Have you heard about espnW.com? Yes, it is a bit different from the LadyBallers mission but just as strong towards respect for female sports fans. ESPNW's "first business dedicated to serving female athletes and fans. We'll shine a brighter spotlight on women's sports, and put you in touch with top female athletes from across the globe." Today we have the pleasure with learning more about one of their columnists, Adena Andrews who has been in the sports industry for 7 years.
Please give us a little background on how you got to your current role: After graduating from the University of Southern California in 2007 with a B.A. in Print Journalism I interned with ESPN The Magazine for six months. After that I began working at NBA.com as an editor. Two years later, espnW was born and I was ready to embark on my new adventure. Lots of networking and the power of social media helped me get where I am and sharpen my skills.
How did you decide you wanted to get into the sports industry? Real haphazardly actually. I played sports since I was a child, so my freshmen year I decided, this will be easy to write about for the school newspaper. I started off with the sports I played, swimming and basketball, and just stuck to that. I considered doing hard news if I found a job in that field but, the world of sports wrapped me up and never let go. I wouldn't have it any other way.
What was the first step you took to get into the sports industry? While the school newspaper was the first place I wrote sports material it would have probably deterred me from the sports world if I stayed there. My first real step into the sports industry was my sophomore year when I walked into the offices of the Los Angeles Wave, a weekly newspaper in downtown LA, and decided to start covering high school sports. I had no experience, wasn't from Los Angeles and didn't even know the names of the high schools. I just walked into the newspaper and said “I need clips and I go to USC. Can I help you, help me?” They let me cover some excellent games like the championship at the Pyramid in Long Beach. Of course, I did this all for no pay. I'm glad I had parents to support me while I chased my dreams. It all worked out in the end when I walked across that stage with a job lined up after graduation.
Was there a time or situation that made you second-guess your path? My first article that got chopped up by the school newspaper sports editor was pretty tough. At the time, I was real sensitive about my writing and he gave me some speech that basically translated to “You suck. Why are you even here?” in my mind. I crashed and cried on the floor of my plush USC apartment (we rolled pretty nice). I started to think, “Why I'm I here? What am I even learning in school ? If I can't write in the school newspaper, how can I ever get a real job?”
That was just one of those growing pain periods and I got over it by just hitting the pavement and writing more.
Whenever I run into roadblocks in life, I actually draw inspiration from Kanye West. No, I don't go around drinking in public and crushing teenage girl's dreams like he did to Taylor Swift. I remember how tons of people turned him and his beats down when he was a budding artist. Some of those same beats won him Grammy's years later.
You just have to keep on pushing.
Please let us know whom your mentor(s) were/are on your journey. Shout out to the Sports Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists. That group has been very influential in helping me throughout my career. Black or white, if you want to be in sports journalism, join this group.
– Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports who helped me through times when things got so bad I was actually thinking of leaving journalism and the country.
− A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sports Net who is always there to help me navigate this labyrinth they call the sports industry.
− Michael Doyle and Tony Lamb at NBA Digital, they always listened to me rant and believed in my zany story ideas. As a twenty-something bursting with energy, sometimes all you want to be is heard.
− Ndidi Massay and Crystal Howard, they kept me in check as an intern at ESPN The Magazine, while also schooling me in some ways of the world.
− J.A.Adande, my sports journalism professor at USC. During my senior year, he dropped some pearls of wisdom that I still use today.
− Keith Clinckscales, the man with the plan. Point. Blank. Period.
− I really don't want to continue naming folks because I feel like I'll forget someone....
Lastly, my mother / momager / toughest editor / biggest fan.
What tips or advice would you give to a female wanting to enter the sports industry? Use social media and your blog as your training ground. It's where you can develop your voice and hang out with some of the brightest sports minds around while adding your two cents. Also, smile, look people in the eye and give a strong handshake. It's universal for “I'm hungry. I'm trying to eat. And I'm not about to wait. Let's get it.”
Also, don't just contact people when you want something from them. Make it a habit to just email/text/call people to see how they are doing and update them on your life. People are always interested in what their former intern is up to. They feel as if they had a hand in your career and want to see the fruits of their labor. Even if it's just to tell them your birthday is coming up and you're going on vacation, reach out to them. So when you do need something from them, you won't seem like a total leech.
Do you think there is a negative ring that automatically lies around females within the sports industry since it’s a male dominated industry? No.
What would you say to the men who don’t see women as being on the same level when it comes to the sports industry? I don't know any men like this so I can't really talk to them.
What is your biggest accomplishment to-date in terms of your experience in the sports world? I've had some really great moments in my short career but I wouldn't say any were my biggest accomplishment. I am just doing my job. My biggest accomplishment is being a healthy, intelligent and self-sufficient 25 year old who is open to the wonders of the world. It took me a while to get here and I have so much further to go.
If there were one thing you could change about the sports industry, what would it be? More press conferences that end in ice cream and cake for the media like Shaq's retirement press conference. If this happened, the world would be a better place. Also free iPads or the newest gadget for “product testing”. Can you tell how bad I want one?
What is your favorite sports moment? Muhammad Ali refusing to enter the armed forces. I love to see someone make the unpopular decision and stick with it. Going against the crowd is one of the toughest things to do.
What is your favorite sport quote?
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ''Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'' --- Muhammad Ali
What are your favorite sport websites? ESPNW.com! Then ESPN Page 2 and I'm really loving the new Grantland. Outside of ESPN, I like NBA.com for stats, Deadspin and Sports By Brooks for laughs, The New York Times and Ball Don't Lie.
Any advice for female fans or female sports professionals?
“If you're going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
Check out our previous Female Sports Professional interviews as well:
Melanie Curtsinger: Communications Manager for the Orlando Magic
Alana Nguyen: Managing editor for Yardbarker, a FOX Sports Interactive company
Susan Lulgjuraj: Staff writer at the Press of Atlantic City
Lauren Shehadi: CBSSports.com/CBS College Sports Network Anchor and Reporter
Alana Glass: Founder & Owner of Iwanttobeanowner.com
Claire Wright: Events Manager with Central Florida Sports Commission
Mahogany Ratcliffe: Co-creator & co-host of Bad Girls of Sports
Jennifer Taglione: Founder and owner of Stiletto Sports
Jennifer Rodriguez: Co-creator & co-host of Bad Girls of Sports
Justine Brown: Production-Assistant with the NFL Network
Jessica Quiroli: Baseball blogger and covers high school sports for Ultimate Athlete Magazine
Melissa Miller: Assistant Brand Manager for the Orlando Magic
Amber Anderson: Grassroots Marketing Coordinator for the Orlando Magic
Kathryn Stuart: Course Director, Sports Management and Operations - Masters Program at FullSail University
Are you a female interested in sharing your Professional Sports experience or know a female who would be good to feature? Email us and let us know!