Danielle Maslany is quickly making a name for herself in the world of sports reporting.
In just a few years, she managed to work her way up from a Philadelphia-area blogger to a member of the Orlando Magic Web Team while making stops at ESPNU, Service Electric, Temple University’s OwlSports Update and the Philadelphia Flyers along the way.
“Danielle Maslany was impressive before she ever showed up at the Flyers offices for her interview,” wrote Flyers Insider, Anthony SanFilippo, when Maslany was named as the Flyers first-ever Jessica Redfield Intern.
Redfield, born Jessica Ghawi, was an up-and-coming hockey reporter who inspired the lives of everyone she touched. Her life was cut short when she was gunned down in a mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July of 2012. A little over a month before that, she narrowly escaped a shooting at a Toronto mall.
Needless to say, this internship was held in high esteem by the sports world and the person to be chosen for it would have to embody Redfield’s innumerable qualities.
“Although it was obvious just by looking at [Maslany’s] YouTube page that she had the on air skills to fill the internship, it was her interview that sealed the deal,” SanFilippo wrote. “She was brimming with personality and a rare confidence for someone so young. She proved to be an outside-the-box type thinker with an impressive creative streak.”
It quickly became apparent that Maslany lived up to SanFilippo’s description and Redfield’s qualities during our interview with her.
“This was very humbling for me, winning this internship,” she told Untied. “I know how many girls applied for it and to be chosen, I wanted to work really hard. I established a relationship with her mother and I worked hard trying to honor Jessi through my work. Every time I see the ice down at the Amway Center, I think of her and it makes me smile. Even though I never met her, I am thankful that I was able to have an amazing experience and honor her name through it.”
When asked about the lowlight of her career, she said that she did not have one. As opposed to the way some may answer the question, her response was not boastful and she did not pretend that she never faced any obstacles in her career. It was her optimistic outlook and unbreakable spirit that shone through in her answer.
“I feel like every experience I have encountered in life has made me who I am today,” said Maslany. “If there was a lowlight or negative event that I was involved in I made sure that I analyzed it and learned to not put myself in that situation or I planned a way to deal with it if I were ever faced with it again.”
As difficult as it may be, in a field dominated by men who may or may not have come to accept women as equals, this is an approach that helps women to gain a stronger foothold in sports journalism.
Currently, Maslany is a web reporter for the Orlando Magic, where she focuses on digital content for the team’s website. As part of her position, she attends all home and select road games as well as press conferences.
“I utilize time in the locker room before games to interview players to create original content for the team website,” she said. “I create unique features to engage viewers and try to increase web traffic to our website.”
Moreover, she goes out of her way to involve herself in helping out the Orlando community.
“In addition to game day/practice responsibilities I also attend community events,” she continued. “I feel that giving back and volunteering is very important and is a direct reflection of one as an individual, the Magic are very active in the community and I volunteer every opportunity that I am able to.”
Taking advantage of every opportunity is also a necessary step in advancing in a sports journalism career. Maslany, a member of AWSM (Association for Women in Sports Media), said that she jumped on every opportunity, no matter how big or small to gain more experience. She suggests never passing up on an opportunity just because you may think it is beneath you.
Additionally, she believes that internships are incredibly important in this field — and her Redfield internship is certainly proof of that.
“A piece of advice for male and females is never pass up an opportunity because you think it is below you, Maslany said. “Treat everyone with respect, be kind and network. I always take time to help anyone who asks me for something. I know how I felt when I was starting out, and even after I had experience under my belt. When you see someone motivated and trying to do well I think that is special, I will always help someone when I’m able.”
Maslany — and countless others — have faced additional challenges while trying to advance their career simply due to an unfortunate gender bias.
Why is there a girl in the locker room?
Honey, the beauty pageant is down the hall.
How did YOU get that job?
Girls can’t cover sports.
These are just some of the criticisms that Maslany has heard while simply trying to do her job.
“As a woman it is hard in this field, there is no sugar coating it,” she said. “People automatically assume you have less knowledge then men do or they assume you only got your job because you know someone or because of how you look.
“You will have athletes make passes at you or try to get your number, you may also have potential male employers do the same thing, unfortunately I’ve dealt with both, and then some.”
So, how does Maslany deal with it and what does she recommend to aspiring reporters? The advice is straightforward but right on target.
“Respect yourself, dress with class, do your job and get recognized for your work, not anything more.”
She is doing just that and, as a result, has quickly worked her way up the ranks and has a bright future ahead of her.