Hillary London, Erin Quinn, and Caroline Steadman, representatives of ESPN’s stats and analysis division, all came to the University of Massachusetts Amherst Wednesday morning to speak to Steve Fox’s sports journalism class.
The basis of their visit was to give some young, aspiring journalists an idea of what they do at ESPN, their path to getting there, and some tips regarding resume builders.
London, who began her career as a field hockey and lacrosse coach at Vassar College in the Hudson Valley of New York, always knew she was interested in sports, claiming she knew she didn’t want to work a nine-to-fine in an office. The Union alum then went on to coach Salve Regina and Sweet Briar College before finally ending up at ESPN.
London considers herself lucky for, “knowing the right people” to help get her noticed by the major sports network.
Offering a bit of advice to the class, London noted, “sell yourself for that opportunity.” That opportunity referring to the specific job title that you want, rather than a broad description as to why you love sports in general. Said London, “Tell us those tools that not everyone knows about,” in hopes of separating yourself from a large field.
Erin Quinn and Caroline Steadman, both in their first full year at ESPN, touched about the application process when vying to intern. The two did well through lengthy interviewing processes, as well quizzes to help earn their spot as intern at ESPN, and now a full-time employee.
One thing that London noted that is important to the interviewing processes, is being able to identify and explain three things about yourself, something that seems simple enough, yet many find difficult in doing.
The lengthy evaluation process begins with a 45-minute e-mail exam, testing the applicant’s sports knowledge on various subjects. The questions can range anywhere from identifying the misspelling of a player’s name, to specific historical events, to tough baseball questions.
If an applicant passes both the online exam and phone interview, that person is then able to travel to Bristol, Connecticut, ESPN’s headquarters, and spend a day on campus. There, the applicant gains exceptional knowledge of the day-to-day workings ESPN through a shadow program.
ESPN is very generous throughout the process, providing housing to applicants in their program.
One thing that helped Steadman distinguish herself from the tough competition was her fluidity in the language of Spanish. ESPN is always looking for diverse individuals, and Steadman’s ability to speak Spanish is helpful in the Deportes network.
Both Steadman and Quinn were also athletes in college, something ESPN looks for in their applicants. Playing college sports helps develop teamwork, a necessity says London, who admits ESPN is a “people-place.”
The “people-place” atmosphere probably comes from the fact that their major work hours come on weeknights and weekends, a time that most workers in America have off. It creates a friendly environment as workers are forced to come together and work as a team in crunch time.