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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Growing Up

I spend many days lamenting about how I don't want to grow up.

I still consider Bagel Bites a food group, would douse my life in glitter if I could and occasionally, okay always, listen to One Direction's "That's What Makes You Beautiful" when I drive to work.

And yet, I'm one of the lucky ones. I actually know what I want to do with my life.

After internship after internship and experience after experience, I have concluded that I want to host a new kind of sports talk show.  Think a little bit of "Jon Stewart" and a little bit "SportsCenter."  Throw in a dash of humor and a lot of sports, and presto, that's what I want to do. It's wonderful that I have this idea in my bright-eyed and idealistic twenties, but now it's a matter of figuring out just how to get there. 

This week, my producing class gets to visit ABC7 in Los Angeles and meet with various people in the newsroom. And I plan to fire questions at anyone who will listen.

While the questions are simple, I predict the answers to be complex.

To the sports department, I want to talk a little about gender, a little about what they look for in on-air reporters and a lot about finding a way to get the end goal.

To reporters, I want to ask their opinion on how the on-air industry is working these days. Give me the secret formula.  Or at least point me in the right direction.  Or tell me that I need to be prepared to work nights, weekends, holidays, birthdays and every-other-days in a small town where my neighbor is a horse and I churn my own butter.

And to producers, I want to ask what makes reporters or anchors stand out to work with.  What qualities do they most like to see and how important is the producer/reporter relationship?

But most importantly, to the whole newsroom, I want to jump up on a desk and ask, loud and proud, if and how my background in news will help make me a more valuable asset for a sports team, or vice-versa.

As I constantly struggle in the tug-of-war battle between working in news and being a sports fan, I usually come to the conclusion that while news may be a little more fulfilling, sports is typically more fun.

But, what happens when the fun is stripped out of sports and the day at the races becomes a national tragedy?

Being lead producer for yesterday's newscast opened my eyes to the fact that from time to time, news and sports collide.  And with that, I realized just how lucky I am to have a background in both.

ESPN, the world wide leader in sports, even dedicated the day to covering the horrific explosions at the Boston Marathon.  As I watched their coverage later in the evening, I concluded that having a background in both sports and news was crucial for this story.

It wasn't just the marathon. It was Patriot's Day.  It was a day where the Red Sox would run onto the field at Fenway, like every April 15, and would take on the Tampa Bay Rays. Fans would cheer on Dustin Pedroia as he rounded the bases into home leading to a bottom of the 9th win.  And they were supposed to do it all again later that day in the second half of a double-header.  Only as the fans shuffled out of Fenway and into the streets of Boston, thoughts quickly drifted away from America's favorite pastime.

Before fans could have their second chance to see balls sail over the Green Monster, the next game was suspended, the nation was silence and the city of Boston was forever changed .

I was so proud of how Team Monday shared yesterday's stories. Together we saw horrific images of people affected by these awful explosions.  We shared in the heartache and grief felt by millions who watched in awe as they realized the world-famous Boston Marathon, and even our country, would never be the same.  We managed to bring the USC community up to the minute information.  The sports team helped the news team.  The news team helped the sports team.  Together we did what journalism is all about.  We came together as one.

And in light of that, growing up and finding a job can wait another day.  For now, I just want to say a big thank you to Team Monday.  Thank you for helping remind me that we can make a difference and we can give a voice to those not capable or ready to put words to the tragedy.

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