Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

From great struggle, great success is born

Duane Rankin’s message resonated deeply with me. The Phoenix Suns Insider for The Arizona Republic recounted freezing up when, during his days as a member of the SJI Class of 1993, he was assigned a story to report at the APSE Summer Conference. He explained the frustration that came with his realization that he had not taken advantage of the opportunity presented to him, and how he vowed to never allow that happen again. There have been times during my short journalism career where I’ve felt the same way. I’ve been disappointed with the way my stories have turned out after reading similar work from a competitor, and I’ve been passed over for opportunities I felt I deserved. It’s easy to get discouraged and question your abilities at such times. But Rankin also explained how one of the brightest moments in his career came from covering Game 5 of the 2007 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, and knowing he was prepared for the moment. He remembered coming up short back in 1993, and this time he felt genuine pride when he submitted his story. It was a great reminder that not every day will be your best. You won’t break every story, and won’t always be right. But it’s important to keep your confidence up and let the low moments drive you to be a better journalist. Like sports, this industry is about competition and those who respond positively to adversity will ultimately set themselves apart.

— Daniel Oyefusi