CE: What made you want to be a sports reporter?
HJ: I have wanted to be a journalist since first grade because my late mother was one too. In high school, I always knew I wanted to go to Indiana and didn’t apply to that many schools. In my sophomore year of college, I was on a Miss Indiana appearance where I sang the National Anthem at the Indy Eleven soccer game at Lucas Oil. I was so mesmerized by the up-close action that I switched my journalism concentration to sports journalism when I returned to school my spring semester. I’ve been sports reporting ever since.
CE: Indiana is a state that goes crazy for basketball. What was it like this year with the men’s and women’s teams having great success?
HJ: It felt great to cover a team that everybody wants to hear about. Our Sports Illustrated/FanNation Hoosiers site was the top FanNation site in March because of all the hype. I cover the men too but especially enjoyed covering the Indiana women who made history right before our eyes as Big Ten regular season champions and the program’s first one-seed in the NCAA Tournament. I hate that both of the teams’ postseason journeys were cut short, but I’m still so proud of the amazing work the Hoosiers put in in a state that appreciates the art of basketball.
CE: You’re a pregame host for the Indianapolis Indians. What is the baseball scene like in Indy?
HJ: I actually don’t know yet! My first day was yesterday. I imagine Victory Field will be packed in the summer since it’s located in the heart of downtown. The staff is great, and the players are great with media too. I can’t wait to be a part of the Indians team and bring them great coverage. This is a dream job for me.
CE: Did winning Miss Indiana in 2017 help with your career as a broadcaster?
HJ: Yes! If it weren’t for over 100 Miss Indiana/public speaking engagements, I would not have had nearly enough confidence to do this hard job. I also made lots of connections as Miss Indiana and met people who prepared me to be a public speaker beyond my Miss Indiana reign. I highly recommend pageants to young women as an outlet to meet wonderful people and get access to tons of public speaking opportunities
CE: Any advice for some looking to get into sports journalism?
HJ: Try everything in college including news. The more experience you have in various clubs, internships and self study, the better sports reporter you will be someday. Try roles within your field you’re scared of too. I never thought I could be an analyst, and now I’m an analyst on ESPN+, and it’s my favorite sports role I’ve ever had. Challenge yourself, and do it afraid. It will be worth it.