By Jordyn Bradley and Kate Vaughn, JSHOP Reporters
“Don’t let anybody outwork you!”
That’s was one piece of advice given by Jemele Hill, ESPN senior correspondent and columnist for The Undefeated, to students in the JSHOP on Wednesday.
Hill, a Detroit native, returned to her hometown where she spoke to young people at the high school journalism workshop at the National Association of Black Journalists convention. She was given a warm welcome after it was announced that she would be receiving the 2018 NABJ Journalist of the Year award. The graduate from Mumford High School made an appearance at JSHOP to speak about her successes and setbacks.
Her focus was not just on her achievements but how she came to earn them.
When discussing her experience as a black woman in sports journalism, a field dominated by white men, Hill said, “You have to defy the stereotypes about not knowing as much as the ‘boys.’”
While she was not even close to being the majority in her workplaces, Hill said she always felt a personal sense of belonging. She talked about how you can not be a solid part of something if you, yourself, do not feel you belong. She learned not to take the negativity personally.
“The best revenge is always success,” she said.
While talking with JSHOP students, Hill said her NABJ experience has come full circle. She went from joining in 1992, the last time the convention was in Detroit, to being named journalist of the year. During those 26 years, Hill worked at multiple newspapers, including the Detroit Free Press and the Orlando Sentinel.
In 2006, Hill became a columnist for ESPN and later moved to become a regular on ESPN TV, eventually being a major part of two shows: His and Hers and SportsCenter. Being limited in expressing her political and cultural opinions on TV, she turned to social media. There, her statements eventually led to a suspension on SportsCenter. The suspension gave her a reason to leave and pursue column writing for The Undefeated, an ESPN-owned website that follows sports and pop culture.
As a followup to leaving ESPN SportsCenter, she started a joint production company last year with her former Michigan State University roommate Kelley Carter. The production company’s main focus will be on documentaries, scripted and untold stories.
When asked, Carter said the name of the company has not been formally disclosed, but she hinted that it was, “an homage to Detroit.”
Hill’s experiences and mistakes have helped her become the successful black woman she is today. At the end of her discussion, Hill gave a final piece of counsel to the students, “ Focus on what you can control and everything will fall in place.”