Behind The ScenesESPN

NABJ/NAHJ Convention attendees get hours of expert access at ESPN Pro Camps

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The ESPN Pro Camps at the 2016 NABJ/NAHJ Convention & Career Fair offer a whirlwind mix of career counseling, networking, sports debate and real talk.

Friday afternoon in the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, ESPN sponsored two forums for select groups of convention attendees. The “Elevate Your Game” session offered practical advice to young journalists starting their career paths; SportCenter anchor Darren Haynes and contributor Sarina Morales were among the ESPN employees sharing their perspectives in that session.

The “Join The Conversation” session offered “seasoned professionals” – veteran journalists – a chance to compare notes with the panelists like of Vice President, ESPN Deportes Programming & Business Initiatives, Freddy Rolón, Jr. and His & Hers co-host Jemele Hill, among others.

The groups also sat with various other ESPN employees at round tables to provide further networking opportunities when the primary nearly two-hour question-and-answer sessions ended.

“It’s not about coming to work for ESPN,” said Cherita McIntye, ESPN’s senior director of Talent Management and Learning and Development, of one aspect of the camps. “It’s about getting people on our radar, to get them to buy into the experience where they say, ‘Wow, those people at ESPN really care about recognizing talent in the industry, bringing people together to connect.’”

Before the sessions began, several ESPN employees participating in the Pro Camp shared with Front Row the most useful career advice they’ve been given:

Jay Harris,SportsCenter anchor:
“The best career advice I’ve ever gotten was to ‘be my authentic self.’ What I didn’t realize is that it takes a certain amount of courage to do that. But once you find that courage, the sky is the limit. So, be your authentic self.”

Alexis Garcia, manager, Stats & Information:
“My first manager with my previous company once told me that, no matter where I was in my career, I should always be learning. I should learn from the people around me and always take steps to educate myself and to build my knowledge and skills. My thanks to Andrea Zveibil, who was director of recruitment at AMN Healthcare.”

Raina Kelley, managing editor, The Undefeated:
“My mentor at Newsweek [Kathleen Deveny, deputy editor] changed my career with a single sentence: ‘Get your love at home.’ It was at that moment that I realized it was about the story and the work, not the praise. That being said, the praise is good, too.”

Darren Haynes, SportsCenter anchor:
“Bill Gonillo, the former sports anchor at News 12 in Norwalk, Conn., told me: ‘The best way to learn how to do something is by doing it.’”

Kevin Merida, ESPN Senior VP, Editor-In-Chief, The Undefeated:
“Some good advice I got when I was a young journalist, not that I’ve always followed it: ‘Don’t be in a hurry. Learn what you need to learn in order to grow. Get the experience you need in order to take advantage of opportunities and to create your own.’” Editor’s Note: For Merida’s advice to young journalists that he shared at the NABJ/NAHJ Convention & Career Fair earlier this week, click here.

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