Christine Brennan is a highly respected sports journalist who has worked with USA Today. She also works with ABC News, CNN, PBS NewsHour, and NPR. Christine is from Toledo, Ohio and graduated from Northwestern University School of Journalism. She is a sports columnist as well as a bestselling author. Christine is a woman of many firsts. She was the first female sports reporter for the Miami Herald, the first woman on The Washington Post Redskins beat in 1985, and the first president of The Association for Women in Sports Media. Christine reacts to anecdotes from Charlie’s book “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.”
Think Before You Speak
Today, in the digital age, Christine has observed that many people, young and old alike, are always on their phone—texting and not speaking. She notes that this could be a positive thing, as they are thinking about what they are saying as they type, rather than just babbling away. “Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion,” Christine’s late father would always say. As a journalist Christine does much more listening than anything else, as she’s always making sure to get as much information as possible for her work. She wants peoples opinions, so she always makes sure to listen carefully. She advises, listen first and talk second.
Equality is About as Easy as a Hole-in-One
Since she was young, her parents were very pro-girl and pro-women. While this was how her parents raised her, they could not change how the world worked. She remembers a time when her mother needed her father just to get a credit card. As a woman in sports—a woman in general—Christine holds immense respect for title 9, and can’t help but stress its deep importance. Christine tries her best to be an advocate for feminism, especially in the sports industry—where a lot of inequality can be found. As the first female sports reporter for the Miami Herald, the first woman on The Washington Post Redskins beat in 1985, and the first president of The Association for Women in Sports Media, she is a true role model for all women.
Speak and Write in Respectable Truths
What you say and write should always be based on the fact that your name and your reputation are on the line. Don’t just do things for shock value—which seems to be happening more and more in our culture today, Christine thinks—as they will be inauthentic. Christine proudly states that in her 37 years in the business, she has never spoken or written for shock value. She says that well thought out and respectable opinions are the most important in our world, especially today in the journalism industry where it can be hard to decipher what is news and what is gossip.
Home and Away, Where Else?
Humor is such an important thing, especially for coaches. Everyone is very serious these days, but they need humor, Christine insists. She calls forth NFL names such as Joe Gibbs and Don Shula were always at their best when they used humor. Joe Gibbs, who Christine calls the greatest NFL Pro Coach ever, was very serious, but he used humor sometimes. She recalls a fond memory from the 80s when Gibbs claimed that he was being misquoted after an interview. The problem was, the interview had been recorded, so all of the journalists could prove him wrong. In response he said he doesn’t care what it said, he didn’t say it! Humor is always there to make a tense situation a bit lighter.
Thoughtful People are Caring People
The thoughtful people are the ones that dwell on things, Christine says. Her late father always said that that fact will never change. He said that it was like that 50 years ago, and it’ll be like that 50 years from now. Caring for others and the work you do are timeless and will never go away, and always be rewarding.
Common Sense, Intelligence, and Listening
Christine has memories of stories that her parents told her about their lives in Depression-era South Side Chicago. Such stories of her father, financial struggles, and WWII. Between her father and mother, who had a little bit of business school, there was about one year of college experience. While this was the case, this did not stop them. Christine advises, be smart and work with what you have, learn what you can, have common sense, and of course remember that some paths are not right for some people. Christine believes that it is because they were in the United States that her parents were able to live beyond their wildest dreams. In order to be truly happy in life, everyone must try their best, enjoy when they succeed, try not to dwell on the failures, and always keep moving forward.
If you’d like to listen to more episodes of “15 Minutes With Charlie,” please visit the podcast page or search for “15 Minutes With Charlie” in your podcasting app. If you are enjoying the show you should check out “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” Learn more on our book page, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps your local bookstore.