Junior Tackles Stigma of Women Covering Sports Journalism
Isabel Miller has a clear vision of her future.
“My dream is to be the next Erin Andrews,” Miller said. “I know I have a little bit of time before I can even possibly think about getting there.”
But Miller, a junior communications studies major, has already made strides toward realizing that dream. An upcoming summer-long internship working at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta will provide experience in various areas of sports journalism, from reporting sports news to producing it.
The internship and an accompanying $1,000 scholarship were awarded through the Association of Women in Sports Media, a nonprofit organization that advocates for diversity in sports media. Miller was one of nine scholars this year and CNN’s top choice.
Miller heard about the internship opportunity through a former sports editor for The Daily Texan, and decided to apply on a whim.
“At the beginning I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I sort of just applied as a 'why not?' ” she said.
When Miller didn’t hear back from the foundation for more than a month, she assumed she hadn’t won the spot. But when AWSM reached out with questions about which area of sports media she was most interested in, she began to hope for the best.
Weeks later, during Thanksgiving break, Miller was sitting on a train bound for New York City when she checked her email inbox and saw an email from CNN requesting an interview. During the interview, Miller said she made sure to project confidence – a strategy that paid off. Her position with the high-profile media network was confirmed a few days later.
“I was beyond thrilled, because CNN is a huge company, and I’ve never been to Atlanta before,” Miller said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity, so of course I accepted it within a day. I was over the moon excited.”
Miller’s strong interest in sports stems from a background steeped in them, with four years of both varsity soccer and track and two years of varsity baseball. Calm off the field but aggressive on it, Miller routinely earned titles like “nightmare dressed like a daydream” and “good girl gone bad.”
Her love for energetic and competitive sports atmospheres mixed with a passion for public speaking fueled her desire to forge a career in sports reporting.
She knows it’s still largely a male-dominated industry; a stint with MLB Network last summer showed her that. But with any luck, Miller said, she’ll be part of a forward wave of women in sports journalism.
“It is happening more often, and I want to be one of the people that encourages that and drives that point forward,” Miller said. “I think there’s a stigma for women sometimes that they shouldn’t work in sports because they don’t know the same amount as guys do, but if it’s something you’re passionate about and it’s something you want to pursue, that stigma and that negativity that sometimes comes with it – you have to just ignore it.”
And her dreams are already becoming a reality.
“I’m going to be working at the sports division of CNN,” Miller said. “Not many people can say that.”
Freshman Journalism Major