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Rising Stars: Sportscaster Lives for the Camera

By Andrea Calabretta

Meredith is still a college student, but she's working hard to accrue experience as a television sportscaster while she finishes her degree in Broadcast Journalism. She's excited to follow the paths of other women in sports news, and to open doors for those behind her.

Name: Meredith Constant
School: Emerson College
Major: Broadcast Journalism
Years Out of College: 0-2
Title: Sportscaster
Company: The Emerson Channel
First Steps

Meredith is a student at Emerson College studying Broadcast Journalism. She is involved in many activities on campus including the Speech and Debate Team, The Emerson Channel, and Emerson Independent Video.

But her primary focus is sportscasting for a show on campus called EIV News at 6. Meredith says, "Every two weeks I go into the Emerson studios to do a live to tape newscast where I am the sports anchor. I report on all Boston Pro Sports and some other national pro teams. If there is something big going on in college sports, such as the Bean Pot, I will report on that as well. I also am required to go out into the field and do a package relating to sports. Last semester I reported from Fenway Park when they did their annual Holiday celebration."

From Then to Now

"I have a background as an athlete. I was a swimmer for years, swimming for summer and year round teams. I was also a varsity swimmer excelling in the 100 individual butterfly and freestyle relays until a knee injury took me out of swimming sophomore year in high school. I will be a swim coach this summer for a swim team in New Jersey.

I actually had several first experiences with broadcasting. First semester of my freshmen year I became a news anchor for one show, a host for a talk show, and a camerawoman on EIV News at 6. It was actually a twist of fate that I became a sports anchor on EIV News at 6. One day the sports anchor couldn't come in for the show and the replacement had to back out last minute because of a death in her family. I was the only one dressed to go on air so the sports producer came over to me, handed me the script, and wished me luck. And that was my first time reporting on sports! It went really well, and I knew I wanted to continue doing it. The good thing about my first experiences with TV was that I realized that I didn't want to do hard news, I enjoyed hosting the talk show but I felt most at ease reporting on sports.

The sportscasting gig directly relates to my major, which is Broadcast Journalism. I didn't go to a high school where they had TV studios so I took every opportunity to participate in activities that would help me for my future goal of broadcasting. I did theatre, speech and debate, journalism, chorus, morning announcements, and took any opportunity to speak out loud in class to work on perfecting my 'broadcasting' voice. I have always loved performing, and I look at sportscasting as a performance. I have to relive sports highlights for the people watching my show who were not able to experience these moments themselves. When I am in front of the camera there is no where I would rather be. I'm a ham. I am an extrovert. I honestly can't imagine what I would do if it wasn't broadcasting."

Challenges Faced

"Sportscasting is not as easy as it appears on ESPN. One of my biggest challenges has been learning how to deliver sports highlights, which is where clips from a game are put up on the TV and I have to sum up what is going on in first person as sort of a 'recap' of the game. It is a really hard thing to time and deliver.

Another thing that is tough is names! You never think about how a person's name is pronounced until you are on air, and you never want to mispronounce a name; it takes away credibility. My other challenge has been myself. There is so much going on in the sports world all the time, and it is almost impossible to keep up on all the sports. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and that I can't measure up with the boys, but then I have to remind myself that I have other strengths and if I just take sports one day at a time, check daily, I'll be alright."

My Experience

"EIV News at 6 tapes on Thursday so I usually spend a considerable amount of time before hand doing my hair and applying my 'tv makeup.' Once I get to the studios, a half an hour before tape, I get my makeup checked and I meet with my sports producer. He is an animated guy who always keeps me on my toes. He is very energetic and usually ends up psyching me up while freaking me out at the same time as he tries to explain to me what exactly will be happening in my segment of the show. I spend most of rehearsal going over the script and then it's show time. ?

My segment is the last part of the show and I go on after entertainment. The whole process is just very exciting. It is a performance so there is always adrenaline running and I always want to do my best so that my show goes up on air. The best part is the satisfaction when it is over, and my sports producer comes in with a smile on his face and that is when I know I've done a good job.

I think the fact that I have done so much as a student is inspirational. I think it shows that it doesn't matter how much experience you have or what age you are, if you go into an audition and show passion and room for improvement, you can do anything...I think also the fact that I am a female sportscaster is significant because it opens doors for other women to get involved in sports, at least on the Emerson Shows. But I mean, as much as I may be opening doors for other people, I am also still learning from people older than me and I am always learning. Once I get to the point where I think there is nothing to change and that I don't need to read up on sports everyday then I know that I have lost it. You always have to be willing to learn and improve because, if not, you are doing a disservice to your craft."

Next Steps

"I would really like to become the sports producer for EIV News at 6. I am currently shadowing the sports producer and trying to learn how he puts together a script, sports clips, and especially how he makes packages. I don't think I will go to graduate school because I personally feel that I should get out into the field as soon as possible, and I will only get better through hands on experience."

Advice for Others

"Go for it! There are so many opportunities in the sports world that it is definitely worth a shot. Also, don't be nervous if you don't think you know as much as other people in the field. You gather more information the older you get and obviously you won't know as much as a 50 year old who has been following sports all of his or her life; knowledge takes time. And remember, although it is important to understand what you are reading about, there are a lot of sports fanatics who would make terrible sportscasters. Personality, ambition, and a willingness to learn go a long way."

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