MSU Student Reporter Finds her Beat at Sports Journalism Institute

 Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, Ariana Taylor Found a New Sense of Belonging in Prestigious Sports Journalism Program

Sports Journalism student Ariana Taylor discovered her passion for writing at a young age. Taylor wanted to be an author, so she began to write short stories when she was a little girl. It wasn’t until high school when Taylor took a journalism class that she began to love the journalism writing style.

Taylor went on to intern at the Detroit Free Press. She said she enjoyed seeing black women excelling in sports media, and she was inspired by sports journalists Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Jemele Hill. She became a part of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and The Association for Women in Sports Media program at Michigan State University. 

A Rare Opportunity in Sports Reporting

During her junior year at the MSU School of Journalism, Taylor secured an internship at the Sports Journalism Institute (SJI). 

The SJI internship is a ten-week program that trains college students who are interested in pursuing a career in sports journalism. The SJI helps talented minority women and men in sports editing and reporting.

During her internship at the Knoxville News Sentinel, Taylor said she experienced imposter syndrome, but throughout the program she overcame it and gained confidence in her writing.

"It’s also something that I’ve struggled with (imposter syndrome) before and have tried to deal with, but being in the Sports Journalism Institute has helped tremendously with that,” said Taylor.

Finding a Sense of Belonging

While at the SJI, Taylor found a sense of belonging in the program and as a sports journalist. She made friends with the other women in the program and networked with SJI alumni.

"One of the biggest things the program helped me with is being confident and knowing that I belong,” said Taylor.

Taylor learned how to report under harsh deadlines and make the most out of an opportunity. 

"Sports Journalism Institute really puts you in a position to excel, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in sports journalism,” said Taylor.

Taylor is grateful for Leon Carter and Sandy Rosenbush, who work at ESPN and started the SJI, as well as Greg Lee, who assisted with the program. She credits them for helping her grow professionally and personally. 

Beyond the Classroom Experience

Taylor believes MSU has one of the best sports journalism program in the country. 

"I’m very proud to let people know where I go to school,” said Taylor.

MSU’s Sports Journalism program helps students create a strong foundation in sports media. Taylor believes her professors and organizations have helped her gain great experience beyond the classroom.

"Being at MSU allows students to get some really great experience such as covering the Final Four or an ESPN College Game day,” said Taylor. “Also, being part of the MSU chapter of the NABJ has helped me so much and given me opportunities as well.”

The program prepared Taylor for the internship at the SJI by giving her the opportunity to cover men’s and women’s basketball, soccer and hockey games as well as men’s football.

Seeking New Opportunities

Taylor advises journalists interested in sports journalism to get as much experience as possible. The Sports Journalism program has career fairs throughout the school year and she recommends attending the Sports Journalism Classic, one of the biggest journalism career fairs.

For anyone who is seeking internships and experience, Taylor suggests to go out for any opportunity you’re interested in and not fearing rejection. She also advises to find a mentor within the industry you’re interested in. 

"Don’t be scared to apply for internships and jobs just because you think you don’t qualify,” said Taylor. “If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t think I would get into the Sports Journalism Institute, but they saw something in me and gave me a chance.

By Lauren Hullum