Who inspires us is why we take the first step. What inspires us is what continues to drive us to success. For Western senior Amaree Martin that person was her high school biology professor, Mr. Hymel, who helped Martin discover her passion for sports reporting.
It was during homecoming week her senior year at Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma that Amaree Martin had her “ah-ha” moment and discovered her life plan. Martin was asked to fill in as an announcer during a show that was themed around ESPN. After stepping off the stage full of excitement, Mr. Hibalm told her he could see her on ESPN, and that’s when Martin set the wheel in motion.
Realizing that she wasn’t an all-star basketball player Martin decided to emphasize the passion she did have for the sport by reporting about it instead. Martin’s goal is working as a sideline reporter and becoming a, NBA Analysist working directly with Sports Center and ESPN.
After high school graduation she decided to step out of her comfort zone and take a chance by becoming a Griffon despite the lack of a sports broadcasting program at Western. Freshman year Martin was advised to focus on speech communications because of her interest for television. According to Martin, focusing on Speech Communications has been beneficial, but not without its challenges.
“As I progressed I realized I should have been a convergent media major. I have had to work so hard because I am not in that major or taking those classes,” says Martin. “Outside of my speech communication classes I’m trying to focus on making myself better video-wise without those classes. I’m doing extra to know more.”
Wrong major or not, Martin prides herself on her focus and not changing her major since starting at Western. She has grown significantly becoming better at talking, interviewing players and knowing sports on a different level. Martin claims that due to the competitive nature of sports broadcasting, knowing details in all sports is crucial to the success of a sports reporter.
Studying weeks in advance about how players performed and how many points they scored is part of the research process that Martin takes before an interview. Asking where athletes are from and how they got started are other ways that Martin tries to connect on a personal level during interviews and establish lasting relationships.
“It’s always fun to know someone’s story, that’s why I love interviewing people,” said Martin. “My go to question I always ask is who inspired you? It’s really important; it all starts off with who inspired you.”
To build up more experience in sports broadcasting Martin interns with KU2 and works on Griffon Update which includes her own show “1-on-1 with Amaree Martin.” 1-on-1 was created by Martin in the fall of 2016 which demonstrates her initiative to succeed in her career. 1-on-1 is a sit down interview show where Martin speaks with athletes that are doing well in their sport.
With a few job prospects in the works, Martin says that she is willing to go anywhere but has high hopes to work for one of the top 30 stations. Ultimately she would love to go to Los Angeles or another big city that would offer an opportunity to work for Fox Sports or ESPN.
Sports broadcasting is a challenging field, and more so for women because it is male dominated industry. Martin has had plenty of experience researching this and has nothing but words of encouragement for others looking to break out into this field.
“Never give up…It’s always going to be a little challenging for us [women]... You need to know your stuff because that’s what it’s going to come down to,” said Martin. “Never get discouraged, work hard because it is possible. Take criticism well because it does help and it’s good to listen because it does help along the way.”
Martin has spent the last four years enhancing her communication skills through story telling, learning about sports broadcasting and networking with others in her industry. Although Western didn’t have the program of her choice, it didn’t stop her from leading the way and following her dreams.
Martin hopes that the program for broadcasting continues to grow. She has been told that there will be a sports show next semester and is thrilled to know that she was able to open the door and pave the way to expand the sports on Griffon Update.
Tearing up when she spoke more intimately regarding her passion and dream path, Martin is thrilled with her journey thus far. She knows that it’s her dedication, hard work and connections she’s made that will help her succeed as a sports reporter.
“I’ve worked so hard and want it so bad. It’s more than being on T.V. When you put so much time in to something you want to be so good at, that’s when feelings start getting involved,” said Martin. “When I really get into something I go all in or I don’t go in at all. And this is something that I have to do.”