NEW ORLEANS – SportsCenter anchors Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan are attending this week’s annual National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel.
While both have participated in previous NABJ events, this one is particularly special because Eaves and Duncan were co-hosts of the NABJ Sports Task Force Mentorship Breakfast Powered By ESPN this morning. Former SportsCenter anchor and current Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts was among the panelists the duo interviewed. Before the breakfast, Eaves and Duncan discussed the NABJ, this year’s convention and more with Front Row.
How did you approach hosting the Mentor Breakfast?
Eaves: I remember when I was an aspiring journalist looking for mentors, and now I’m a mentor and looking to give back. I’ve run the full gamut of experience with them. I think it is one of the most valuable aspects of the convention because you get these face-to-face encounters, and interaction with established people in your industry. The ability to have those conversations is invaluable to someone wanting to climb the latter to achieve their goals.
What’s your advice for young, aspiring journalists regarding finding mentors?
Duncan: I’ve learned you need a mentor to serve various roles at different points in your career and life. The mentor you might need at the beginning of your career isn’t necessarily the same one you need in the middle or at the end. It is important to understand how most of the people you choose to be a mentor are typically busy. You can go to various people for specific needs and generally what I do. It’s important to remember a million different people can fill a variety of roles and that’s what you should look for in a mentor, a community of people.
Who are the key mentors you met through NABJ who helped you along the way?
Eaves: I met Stuart Scott at my first NABJ in Chicago (1997), but we developed more of a personal relationship than anything professional. Roy Hamilton was an executive at Fox Sports who gave me more opportunities than anyone at that network and I met him at NABJ long before I started working for Fox Sports.
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Duncan: [VP, Content Operations, NBA Digital] Eric Jackson. We will actually get a chance to talk to him at the mentor breakfast. He is someone I met years ago in Atlanta who has served as a fantastic mentor. He was the first person to sit down and be very critical of not just what I was doing on-air but the way I was engaging people off-air.
How much do you enjoy helping at the breakfast and at the ESPN career booth at NABJ?
Eaves: I enjoy being there, giving people some advice and critiques and also checking in with people to see where they are now. It’s great to see people I met two or three years ago doing a certain job, in a particular market, and see where they are now and their progression. I look forward to those moments.
Duncan: We have a really cool group of people who will provide a unique perspective to those looking for mentors or want to be a mentee. My biggest goal is to make sure you’re not getting talked to for an hour and a half. For the people in the audience, I was one of those people; I want to provide an opportunity to have their voices heard.
Welcome Kenny Chesney and Kirk Herbstreit to The Shoe! pic.twitter.com/BSbgUrc2x8
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) June 12, 2017