My name is Kristen Lago and I am a senior broadcast and digital journalism student at USC. I currently work as our Monday sports anchor at Annenberg Media and as a recruiting and operations assistant for USC Football. My first encounter with the sports industry was as a five-year-old when my parents brought me to my first USC game. From that point forward, I fell in love with sports and all they have to offer. The industry gives me an outlet to tell stories, watch some incredible games, and meet amazing people and I truly can’t imagine working in any other industry.
I never really saw being a woman as a hindrance in my role because growing up my mom was the one who really fostered my love and knowledge of sports, but as I have gone on through USC I have encountered people who have not taken me seriously or have perceived me as entering the industry for the wrong reasons. As someone who wants to graduate and become a sports reporter and anchor, it was difficult knowing that I would be entering such a male dominated industry where female sports anchors are still few and far between. While I do think female visibility and representation in the industry is growing, there is still a negative stigma about our knowledge of sporting events and our ability to tell sports stories as well as our male counterparts. I would tell any woman looking to enter the industry to never accept no as an answer and to follow their passions regardless of what anyone else might say.
Being a woman in the industry may be difficult, but if you find the right mentors, work harder than anyone else in the room, and truly foster your passion, you can do anything! In my workplace at both Annenberg Media and USC Football, the relationships I have built have been my favorite part of the job by far. I do not have a mentor in the industry, but along the way I have been able to meet so many inspiring women including Kristine Leahy, Hannah Storm, and Willow Bay who have been fundamental in pushing me to keep my dream of working as a sports anchor alive, so I highly recommend finding people like that to turn to for advice or to look towards as inspiration. Lastly, I would recommend getting involved with the Association of Women in Sports Media. Having a group of people who all have the same goals and aspirations/who have the same passions is really encouraging, plus they post a ton of great networking events and job listings which is always a good thing.