Hard Knocks

BY MEREDITH MASON
Featured in Report From Newport: Winter 2014

Emmy Award-winning sports reporter Jennifer Royle ’96 talks to students

As glamorous as a career in sports broadcasting might seem to be, Jennifer Royle ’96 told students a different story Dec. 3, 2013, when she spoke to several communications and marketing classes about careers in the field.

For the first time in almost 20 years, Royle returned to campus not as a student, but as a teacher of real-world life lessons that can’t be learned inside a classroom.
Beginning with stories about her four years at Salve Regina, Royle moved step by step through her career in sports broadcasting. She talked openly about not knowing what she wanted to do after graduating, a concern that many college students face today.

“Knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you do want to do,” Royle says. “There is only one way to find that out and that is to try new things.”

Although Royle’s passion for sports developed at a young age, it wasn’t until she was 28 that she decided to enter the field of sports journalism. “I remember at one point saying I just want to have a job where I can walk to Fenway Park with a computer,” Royle says. “I didn’t even know what that meant, and then I actually realized, wow, they do have these jobs.”

From covering Major League Baseball for the YES Network in New York City to working as a field reporter for WJZ-FM in Baltimore, Royle has made her way back to New England and now works as a reporter for the Boston Herald.

While Royle highlighted 10 lessons for students, she said “don’t be afraid to try new things,” was her most important message. Although Royle admits she wasn’t the best student, she says Salve Regina taught her that she, and no one else, is responsible for her future.

“Jennifer’s underlying message, in my mind, was her tremendous work ethic and how she worked to get the positions she did,” English professor Dr. Donna Harrington-Lueker says. In a world dominated by social media, Harrington-Lueker explained how face-to-face interaction is often lost in job networking. “Jennifer was a good reminder of how important being human is to the process of getting a job.”

In addition to providing networking tips and job strategies to students, Royle talked candidly about the abuse she faced from social media when she worked as a talk-show host. Warning students about some of the repercussions new media creates, Royle noted that no one has the power to control what other people will say.

“We think about bullying and that kind of thing affecting high school or elementary school students,” Harrington Lueker adds. “But to see it happen at a professional level, Jennifer really brought that home to me.”

After speaking with students, Royle reflected, “I probably learned more about myself than the students learned about me.”

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