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Kids Patch: Dana Jacobson Visits Chester

Dana Jacobson's cousin recounts the ESPN star's visit to the Black River Middle School in her own words.

By Sofia Franzon

Everything starts with an idea, a dream. An idea or dream can be inspired by other events, a person, or a concept learned at school.

On May 23, 2012, Joseph Pizzo’s seventh grade classes had an opportunity to edit their written media-style leads with Dana Jacobson, my cousin and ESPN news anchor.  She shared with the students both the impact writing has in her job and the famous athletes she has met throughout her career.

During the first class to whom she presented, Jacobson wrote a lead for a typical news story. She then re-edited this same lead in five different ways over the course of the day. 

Who knew three sentences could vary that much?  Jacobson explained that “the reason [she] wrote [the leads] was so [she] could see how many times [she] could edit them.”

By vividly demonstrating this process, Dana inspired a tremendous amount of students to not only be confident with their writing, but also to  recognize the importance of the writing process.

Dr. Kenneth Piascik, Black River Middle School’s band director who dropped in to listen to Jacobson’s presentation, thought that she inspired the students by teaching them what hard work can lead to. He was impressed with the ease she displayed in the classroom with the students.

Jacobson explained that her success has been the direct result of a strong work ethic. According to Jacobson, media stars are not simply born. Rather, they start small and then get more involved as they strive to be successful. 

After starting in local news in the Detroit-area market, Jacobson searched for a more significant position. She found that position as a sports reporter in the Sacramento market, covering the local teams including the NBA Kings, MLB’s Athletics and Giants, and more.  Jacobson’s passion for sports has led her to her current position of sports reporter and host with ESPN.    

Surprisingly, Jacobson did not always aspire to be on the news. She explained that throughout high school, she wanted to be an actress. However, when she went to college, she saw how much better other people were and she didn’t think that she would be able to pursue a full-time career in acting.  Instead, she aspired to have a career in broadcasting.  The rest is history.

After her final presentation, two students walked up to me and mentioned that my cousin’s job is a dream come true. They were not only impressed by her hard work, but also her ability to overcome barriers because she is a woman in a male-dominated field.

Jacobson recalled the “impact teachers can have” on their students, and hoped that her presentation “reached a few broadcasters or writers”.  She also stressed the variety of classes she had, some open and some hiding behind invisible doors.  Even though she speaks infront of millions daily, Jacobson “didn’t want to bore the students in the class”.  I applaud her for her courage, patience, and willingness to open up to students that she never knew.

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