ESPN Sports Anchor Cara Capuano Speaks to Missouri AWSM Members

Cara Capuano

Patience, Positivity, Persistence and Passion Are Keys to Success in the Sports Broadcast Business, She Says

By Rebecca Dell

Cara Capuano
ESPN Sports Anchor Cara Capuano. Photo: ESPN Mediazone Library.

Columbia, Mo. (Feb. 27, 2014) — Cara Capuano of ESPN met with University of Missouri members of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) during her recent trip to Columbia. Capuano, in town to call the Missouri vs. Tennessee women’s basketball game, works as a college football reporter as well as a women’s college basketball and softball announcer.

Capuano – formerly on her way to getting a doctorate in biological chemistry at UCLA before pursuing her dream of sports reporting – offered advice on collaborating across media, pacing yourself in a grueling industry and staying on good terms with coaches and sports information directors. (Read: Write thank-you notes.)

“Having someone such as Cara come and talk to us has definitely helped me look at the business in a more in-depth way,” said Ashley Colley, who serves as the communications secretary for AWSM at MU. “She encouraged us to slow down and enjoy the moment instead of rushing ahead to the next step.” Colley is a senior studying communication and sports management.

Missouri School of Journalism students who serve as AWSM officers are Jasmine Dell, president; Beth Maluta, vice president; and Beth Anne Carroll, treasurer. Assistant Professor Elizabeth Frogge is the adviser.

Capuano shared her four P’s for success in sports broadcasting:

  • Patience: Capuano encouraged the women to be tenacious, get to know as many people in the industry as possible, and work in small markets where experience trumps prestige. She said to visualize the ladder to success as a true ladder: Don’t languish on every rung, but don’t try to run up it, either.
  • Positivity: Sports broadcasting is a stressful job with demanding deadlines. If you act positive, Capuano said, people will remember you as someone they enjoyed working with.
  • Persistence: Early in her career, Capuano stuffed envelopes with resume tapes to send to potential employers. She made phones calls. Capuano wrote letters. She made connections that eventually turned into jobs. Capuano has continued to do this throughout her career.
  • Passion: Capuano credits her father for the first three P’s. She added passion because, she said, this is an industry that will always demand time when you least want to give it. You have to love the job in order to stick with it. “Without passion, it is going to be extremely tough because one of the biggest realities of this job is sacrifice,” Capuano said.
Cara Capuano at Mizzou
ESPN Sports Anchor Cara Capuano (back row, fourth from right) poses with members of the MU Association for Women in Sports Media while in Columbia to call the Missouri vs. Tennessee women’s basketball game.

Colley says it’s nice to see women like Capuano willing to give their time to help fledgling media members.

“She didn’t sugarcoat anything, which to me means she wants to see us succeed,” Colley said. “She shared with us some of her favorite memories but also some of the moments in her career where she had struggled. That was important because I think we tend to be so caught up in trying to perfect ourselves that we forget struggles are going to come up so when they do, we aren’t prepared for them.”

AWSM is one of the groups that works with the national Sports Journalism Institute to diversify sports departments across the country. The boot camp phase of the program is held in the newsroom of the Columbia Missourian, after which participants will disperse to internships throughout the country. Since the partnership began, Missouri has nominated one scholar each year to take part in the program. Magazine writing major Annie Dankelson recently was selected for the 2014 class. She will intern at MLB.com.

AWSM, founded in 1987, has more than 600 members and is designed to be a support network and advocacy group for women in all areas of sports media. MU’s chapter is dedicated to providing speakers, events and networking opportunities to sports media students.

Updated: August 15, 2019

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