September 2022 - THE SPORTS CONNECTION: Isabel Gonzalez - Sports Writer - SB Nation & CBS Sports
What is your backstory?
I was born in Mexico and moved to the United States when I was 11 years old. My parents are amazing people and raised me to believe I can accomplish anything I want. They’ve sacrificed so much for my brother and me to have a good life, so my biggest motivation has been to make them proud and to one day be able to give them everything they deserve.
How did you become a sports reporter?
What’s funny is I didn’t want to be a sports reporter. It just happened. I was in a film and digital media program at UNM doing something more like advertising. I liked producing/directing short video projects such as commercials.
Long story short, my degree required me to take journalism classes. I wrote for the school paper because being around sports was fun, and we got extra credit if our work got published. I started with men’s soccer and eventually received the men’s basketball beat.
I dabbled in the film industry a little bit and even had a mentor after I graduated college, but ultimately I chose to stay in sports. The athletes and coaches you interview are just regular people who worked hard to get to where they are, and I love being able to tell their stories. I love interacting with the fans. They have great stories, too.
Take us through a regular week of being a sports reporter.
It changes depending on the season. My background was beat reporting, which is significantly different from national media. I’m still figuring it out because I’m relatively new to CBS Sports.
When there are no games, I typically work five days a week and do nine hours shifts remotely. During those shifts, I write trending stories assigned by my editors or pitch something that I think looks interesting. These stories could be anything from a How to Watch article to a funny Twitter exchange. Games and special events mean we do live blogs.
I’m one of the basketball columnists, so I also get to write things like features and rankings. Features are my favorite. For those, I pitch an idea to my editors and then set up my schedule for interviews.
What is your advice to other women interested in pursuing a career in sports media?
One of my favorite quotes is, "Feel the fear and do it anyway." It is a rough industry, and you often step outside your comfort zone. You have to show up for yourself and take yourself seriously, even when others will not. There needs to be more women in the sports world, but do not focus on the fact that you are a woman. Do not aim to be the best female reporter. Aim to be the best reporter, period.
Mamba Mentality is a terrific book because it gives you great insight into Kobe Bryant's process. He asked a lot of questions and always tried to be better. It is the little things, such as showing up and being willing to learn.
If you could go back five years, what advice would you give your younger self?
I want to give her a high five for being brave and going after her dreams. I would tell her to trust the process. I remember worrying about whether or not I had made the right decision by choosing this career because it’s such a challenging industry to take in. I still have a lot of goals I want to accomplish, but through the years, I’ve learned how important it is to take a second and look back at how far you’ve come.
Author: AMarie Castillo, a.k.a Part Time Bro is a Sports Comedian who performs live shows and content creator combining her love of sports and stand up comedy.