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Intern Chronicles: Meet Brianna Williams, NABJ-ESPN Stuart Scott Internship-Scholarship Recipient

NC A&T student discusses what the legendary SportsCenter anchor means to her with his daughters, Taelor and Sydni, and her impactful social media work at ESPN

When you think of unique sports storytelling, Stuart Scott – who is discussed in the video above – is one name that comes to mind.

Scott was a renowned anchor at ESPN, most notably for his role on SportsCenter. His creative catchphrases and unique style of storytelling is one that will never be forgotten. Scott’s legacy is not only in his amazing work at the network but also in helping aspiring sports journalists achieve their goals.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) partnered with ESPN to create a scholarship and internship program in memory of Scott for his contributions to sports journalism four years ago. This year’s intern and fifth scholarship recipient is Brianna Williams.

Brianna Williams (Brianna Williams/ESPN)

Williams is a senior at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, majoring in journalism. She is interning with ESPN’s Social Media department.

In the video above, she discusses the meaning of being a Scott Intern with his daughters, Taelor and Sydni.

Below, she describes Scott’s legacy, its connection to her, and this special internship experience, along with some of the great work that she has done at ESPN.

Tell us a little bit about your knowledge of Scott and his impact.
As a consumer and fan of sports media, I knew him as the guy today in the industry. Even to this day, you’ll see a lot of references to hip-hop culture – black culture in general – and things people our age come to see as normal. It wasn’t the norm before Stuart. He’s a trailblazer and someone who changed the game. On the other hand, being the recipient of this award in his namesake, it’s been nice to see people who have worked with him be so genuine toward me and really humanize him so that he wasn’t just this figure.

What does it mean to you to have this internship and scholarship affiliated with his legacy?
It’s such an honor and super humbling because he is a legend at this company. When people hear me say his name, they have this different inflection in their voice. It’s another added layer of motivation. I felt like there is already this standard that I have to uphold because when his name is mentioned, the standard goes along with it. It’s definitely a big motivational opportunity. He’s inspiring, and it’s amazing.

What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve done or experience you’ve had in your role?
The first idea that I pitched was the [Kansas City Chiefs quarterback] Patrick Mahomes ketchup tweet. It was a random thought on my first or second day, and it came to life within a week. That tweet basically showed how much ketchup Mahomes could buy with his new contract. That was really cool.

Then, I had another with [Chiefs wide receiver] Tyreek Hill that talked about chasing [Basketball Hall of Famer] Michael Jordan and winning seven rings. [ESPN Senior NFL Insider] Adam Schefter screenshotted that photo that I made and tweeted it. Then, [Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback] Tom Brady quoted it, and it had nearly 100,000 likes.

When he responded to it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! Tom Brady saw my photo!’

Honestly, I love logging in daily. When ESPN is the goal for so long and then to finally get here is amazing. Two years ago, around this time, I was cleaning houses and businesses and to go from that to here in two years is crazy.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The biggest lesson for me was believing in myself and taking that leap. Sometimes you can undersell yourself, but I think it’s important to not be afraid to go for what you want and take those big opportunities that lead to growth and development. I always say ‘Delayed does not mean denied.’ Persistence is definitely key.

Shelby L. Lacy and Allison Stoneberg produced the video.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Front Row’s Intern Chronicles series showcases some of ESPN’s summer interns. For more information on ESPN Internships, visit the ESPN Careers site. For more on ESPN’s Fall 2020 interns, see Front Row’s Intern Docuseries.

Sydni and Taelor Scott interview Brianna Williams in the video at the top of the post.
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