Sarah Davis is a bright spot in the broadcasting world. She didn’t take the most traditional way into the business but she has certainly made her mark. Sarah can contribute her success to her great networking skills and some very hard work. Sarah’s journey into broadcasting started after completing a Kinesiology degree from the University of Western Ontario, followed by a certificate in print and broadcast journalism at UCLA Extension in Los Angeles.
When she got back to Canada she volunteered at Rogers TV Mississauga as a sports reporter and host of a show called “Everything But Hockey”. Sarah was busy as she also interned at CityNews where she was able to conduct interviews and write stories about sports, entertainment and breaking news. Sarah moved into sports journalism when she joined Rogers TV Toronto in December 2009 to cover the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and followed that up with hosting the Toronto Maples Leafs Intercounty Baseball Games through the summer. Sarah has quickly become a great ambassador for the Marlies on both TV and on twitter. Since hosting the Marlies she has graduated to Entertainment Host for “Gate 5 Live” on Leafs TV and NBA TV this past season. She was also the host for the Fox Soccer Report and UFC Central on Sportsnet. More recently, Sarah has been hired to report on the sidelines for NESN. I had a chance to catch up with Sarah and chat with her about her career and what it takes to succeed in the broadcasting world.
Taylor Shold: How has networking played a part early in your broadcasting career?
Sarah Davis: Networking has always been very important part of my broadcasting career. When I was interning at CityNews I met Tom Anselmi (Executive Vice President and COO at MLSE) at a TFC wrap party where I was grabbing clips from players for the 11pm news. Mr. Anselmi was so friendly and put me in touch with Chris Hebb (Senior Vice President, Broadcast and Content). From there I met with the directors at Leafs TV. Right around the same time I was doing sports reporting at Rogers TV Mississauga and while reporting at a Mississauga Majors game, John Shannon noticed my on-air work and told my station director at the time to have me audition for the Marlies Host. Everything that has come after has been because of those two encounters. I always say, you never know who you’re going to meet and where it’s going to be so you always have to be “on”.
Taylor: What has been the best advice you’ve received when it comes to broadcasting?
Sarah: The best advice is to always be yourself and tell a story! When you look into the camera picture yourself talking to a friend or family member and that way it comes across more natural. The other advice is to find the “nugget” in the story. The nugget is what will make the story interesting and it usually takes a little bit of digging. And my own advice, if you’re nervous, put a smile on and fake that you aren’t, you’ll end up fooling yourself.
Taylor: How did you get your hosting gig with the Toronto Marlies?
Sarah: As I mentioned before, the process for getting my hosting gig with the Marlies was a bit unique. I had been a sports reporter and host with Rogers TV Mississauga for a little more than a year and had been interning with CityNews on the 11pm show for about a year. John Shannon who was at the time consulting on OHL broadcasts happened to notice my reporting during one of the Major’s school day games. He put the word into my station manager that I should audition for the Marlies gig and I went for it! The audition was so nerve racking because I had to host an actual broadcast! Right around the same time I had met Tom Anselmi who put me in contact with Chris Hebb who then set up a meeting between me and LeafsTV. Once LeafsTV started broadcasting the games, I was the go-to girl to host them!
Taylor: What is this new ‘Get Fresh’ series you are working on now?
Sarah: I’m currently hosting “Get Fresh”, a CTV.ca exclusive web series covering food, fitness and fashion. The show is produced by Bell Media Digital’s internal Video Production Unit and part of the Dove’s Get Fresh Campaign. A new episode has been launching every Monday on http://getfresh.ctv.ca since May 30th, 2011 and will continue for 13 episodes. I’m having a blast covering lifestyle!
Taylor: What are some of your goals going forward in broadcasting?
Sarah: My goals are to keep getting better as a host and reporter and to tell really good stories. I love the dynamics of being in studio but also love being out in the field in an uncontrolled environment where really anything can happen! I would love to be on the desk but would also love to host a talk show!
Taylor: Who do you look up to the most in broadcasting?
Sarah: When it comes to females I really look up to icons like Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry. They are such strong women who can be the serious reporter but also have fun reporting on lifestyle subjects.
Taylor: If you could give some advice for someone looking to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, what would it be?
Sarah: My advice is to work hard and know what you’re talking about. You don’t have to come from the typical journalism background. I have a degree in Kinesiology and a certificate in Journalism and people always look at me funny when I tell them that but it’s worked for me. You have to put in your time to get where you want to be and that usually means lots of volunteering. In the end though, it’s all worth it!
To keep up to date with everything going on in the very busy world of Sarah Davis you can follow her on twitter: @SarNicoleDavis. Make sure you check out Sarah on NESN covering all things sports in New England. Until next time, stay connected and get networking, for the Shold Media Group, I’m Taylor Shold.