BY MACKENNA LAMPHERE
On April 11, the School of Communication Media & the Arts (SCMA) and the Office of Alumni Engagement hosted the event Getting in the Game: A Symposium on Women in Sports Media.
The presentation was geared to bring Sacred Heart students together to showcase women in the sports media industry. The discussion consisted of a roundtable panel of SCMA alumnae. Diana Cannizzaro, a sports reporter for CollegeInsider.com, Sports broadcaster, Allison Gaskins, digital live streaming/video production assistant for NBC Sports, Nicole Granito, and Alexandra Padalino, who works as a production assistant at ESPN. The keynote speaker Alexa Ainsworth is the coordinating producer for the Paralympic Games and a producer for NBC Sports Group.
Ainsworth’s job consists of hiring for all production positions for the Olympics, which means dealing with many people and producing live shows. There is never a dull moment according to Ainsworth. “I can be sitting at my desk working on editing excel documents, in the studio, on air for 10 hours a day, or traveling.”
Ainsworth says that she loves her job and the lives it lets her be a part of. “Olympic athletes have such an amazing life and the fact that you get to be part of their journey and tell their story, that’s why I do it.”
Some of the topics discussed ranged from how to get your foot in the door on the local and national level of broadcasting, how to be professional, what are marketable skills to have in the industry, working in a male-dominated work environment, and learning how to be yourself and stand up for your ideas.
Cannizzaro stressed to the students in the audience how important it is to know your facts because people will test you.
“People will try and make you quit. They think you will know everything about all sports, so read up on everything. They don’t want us to do better than the men, so make sure you know everything that you can about what your coving.” For many of her post-game locker room interviews, she will be the only woman there. In the end, she says it comes down to not letting that factor intimidate you.
Allison Gaskins has been able to make a name for herself in this industry by never being the one to say no to a job. “Learn to not say no, never turn down a job or tournament if you can. You might not be the best but the work you’re putting in will show in the end. I am one of the few female color commentators out there, so sometimes that has maybe gotten me the job but I still have to have skills to make it up.”
Gaskins is a part of Sacred Heart’s own basketball and football programs as a play by play commentator, sideline reporter, and color commentator in games.
Padalino and Granito both took the lead when the conversation turned to more of behind the scenes work in sports media.
Granito urged students to really pay attention and learn how to use every piece of equipment in the studios here. She stated that most of the equipment that we have here at Sacred Heart is the same as the studios. “Learn to use every piece of equipment. Know the equipment inside and out. Even if you want to be in editing, know how to use a tripod.”
Senior Olivia Mittleman, who was in attendance, said, “This event allows students, and specifically young women, to get an inside look into what it’s like working in the sports media industry. Also, it’s a great way for students and alumni to network.”
Each of the speakers had their thoughts on being women in a male-dominated industry. All of them agreed that when it comes to getting the job, as long as you can prove you know what you’re doing and work hard, you will stand out more to job recruiters.
“Have thick skin, people will try to break you down. Always believe in yourself. There were so many times when people made me second guess myself and rethink why I am here,” said Cannizzaro. “I’m here because I love it, because I am passionate. So don’t let anyone take that away from you.”