ESPN's Dana Jacobson Tackles Middle School
Television personality offers Chester's Black River Middle School students her first take on the writing process.
ESPN's Dana Jacobson stepped out from behind the slick graphics and scrolling bottom line of SportsCenter on Wednesday and spent her day teaching Joseph Pizzo's classes at the Black River Middle School in Chester.
Jacobson's cousin, Sofia (whose own article on the May 23 visit will be loaded to Patch early next week) is a student at Black River Middle School and helped coordinate Jacobson's day in class with Pizzo.
More than just a visit with family, Jacobson spent the entire day in Pizzo's class, sharing her story of success as a sports journalist and helping students with their writing process.
"We tried to set this up last year when Sofia was in Mr. Pizzo's class," Jacobson said. "But there was a scheduling problem."
But like many folks who are put in contact with Joe Pizzo, it was only a matter of time before Jacobson was up in front of his classroom.
Students in Pizzo's class were were treated to a hands-on writing workshop and Jacobson explained how crucial writing is to not only her work but to many fields. To illustrate the point, Jacobson said that although she is an on-air personality, she got her job at ESPN because of her writing skills.
"I like being able to show how a lot of this stuff in school can be applied out there in the real world," Jacobson said.
Peppering her lecture with anecdotes, the self-described "teleprompter's nightmare" explained that writers need deadlines or they will continue the editing process.
"I am still editing the copy on the teleprompter, especially the lead," Jacobson said.
Students took the opportunity to ask questions of the popular ESPN personality, who was as adept at answering them off camera as she is at posing them on camera:
- Favorite athlete: Barry Sanders
- Favorite Commentary Team: Shaq and Charles Barkley
- Most Embarrassing Moment: Bobby Knight walking off an interview
- What would you do if you didn't work at ESPN: Be a party planner
"I love good questions," Jacobson said. "And these classes asked good ones."
Jacobson also shared with the six classes she saw throughout the day how she wound up with a career in broadcasting.
"I wanted to be an actress but I was so terrible at it," Jacobson said. "I went to my first audition and I didn't even go through with it."
Jacobson said that finding her niche took time, but it was worth the effort.
"When I got into broadcasting I always wanted to be on the Today Show," Jacobson said. "And I think that is what First Take was for me, the closest I could get to a morning show."
The University of Michigan graduate also said that one of the challenges a sports anchor faces is trying to be real.
"If you aren't, you are going to be like 'Anchorman,'" Jacobson said.
As she spoke with the middle school classes, Jacobson acknowledged that while some of them knew what they wanted to do with their futures, those who didn't had nothing to worry about.
"I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was seventh grade," Jacobson said.
By the high level of engagement Jacobson received from students throughout the course of her day, should teacher replace party planner as the alternative career option?
"Oh, I don't know if I could do that. I may do something with NYU that is upcoming," Jacobson said. "But I don't know if I would have the patience."
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