lachelle

The journalism world has taken me places I’ve always dreamed of and is still allowing me to unfold the beauty of the craft of communication. Being a sports enthusiast and having aspirations to be the greatest sports journalist in the world, ESPN was always on my list of places I wanted to be, just like other aspiring journalists — it was at the top of my goal list. 

If you ask any person who wants to talk about sports for a living, they will always tell you ESPN is the sports mecca — the place that is all sports all the time, every day. You hear the famous “DaDaDa, DaDaDa” 24/7 and wonder what it will take for me to be there. 

The gut-wrenching feeling is that you realize you are not the only one wanting to accomplish that dream and to get just a piece of the experience of being able to contribute to the greatness of ESPN is a challenging honor that millions apply for. 

An honor that came with three rejection letters for the same internship before I was able to see my headshot on that blue ESPN badge. 

While being a graduate student at the University of Southern California majoring in specialized journalism I was blessed with the opportunity to be selected as a summer intern at ESPN in their Audio Podcast department. 

It changed my life. 

Working at ESPN is what one would expect. It’s demanding and there’s a standard of professionalism that you must have every day you clock in. No task is too little or too big no matter the title of your job.  

Initially, the internship was located in Bristol, CT but because of the pandemic, it would be pushed remotely. But, being remote did not take away from the internship at all. I felt just as part of the ESPN family virtually as a person would physically walking onto the Bristol campus. 

My summer was full of logging onto my company-issued computer waking up early for 7 a.m. recordings and working 40 hours a week on multiple podcasts like Adam Schefter and Mina Kimes. 

The week would encompass multiple meetings with colleagues in other departments to network and learn about all the operations throughout the company, producing shows and helping create social posts to help the engagement of the podcasts. 

Having that real-world experience at a company such as ESPN is priceless and having the background education of a journalism degree allowed me to use that education in an applicable setting. 

To see my work actually on the ESPN website and to know I helped create that was a dream come true. 

The one thing that is engraved in my experience is that I was able to pick the brains of some of the most talented broadcasters in the world that I watch every day and have listened to for years.

Their kindness and patience to be a guiding hand for a young journalist like myself is something that I never took for granted, because they made the experience even more than what I expected. 

Imagine getting to talk to Schefter about football every week and then watching him go live on TV hours later. It makes you know that the dream of being where they are is attainable. 

I worked closely with the First Take, Her Take Podcast with Elle Duncan, Charly Arnolt and Kimberely Martin. Those ladies made me feel welcomed and allowed me to have a voice to help the show improve. I say with a lot of confidence that I had one of the best internship experiences because most interns don’t get to make appearances on shows. 

But, I was able to be on the podcast with those talented ladies on multiple occasions because they believed in me and wanted me to use my voice. Those moments are what made me a better journalist and gained more mentors. 

That doesn’t mean everyday didn’t bring its own stresses and challenges. It can be intimidating at first knowing that you are working at a company such as this one and that you want to perform at a high level. The best advice I received during my time there was to “remember you are meant to be here.”  

ESPN boosted my confidence to know that journalism is not a dying industry, despite what others say. 

I am here to tell journalists just like myself that your dream of working with the best publications and networks in the world is possible. Trust the skills that you have gained throughout the years and know that you belong. 

There is a place for every storyteller that wants to be in this industry. Those opportunities are waiting for the young journalists of the world to make their mark.

I wouldn’t have imagined how much growth I would see in myself from the start of my internship in June to late August. They prepared me for the next level and no matter where you go you are always a part of the ESPN family.  

I hope that my journey from graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2019 to graduating from USC in 2021 can be of some encouragement to others that are in journalism that want to be able to have those experiences and learning moments that I had with ESPN. 

The time is now for our generation of journalists to take the lead and make their names known with the incredible work that they are capable of at the highest level. 

We belong in that space. 

Keep writing. Keep producing. Keep storytelling.

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