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Ash McDaniel – Student at George Washington University

and Associated Press Sports Writer

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Video Transcript

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SportsTVJobs.com: Hi I’m Brian Clapp Founder of SportsTVJobs.com, I’m joined today by Ash McDaniel, Ash is a student at George Washington University and a real up-and-comer in the sports media world. She’s been an Associated Press Sports Writer for the last two years, was named the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s student correspondent of the year, and has worked as a production intern on one of ESPN’s most popular shows – all of this while maintaining a high GPA and writing for her blog www.first10yards.com – whew that’s a lot of work, thanks for carving out some time for us Ash

Ash McDaniel: Thanks for having me!

SportsTVJobs.com: As I mentioned in the intro you’re a college student but you’ve been an AP Sports Writer for 2 years, how did you get that opportunity? and what sports do you predominately cover?

McDaniel: With the Associated Press (AP) it was right place right time. I was able to cover this great event for the late Abe Pollin who was receiving an award at George Washington and I was the only student media there. My editor just sort of asked me if I would be able to come by I was able to attend and when I was there I just started talking to everyone I could. I grabbed everyone’s business cards and a few days later sent out emails asking to see if anyone was looking for an intern. Actually the AP offered me a job! I started writing for them and since I’ve covered all the D.C. sports teams, Redskins, Wizards, Nationals, Capitals and D.C. United. I’d probably say my favorite to cover has been the Nationals, they have the most games and I’m able to get to know the players. I’ve also mostly covered the visiting locker room so I’ve gotten to meet a lot of outside teams as well. My favorite interview so far has been joe Torre, that was pretty neat to be able to meet him. (giggles)

SportsTVJobs.com: Go ahead feel free to name drop, tell us all your favorite players you’ve met! (laughs) What was it like the first time you went into a locker room, and did you feel like you had to work extra hard to earn the respect of the athletes?

McDaniel: My first time in the locker room was stressful and scary – especially since it was Randy Johnson’s 300th win which was played in DC. It was a complete circus, there were so many media there and I was the only female in the locker room which is a recurring theme for me. Occasionally you’ll see some women in there, especially on the broadcasting side but it’s still extremely rare if you have 3 or 4 in the locker room, it’s bizarre. I also tend to be the youngest person in the locker room other than the bat boy, so it takes some getting used to. Athletes in general know it’s my job and haven’t been too weird about it they know that I am there for a purpose, other sports writers have given me a little bit of a hard time. They’ve given me lots of advice too , but definitely at first I kind of had to prove myself which I think I ended up doing pretty well.

SportsTVJobs.com: Last summer you had the opportunity to intern at one of ESPN’s most popular shows, Pardon the Interruption, how did you land that internship, what kind of stuff did you get to do and did you have to do anything wacky for Tony Kornheiser?

McDaniel: That internship was probably the best thing that I’ve done so far. I ended up getting it because I’d call up Mike Wilbon’s office at the Washington Post about every day for three months, just kept asking can I work there? How do I apply for this internship? I ended up getting it eventually.

I didn’t have to do anything too crazy there but before I started working I started watching American Idol because I know how much Tony loves it, so I wanted to be able to talk to him in the office about different things. So I ended up watching Idol for that one season just for him.

SportsTVJobs.com: Research I like it, do a little extra research! You’re a Florida native who ended up at George Washington University, why GW and what has been the greatest benefit of being in their School of Media and Public Affairs?

McDaniel: I wanted to leave the state, I did consider University of Miami but wanted to get out a little bit and be in a big city. I came up and visited and just loved George Washington University, it’s right in the middle of downtown it’s fast paced. It’s also a 4 sports city which is great; I came up here and just loved it. The great thing about George Washington is that we have a School of Media and Public affairs so it’s not just a journalism major, they have a whole program centered around journalism. I’ve learned a lot about multimedia, web design, I’ve done production work for them and all of that is because of School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA), we are really hands on in there we’re not just learning about writing, we’re learning about all different facets of media.

SportsTVJobs.com: You’ve been very aggressive in seeking out opportunities and not waiting for things to come to you – you’re a great role model to young journalists – do you have any advice you’d like to share?

McDaniel: I would say don’t worry about being pushy, a lot of things that happened to me were because of luck, but also because I worked at them. I called Wilbon every single day, I always ask for business cards and I always email follow ups to people. If I get your business card I will always follow up within a week and say hey it was great meeting you and ask about opportunities, maybe sharing something with them. That’s really important to me, putting myself out there. Don’t be afraid or else you won’t have all the opportunities. I said when I came up to DC I wanted to work at ESPN, I wanted to be able to write for a major newspapar and I wanted to intern at the Washington Post, I did all three of those in my first 2.5 years here. Don’t be afraid, don’t be shy I won’t apologize for asking questions and talking to people, just don’t be afraid.

SportsTVJobs.com Thanks Ash this was a lot of fun, to read more of Ash’s work check out her fun and informative blog www.first10yards.com