Lindsay Czarniak Shared Career Experience with SMAD Students

Media Arts and Design
Lindsay Czarniak talked to students in SMAD broadcasting journalism class. Mike Miriello | JMU

Taking a break from anchoring CNN’s Bleacher Report and getting ready for the premiere of her latest podcast series “Players,” Lindsay Czarniak came to Harrison Hall to speak with students about her experience in the sports broadcast industry on November 1, 2018.

Czarniak graduated from JMU in 2000 with her sights set on the entertainment industry. It was her job at a station in Jacksonville, Fla., covering sports and specifically racing, that got her into the sports industry.

“I was terrified. It was a different language,” she said.

She told the crowd that she was so comfortable in her position in Florida that when George Michael from NBC4 called offering her a position as a sports anchor in Washington, D.C., she initially turned it down.

“I didn’t know until it hit me in the gut what my gut really was,” she said.

When she knew she had made the wrong decision, she took the position immediately. Her job there later helped to open up the doors to ESPN.

In 2011, when an opportunity presented at ESPN’s SportsCenter in, Czarniak decided to take it regardless this time. 

“It’s kind of like, you have to take a gamble and you’re betting on yourself, and that’s another thing that I would like for you to take with you,” she told the Breeze.

She had been the host of ESPN’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter program for more than six years, covering the World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and other high-profile events. 

Now, she just launched her new podcast in which she talks to country music stars about their careers and love for sports, combining her love of country music and sports.

Czarniak offered encouragement to those who may want to pursue a similar career.

“There is so much opportunity out there for you,” she said.

As someone who has certainly chased her passions across the country and the globe, Czarniak’s most important piece of advice to those who attended was to do the same.

“If you have something that you just really like, that makes you feel happy and good and is your passion, follow that, because that doesn’t change,” she said.

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Published: Thursday, November 8, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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