This week I interviewed Global News Sports Anchor, Megan Robinson. Megan was kind enough to share her thoughts and stories from years of experience working in sports and the media.
Josh Wahler: You’ve been doing this for a while now, but early in your career who would you say you were the most star struck to interview?
Megan Robinson: You know, I don’t think I was ever really star struck. Early in my career I had the privilege of going into a lot of visiting locker rooms in Toronto, covering major league sports and some of the biggest names were Shaquille O’Neal, Derek Jeter, A-Rod. This was back when I was working at the Fan 590 and I think the most exciting thing is that they treat you like any other person. One of the qualities of sports reporters I admire is that they don’t get star struck, they can divide being a fan and doing their job, and I definitely learned from that early on.
JW: Of those players whether it’s a big name or not, is there anybody who stands out as always giving a great interview or having really interesting answers?
MR: I’ve had a chance to speak to so many athletes and people involved with sports, whether it’s professional, amateur, or recreational. Recently, I featured three women with Global News who have broken barriers for women in their individual sport and each one had such thoughtful, considerate answers and were incredibly humble about themselves despite the paths they were each paving for other women to come.
In terms of professional sports, Joe Girardi was really great to speak with and listen to. Back when the Yankees had the ‘Core Four’ in 2009, they were in town visiting the Blue Jays for a weekend series. I was covering the visiting room, so I would go into the manager meetings. Girardi is a really personable guy, he’s very good with the media, he’s very polite, gracious and humble and that was the year the Yankees went on to win the World Series in six games over the Phillies, obviously it hadn’t happened yet but they knew their team was doing something special that season. I recall his cell phone ringing in the middle of his post-game manager’s meeting, it was his wife Kim. He answered it, said he would call her back and that he loved her. I thought it was a really good moment to showcase what kind of person, man and husband he is.
Somebody in Toronto who’s always really great is Dwane Casey. He makes a point of remembering people’s names and that goes a long way. If you’re around he’ll introduce himself to you and tell you that it’s nice to see you and make a point of addressing you by name when he responds to you in scrums. He really makes that effort with the media, which I think, breaks down a wall and allows you to see what somebody is really like when you’re covering a team because often it’s so tough. I mean, athletes and managers and coaches live lives that are so different from the average person so having personable people in those roles makes a big difference.
JW: Over the course of your career what event or series that you’ve covered stands out to you the most?
MR: I would say there are two. Covering the Raptors for the last three seasons has been really cool. To see them excel, get better and better, and realize that they’re as good as they are has been really cool, especially because of the way that the city and the country have responded. When I first started covering the visiting room, there wasn’t a lot of media covering the Raptors. People weren’t really going to Raptor games and now they’re the game to be at. It’s really neat to see players like DeMar DeRozan going from being virtually unknown to being an All-Star in the NBA and getting recognition for how well he’s playing.
The other is the Blue Jays, of course. While I grew up watching the Blue Jays I’m not old enough to really remember the World Series wins in 1992 and 1993, so to be able to cover two consecutive seasons where the Blue Jays made it to the playoffs, is pretty special to be from Toronto. I’m lucky to have the job I have because I get to share this with people – viewers – at home who don’t get to be there and that’s really cool.
JW: Similar to that, if you could cover or be on hand for one sporting event or moment from before your time what would it be?
MR: That’s really tough. My Papa emigrated from Scotland when he was 19 and hockey is not really big in the UK, it wasn’t when he was growing up, it still isn’t in Scotland, but he became a big Leafs fan. Saturday nights, every single weekend of my childhood, was all about Hockey Night in Canada. We had family gathered around at my Nana and Papa’s house, we watched the Maple Leafs play whoever they were playing and my Papa had this routine and I always knew where he was going to be. He passed away when I was 12 but there was always something really special about watching hockey games on Saturday nights and making a big deal out of it because that’s what he did. I think to be able to go back and watch the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup in 1967 would be really cool, because it meant so much to my Papa and he played a big part in my career path in becoming a sports reporter and sports anchor and my love for hockey and baseball.
JW: What’s something interesting about your job that people might not know or might not expect to hear you say?
MR: I love sports (like LOVE), but because it’s my job, I don’t watch a lot of sports when I get home. Now, everyone in sports broadcasting is different, but I have four or five screens with different games in front of me for upwards of 10 hours every day at work, so when I get home, I like to decompress and watch or listen to something else. My partner is also in the business (he’s a hockey producer) and one of the first questions we get is whether or not all we talk about is sports at home. We don’t, but we do get a kick out of the question because we know it’s coming.
JW: There’s a ton of passion for sports in our country, what advice would you give to young Canadians who would like to pursue a career similar to yours?
MR: Okay, this is a two-part piece of advice. The first is try to be kind to everybody you meet, because you never know when you’ll cross paths again. Far too often in the broadcasting and journalism business, people get caught up in themselves and what they need. Whether it’s your camera operator, audio engineer, producer, make-up artist, or an intern, you never know when you’ll meet them again. The second part of that advice is that at the end of the day it’s just a job. I happen to have chosen a very fun and exciting career path and while it can be stressful at times and I’ve had moments of frustration throughout my career, it’s still just a job. I think when you realize that, you don’t take yourself so seriously and you can have fun doing it. I think it also relieves a little pressure, because ultimately you’re a storyteller and you get to share things with people at home and talk to about sports, something so many people love so much. When you put things into perspective like that it makes it a little easier to enjoy.