nestel

Molly Dooling said...

I really loved listening to Dei speak. She was so real and genuine in everything she said. I liked how she went through all her past jobs, explaining how she ended up where she is now. It gave me perspective that you're not just going to land your dream job right out of college. It takes many years to earn and find that job. She seemed very passionate about what she does which was also nice to see. He job looks very fun and rewarding, but also very hard. Those brutal hours can't be worked by anyone! Dei has a special quality to her that makes her so perfect for this job.

Siani Colon said...

Although I'm not interested in sports broadcasting, I really enjoyed hearing Dei speak in class. She came across as very genuine and authentic when she was sharing her experiences. I think she's someone to look up to because of what she has overcome in order to achieve the success that she has now, especially as an older woman in the industry. When she mentioned how she writes all her own stuff, does her own editing, etc, it really solidified how important it is to be well-rounded within the field and know how to do different aspects that get the entire job done.

Gabriela Bertot said...

Ms. Lynam was a great speaker to listen to. She provided a lot of useful information that will be very helpful to me in the future. The one thing that stood out to me was the emotion she showed when talking about her children. It seemed as though she regretted going back to work so soon after the birth of one of her children. After she mentioned this she said to make sure to take the maximum amount of time you are given. Her experience made me realize that you have to be sure you are in a good place in your career before starting a family. The work Ms. Lynam does is very impressive and I strive to be as successful as her in the future.

Walter Kirby said...

Dei Lynam was a joy to listen to. She provided a lot of unique information that only a person on the job can tell you. You learn a lot from a class and textbooks but there is nothing more enjoyable and informational than hearing from someone who has first-hand experience in something that you have a desire to do. Ms. Lynam was also a great person to look up to and use as motivation, especially for women. She hit the ground running and used all her power to get where she is today. She has climbed up the ranks from doing local news to now being in the public spotlight on Comcast covering the 76ers on a daily basis. It is not easy what she is doing, constantly flying back and forth across the country to cover the team, but she has done it and has become a big success. She now has a successful career that she loves and has passed all of the tests in becoming a terrific journalist.

Lisa Cunningham said...

Hearing from Dei Lynam was a very educational and eye opening experience, and I enjoyed every minute of her talk. She did not beat around the bush and make getting involved in this industry seem easy. She was honest with all of us and did not want to give us any false information. Listening to the stories she told about how busy her schedule opened my eyes to something I never really thought of. I knew that this field would require a lot of dedication and hard work but I did not expect to hear that she arrived at the stadium or arena so early for the games. I did not realize how long and exhausting the schedule of a sports journalist could be.

Another aspect of her talk that struck me was when she discussed how quickly she went back to work after having her baby because of fear or loosing her job. Starting a family is something that is very important to me and seeing her get filled up while talking about something so near and dear to her was touching.

I really enjoyed hearing from such a successful and talented sports journalist and I hope that I can be as great as her one day.