Megan O’Brien graduated from Medill just over one year ago. Today, she’s covering the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.
During her time at Northwestern and since graduation, she worked as a field reporter for Fox Sports, a digital media contributor for ThePostGame.com, a reporter for the Big East Digital Network and a production runner for Golf Channel. In each position, she’s constantly worked to get better at her job. That on-the-job training got her prepared for her current role as team reporter for the Patriots and Patriots.com.
She’s only had her job since August, but already she’s learned a lot. And she can’t wait to continue to grow throughout the NFL season.
O’Brien sat down to talk about her new role and how her time at Medill prepared her for life with the Patriots.
What excites you most about the new job?
The job is certainly a stepping stone. It is a two year position, but what I am most excited about is the chance to learn from a championship organization. I am only a month into the role, and I have already learned so much from my colleagues.
What are your favorite memories/experiences from your past jobs?
The PostGame was a blast because I got to work with Jeff Eisenband, who I went to Northwestern with. I was a freelancer for Jeff. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met and is always on the cutting edge of digital media. It was a privilege to work with Jeff and learn from him. Jeff and I had a blast covering the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago, where we interviewed Drew Brees and Matt Forte. Then, a few months later, when I moved to NYC, the two of us interviewed Clay Matthews.
I also worked for the BIG EAST Digital Network, where I got a ton of live reps that helped me get better each day. My favorite memory from working for BEDN was going to the Sweet 16 in Memphis and sitting court-side for Butler vs. UNC and Kentucky vs. UCLA.
I was also a freelancer for Fox Sports, where I worked with an incredible crew covering the Cape Cod Baseball League. My favorite memory was covering the Orleans Firebirds when Adam Haseley hit a walk-off home run. The interview was so much fun, and then the next year, Adam was drafted in the first round. It was incredible to see the team celebrate. It really showed how much Adam meant to his teammates.
How did your time at Medill help you get where you are today?
Medill provided me with a world class education and gave me all the tools I needed to get started with a career in sports journalism. The best thing that came out of Medill were the relationships with my professors, classmates and the alumni. I have been fortunate enough to connect with some incredible Medill alums that have been instrumental in my development as a reporter. They have helped to coach me, encourage me and most importantly, some have become dear friends.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to current students who want to pursue a career in sports media?
Keep working. In this industry, supply will always outweigh demand. It is important to think of ways you can be different. Be open-minded. Starting out, you’re never too big for any job. I was working part time on air at the BIG EAST Digital Network and then freelancing for the PostGame, working as a runner for Golf Channel, doing sideline reporting and color commentary for the Ivy League Digital Network and babysitting on any off day I had just to make enough money to cover rent. I wouldn’t change anything I did because I got invaluable reps, I met great people and I had a blast. It is difficult coming out of school and looking for that “full time” job. For me, that one full time gig did not exist, but I found that freelancing and working a variety of different things helped me in the long run.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Enjoy the ride! Some days are stressful and you may find yourself wondering if you are ever going to make it, but just keep your head up and remember why you decided to pursue this career path. In the end, it will all be worth it.