Keith’s Keys: In sports journalism, luck is what you make of it

Life is all about luck.

If you want to convince me otherwise, I would invite you over, sit you down, show you the 2006 American League Championship Series and have you explain to me how the Detroit Tigers’ run to the World Series wasn’t luck.

Much like the players on the diamond — including Magglio Ordóñez — journalists sometimes get lucky.

And just like luck works in favor of the Tigers, sometimes journalists get unlucky, too.

This conversation might sound eerily similar to something you might hear along 28th Street from a group of students who claim, “They didn’t just get in because their parents went here.” But I implore you to stick around and listen to the other side of journalism politics.

This past weekend, I was on Instagram (as usual) and I came across the profile of a woman who is the daughter of one of the Los Angeles Rams’ assistant coaches. For background, she works at NFL Network and Fox Sports as a production assistant, and also happens to interview Rams players from time to time.

She was posting about how there are people out there who make her feel bad for getting access to the Rams simply because her father is one of the coaches.

She claimed that while everyone else was vacationing during summers and spring break, she was working hard and covering Rams training camp, sacrificing her vacation time.

This presents an interesting discussion about nepotism inside the world of sports media and whether or not journalists deserve the jobs we have.

This brings to mind broadcasters Kenny Albert, Joe Buck and countless others whose parents were former on-air reporters and media members.

Just like Albert, the coach’s daughter was lucky. For whatever reason, she was in a position that most aspiring sports journalists would love to be in.

While nobody deserves to be lambasted  for circumstances out of their control, complaining about getting heat for it on social media is extremely disrespectful to those who have had to struggle more for success.

She undoubtedly works hard, but a lot of other journalists work just as hard, if not harder, and will never even see the inside of the Coliseum because they aren’t the daughter of an NFL coach.

Now, I can confidently say that I did not deserve some of the jobs I’ve received, and there are others who agree.

Even though I am columnist here at the Daily Trojan, there’s is no doubt that there are more talented and qualified writers out there.

Regardless, I’m thankful and lucky that I have this position.

We should all act humbly. None of us deserve anything more than what we’ve worked for and past that, we should be thankful for the opportunities that luck brings our way.

Getting a leg up from your friends or family might be a little controversial but in this industry, it is all about who you know and I don’t blame her for taking advantage of her dad being a coach — she would be a fool not to.

The first major gig I landed in the summer before my freshman year of college was because of someone I knew. I worked for free every weekend that summer at the Del Mar race track as a production assistant. But I only has that opportunity because a guy named Eddie B., who I met calling my high school’s baseball team, knew someone at the network that broadcasts all the horse races.

If I hadn’t met Eddie, would I have the job at TVG Network based on my skills alone? Most certainly not, and that’s unfair.

It’s unfair to people who have to work minimum wage jobs to support their families and can’t take unpaid internships in the summers and during the school year.

And while I shouldn’t necessarily feel guilty about getting that gig, I should still be thankful and appreciative of the opportunities I’ve been given and the connections I’ve made because not everybody is as lucky.

We journalists have to stick together. It’s a rough situation with this current job climate.

Although some may want to protect their own interests — and for good reason — we must ensure that the most prominent reporters are recognized for their talents.

Nepotism should not be the way talented individuals achieve success.

In the wise words of Amy Hempel, “There’s no such thing as luck. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”

Keith Demolder is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. His column, “Keith’s Keys,” runs every other Tuesday.