Not only is today St. Patrick’s Day, it’s also someone’s first day at ESPN!
We’ve reported the announcement (as well as the rumors) that Britt McHenry, formerly a sports reporter with WJLA, had taken a new gig with ESPN based here in Washington. And now, it’s finally happening. Today is her first day! FBDC caught up with Britt recently to find out what we can expect in her new role as well as what she’ll miss at WJLA.
FishbowlDC - So. Finally the news is public. How hard was it to keep the secret? Assume lots of people (us included) were trying to scoop your move.
Britt McHenry - Obviously, an opportunity like this is very exciting, and I wanted to get the word out and start work as soon as possible. But, there’s a protocol in handling business matters, and I’m happy we were able to do it the right way through the ESPN release (sorry Fishbowl, still love you guys)!
FBDC - At what point did you know you wanted to be a sports reporter and tell us a bit about that process?
BM - I was an English major and thought my track would lead to law school at one point. I had the grades and had taken the LSAT. But, I accepted an internship with ABC Network News before graduating and got hooked. I immediately enrolled at Northwestern for my masters and gravitated toward sports at that point. As a former collegiate athlete, I not only enjoyed sports, but I came from that background as well. When I got offered my first job though, it was here in Washington as a community reporter at NewsChannel 8. In fact it was a business reporter role, which was an odd fit to say the least. I had to pay my dues, cover unglamorous stories and learn how to tell a story the right way. After a lot of petitioning (and no doubt annoying my news director), I was given the chance to anchor sports on ABC 7. I was only 23 at the time–and it turned out to be the day Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins. It was sink or swim. Fortunately, I managed to swim. From there it’s history.
FBDC - ESPN. That’s a dream come true for many in your position. Where would you like to see yourself in say 10 years?
BM - If I’ve learned anything in this business it’s to never set boundaries for yourself. I want to be like a sponge and soak up as much knowledge as possible at ESPN. In 10 years, I’d like to be well-versed in different sports and versatile in my abilities. My first goal is to be a solid reporter, and if more responsibilities come along the way–that’s awesome. I’m sure in 10 years, I may have a family at some point too–but I’ve got some time to figure that out, ha!
FBDC - What do you love most about DC sports?
BM - I love the drama of DC sports. There’s every major sport in this city, which is unique, and there’s a lot of passion. Not many markets have an iconic figure on every one of their teams, but DC does. My role will also send me to other parts of the country. As we speak, I’m working on some West Coast interviews as well. I think there’s a lot DC fans will be interested in from this new job.
FBDC - What would you like to say to your WJLA fans?
BM - I’d like to say to my DC fans, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. This market has been so welcoming to me from day one. To the old-school critics, thank you. Even the stereotypes and the occasional harsh remarks, only fuel me to work that much harder–as is the case for most people in the media. I’m so happy to start this new chapter, and I hope that my WJLA viewers will continue to support me on ESPN.
And with that, we’d like to wish Britt a Fishbowl congrats on joining ESPN. Feel free to invite us to the sidelines!