Megan Mawicke has spent more than 20 years in television — nearly 18 of those years have been in Chicago, where she currently works as a sports reporter and anchor for CBS 2 Chicago. Looking back on her career, the thing she says she loves most is “there is no such thing as a typical day in the sports TV world.”
Mawicke (MSJ97) loves the variety of her job, and she’s taken full advantage of the opportunities presented to her. She’s covered every professional sports league, as well as college sports, high school sports and even amateur athletics. In fact, she’s usually traveling to different cities or working on multiple stories on the same day.
Mawicke has covered world championship teams and seen the joy and agony that is inherent in the sports world. The thing she says stands out to her most, though, are the inspirational people she gets to meet. “They trust me to share and tell their stories,” Mawicke says.
Mawicke took time out to talk about some of those stories, misconceptions about sports broadcasters and her advice for up-and-coming journalists.
You’ve been able to cover several championship runs during your time here in Chicago. What still stands out to you about those stories and what they meant to the city of Chicago?
I have been fortunate that after some long droughts, Chicago has had some successful sports teams. I covered the 2005 White Sox World Series, the 2006 Bears Super Bowl in Miami, three Blackhawks Stanley Cups, the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals and the 2016 Cubs World Series.
One of the most incredible experiences of my career was the first Blackhawks Stanley Cup in 2010. The team allowed one media member from the local outlets to ride atop the trolleys for their ticker tape parade through Chicago, and I was one of the lucky ones. It was a pinch me moment.
The vantage point from the buses was absolutely surreal. All you could see was an endless stream of people covering streets every which way, people hanging on light poles, workers filling the windows in all of the high rises to watch the parade, all with black, red and white ticker tape falling on me. I didn’t play, I didn’t do anything, but yet I was so fortunate to have this incredible view of this incredible City and it’s people. The first Stanley Cup was unmatched compared to the other two. Hockey was back in Chicago!
I thought that would be the moment that would always stick out – until the Cubs historic World Series run. I was fortunate to be inside the clubhouse for all four champagne celebrations – yes four, count them up! I had the champagne hair to prove it!
Born and raised in the Chicago area and having covered this team for 17 years, I honestly thought I would never experience a Cubs team winning it all. Joe Maddon was the perfect person to guide this young group, and it was such a privilege to cover this team every day through game 7, finishing with their Championship celebration in Grant Park. The emotions were real – so happy for so many people – especially the older generations of Cubs fans (like my Dad) who had suffered through all of the losing and curses and finally, they witnessed a Cubs World Series title.
The Cubs brought people together like no other sports team I have seen in Chicago. Truly a memorable season.
What are two or three of the favorite stories you’ve covered during your career?
Besides the 2010 Blackhawks Stanley Cup and the 2016 Cubs World Series, I have to say the stories I enjoy the most are human interest stories and people trying to make a difference. One of my favorites was a woman named Sally Hazelgrove who started a boxing program in Englewood to get young boys off the streets. The program gave them purpose, a sense of family and helped get their aggression out. The program was so successful that the amount of boys boxing doubled and is still in existence to this day.
Another that sticks out was a blind marathoner. He had a hereditary eye disease, but he didn’t let it slow him down. As a marathoner, I was amazed how he was able to train and navigate his way through crowds. He was running to bring awareness to his rare disease as well. Truly an inspiration!
Recently, I was able to share the Chicago Sky’s Imani Boyette’s personal journey. She was sexually abused from 8 years old to 12 by a family member, and she also tried to commit suicide several times. It took a lot of courage to talk on camera about it. Imani is a survivor and wanted to tell her story in the hopes of helping others. I was the liaison and honored she felt comfortable with me to talk about her difficult past.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about sports reporters and broadcasters?
That we don’t write our own material!! Of course we do! I write every word I say and have said over the course of my career. I anchor weekends and it is just myself and a producer in the sports office working the weekend shift. I watch all the games and write my own highlights, write all of my live shots and all of my stories/packages. It drives me crazy when people say “well someone writes it all for you. You just read it.” Oh, I just want to scream!
How do you think your time at Medill helped you get to where you are today?
Medill was instrumental to where I am today. I went to graduate school and Medill provided me with all of necessary writing tools to be successful. I learned how to write for TV, use your pictures to tell your story, how to put a story together, how to edit the story and how to shoot video. Medill was my first for everything. Then I landed my first job in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I remember when I interviewed there, the current News Director at the time had had several former Medill graduates work at the station and he told me how much he valued the education. I remember him specifically telling me (way back then) that he considered Medill like a first stop/first job.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to current students who want to pursue a career in sports media?
You have to be passionate about sports and you have to love to write. People think since you are talking, it’s not about writing, but it is. You must also love people and connecting with people. This is a competitive industry, so you have to have that extra drive, determination and perseverance to make it.