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.
5 months ago