Interview with Darren Rovell: You're not a kid, you're a journalist!

Updated: Oct 16

Typically on The Up Dawg, fans share their view on sports by posting articles.

The other day I had the opportunity to interview a man who has been writing articles for over 20 years. I spoke with one of the most well-known people in sports media: Darren Rovell.


Rovell, known for his enormous Twitter following (two million and counting), spent six years at ESPN as a sports reporter before moving to CNBC for six years where he had his own show Sports Biz with Darren Rovell. He then moved back to ESPN for another six years.


Recently Rovell took an interesting turn in his career by moving to the sports betting company known as The Action Network. Although Rovell himself isn't a big bettor, he has years of experience covering sports betting.


Our conversation began by talking about his job at ESPN, which Rovell landed straight out of Northwestern. His interview for the job was unique.


During his time at Northwestern, Rovell hosted a radio show where he interviewed many well known sports business celebrities and also wrote for the school newspaper covering sports business. In fact, Rovell managed to change the readership of the newspaper around by turning the sports section to a sports betting section. Rovell would publish his picks of the week and select who would win each game against the spread.


So, instead of handing over an ordinary resume and answering the usual interview questions, Rovell pitched himself as someone who could cover the business side of sports. At the time, ESPN was mostly about the games and the athletes, but quickly realized that sports business was part of the future.


Next, we talked about ways in which young people can build up their experience. I asked Rovell about opportunities he sees for high school students who are interested in a career of covering sports. His response was to figure out your passion and find a way to take it to the next level.


Then, our discussion turned to the importance of social media. Rovell realized that you have to be bigger than your job, which was part of his rise on Twitter. Rovell emphasized the power of social media to connect with people and the ability it has to make you stand out.


Rovell's social media success played a big part in his move to The Action Network. The company hired him as a brand and Rovell constantly posts on his Twitter page about the company.


Rovell is a big believer in constructing a brand. He demonstrated that building a brand helps you build a career and makes you more popular.


On Twitter, Rovell is sometimes considered controversial. When asking Rovell if being controversial is somewhat of a requirement, his answer surprised me. Rovell explained that he's only going to debate what he's passionate about. And he's not going to seek out controversy just to be controversial.


We finished the interview by discussing The Up Dawg. I asked the celebrated writer what the best way is to grow our audience. Rovell told me: Never think of yourself as a kid, but a journalist. Rovell emphasized that the industry is not just for adults. He also described how easy it is to reach people because of social media and to not be afraid to go after the big names.


Great advice from a guy who isn't afraid to take chances and knows how to make a name for himself.



Special thanks to BBCH Gaming and the Baskins for connecting me to Darren.


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