I think I first met Jocelyn a few years ago in a scrum in the locker room after an LA Galaxy game. Maybe it was my first game away from the security of being a photographer. I remember one really critical thing. She said, “You have to yell it out sometimes. That’s the only way you know you’ll be heard.” Then she demonstrated. For someone who doesn’t do a lot of shouting, this seemed an impossible task. If you don’t know me by now, I alternate between being painfully shy and annoyingly sassy, but shy is my default setting. So the first few months I spent mostly listening. Everything and everyone was new to me. Josie might have realized it and her words stuck with me. I didn’t speak much in LA that first year, but little by little her example helped me on my path. It’s partly because of her influence and example that I was able to find my voice. She’s still looking out for me, reminding me to focus on the goals and move forward even when there are setbacks. Women who help each other up are true champions so I’m honored to share some of her thoughts here with you today. Thank you Josie!
How in the world did you end up in soccer? Did you always know it was the sport you’d like to work in?
Jocelyn: I’ve had a love of soccer for a long time going back to the ’94 World Cup, the launch of MLS, and the ’99 Women’s World Cup. When I got through with school there were a series of odd jobs, but I was able to land my first media gig covering the LA Galaxy for a sports blog network. It didn’t pay much of anything, but it got me in the press box and slowly built the confidence in myself that this was something I could do.
Could you describe your current job to us, along with the workload pressures? What type of personality do you think it takes to succeed in your line of work?
Jocelyn: I’m a freelance editor for mlssoccer.com, and that means wearing a lot of different hats. Two-thirds of what I do is game day related which changes minute-to-minute. Sometimes I’m combing Twitter and Instagram for social media relevant to what’s happening in the game to post in the matchcenter live feed. Sometimes I’m assigned as an editor to a game, where I have to have a match report ready to file at final whistle. Occasionally they have me on-site doing post-game interviews or interviews after practice. In all those cases you have to be organized because it’s like swimming in the ocean: if you’re prepared and see the wave coming you’re fine, if you aren’t ready it’ll hit you out of nowhere. You have to think on the spot, which only works if you’ve done the homework.
Can you describe one of your fondest memories as a reporter to us? A funny anecdote perhaps?
Jocelyn: In the era of the blogger, objectivity is often learned on the job. Soccer is at a unique point where since it’s sometimes overlooked by traditional media, so there’s a fair amount of access given to digital-only media. As a result I found myself covering an MLS Cup way before I was ready. It was the 2011 MLS Cup between LA and Houston, and that sequence from Beckham to Keane to Donovan was a test of the “no cheering in the press box” rule that I still don’t know how I passed. I went stiff as a board trying not to react, and the reporter from out of town next to me saw me and said “this must be a big moment for you.” I may have shed a single tear, but I swear it was an objective tear. It was just such beautiful soccering.
We hear a lot about what the challenges are in being a woman in sports media. Are there any positives that you’ve experienced though?
Jocelyn: As a print reporter, most of the interviews one does happen in some sort of scrum. It’s often the case that I’m the only woman in a dogpile full of men. This has meant learning it’s okay to be aggressive in the face of men pushing me out of the way, and that I have to project my voice and not let louder voices talk over me when trying to get questions in. Reporters are a small clique though, and it didn’t take long to come to a point of mutual respect. There are small things you notice, players who smile at you or coaches who sound dismissive of your question. Even if it squeaks, you can’t let your voice be ignored.
For young women who are thinking about a career in sports media: do you have any suggestions as they enter the field or start looking for internships/jobs?
Jocelyn: Not to get political, but we’ve all seen a very public example recently of what can happen when a woman shows ambition. Of course it’s hard. When I was still in college I went to a seminar with several reporters and one of them told us “you’ll never get a Ferrari, but you’ll get the Camry,” so I knew this wasn’t going to be a pot of gold going in. After the seminar I told the sports reporter from the Chronicle who covered the Olympics “you have my dream job.” And goodness help those who come between me and my dreams… I’ll send them a postcard from World Cup 2018.