Meale (MSJ ’08) makes his own way in sports journalism
By Sally Ann Cruikshank
Tony Meale said it was a particularly terrible internship interview when he was a master’s student at Scripps that eventually led to him publishing his first book.
"He told me I’d never have a job as a sports journalist, that I should quit school," Meale said. "Obviously, I didn’t take his advice."
Meale, who recently self-published the book The Chosen Ones: The Team that Beat LeBron, came back to Athens to speak to “The Future of Journalism” class. He talked about how he broke into sports writing, which wasn’t always easy.
"You have to make your own breaks, through hard work and desire," Meale said.
Scripps freshman Branden Labarowski said he appreciated that Meale’s advice went beyond just sports journalism.
Students line up to buy books.
"His point — that it takes daring, tenacity and some degree of longsuffering to go into journalism as a career nowadays — was extremely stirring to hear," he said.
"He also reminded us that journalism is an extremely rewarding career once you make it in, which all in all left me feeling motivated and ready to succeed as someone just now breaking into the world of journalism as a career."
Meale eventually reconnected with the man who told him he’d never succeed as a sport journalist, and it was a post on his Facebook page that inspired his book. Meale eventually quit his job at a weekly paper and spent a year writing and then promoting it.
Meale said people always tell him they’d love to be a sports journalist and when he asks why, they always say, "Because I love sports."
He said that’s not enough to make a career out of it, though. “You have to love the writing first,” Meale said.
Shantel Wolfe, a freshman in Scripps, spoke to Meale after class and said she found his story inspiring.
"He quit his job to take control of his life and pursue his passion," Wolfe said. "In this case his passion is sports journalism. He was an excellent public speaker and doled out some great, applicable advice to future journalists of the world."
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