As an elite sports journalist, NFL and NBA reporter Pam Oliver has never been enthralled with the idea about being on TV. Instead, her career journey has been about being the best journalist she can be, about pursuing your goals despite adversity, about believing in your own abilities and about taking advantage of opportunities.
And about working really hard.
There are a lot of people in the business who want to be known, and that breaks my heart,
said Oliver, who was on campus Tuesday as the keynote speaker for the third HYPE Day, focused this month on the theme of communication. “It should never be about you. It’s about being the best journalist you can be.”
That was one of Oliver’s key messages that resonated with students.
Freshman Johni Mullet said she was inspired by the way Oliver set goals and then “went for what she wanted to do in life.”
Oliver shared that her early jobs were in agriculture, space and science, and general reporting, not sports. But that didn’t stop her from pushing toward the goal she’s had since she was a child.
As she begins to think about her own career, freshman Danielle Depinet said she’ll remember that – as Oliver did -- she may have to take a job that’s not ideal at first. “I like how she went step by step to get to where she’s at today,” Depinet said.
Freshman Slade Todd agreed with Oliver’s advice to be diverse and well rounded even through obstacles. Her message to not let people discourage you also hit a chord with freshman Kara Carney.
“I liked her message that when someone else in the workplace thinks differently, don’t let it get you down,” Carney said. “And don’t be so narrow or queued in on one thing.”
Oliver said she was repeatedly denied the opportunity to cover sports early in her career. But then, a funny thing happened: She got the chance to report on a Green Bay Packers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at Lambeau Field. The Buccaneers were having a horrible season, and Oliver posed a question to the head coach that made headlines.
I wasn’t afraid to ask the question that no one wanted to ask. That was just me, doing my job as a reporter.
Soon, the phone started ringing. Eventually, Oliver landed with Fox, where she’s been covering the NFL and the NBA for 23 years. Although Oliver may have taken a longer route to career success, she worked hard every day to get herself closer to her goals.
It doesn’t matter how you get there, you just have to make the process authentic. Be real and really want it. Keep your eye on the prize, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. … I’ve come a long way, and I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy for it.
See photos from Pam's speech and HYPE sessions.