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Guest Q&A: American Sports Journalist Bonnie Bernstein

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Bonnie CI final 72dpiPhoto Credit: Jeff Parks

For this month’s Guest Column, we sat down with Bonnie Bernstein, American sports journalist and executive with a 20 year career. Currently Vice President, Content & Brand Development and On-Air Host for Campus Insiders, Bonnie was named one of the most accomplished female sportscasters in history by the American Sportscasters Association. Additionally, she freelances for The Dan Patrick ShowESPNespnW and DirecTV and serves as a guest commentator on several news networks, including MSNBCNBC and FOX News Channel. Bonnie shares her thoughts and expertise on the world of sports, broadcasting and public health.

BONNIE BERNSTEIN
@BonnieBernstein
www.bonniebernstein.com

How did you get your start as a sports broadcaster?
I decided when I was 12 or 13 that I wanted to be a sports writer, majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Maryland, then landed my first gig out of school at a start-up country radio station in Lewes, DE, called KIX 106. I was the News and Sports Director–a much more glamorous title than the job actually entailed! I’d wake up at 4:30 every morning for hourly studio updates from 6-9am, then head out in our white, clunky van adorned with a massive cowboy boot on the side and drive up and down the state of Delaware, covering everything from city council meetings to state politics to local high school basketball games. It was a blast and a tremendous learning experience… and I actually grew to love country music (Which, for a kid from NJ, was something you’d probably not expect!)

What’s your favorite part about broadcasting?
I love the adrenaline rush of “live.” It’s the closest thing I’ve ever felt to the actual rush of athletic competition (I did gymnastics for 14 years, all the way through college). You’re spewing information into a microphone and you have precisely one shot to get it right. I also love storytelling. There’s nothing better than gleaning a piece of information from someone or eliciting an anecdote from an interview subject he or she is sharing for the first time. Knowing even the most informed fan will walk away thinking, “Huh. Didn’t realize that” is a great feeling!

What is your favorite sporting event to attend each year, working and then as a fan?
Don’t really have a favorite in either category. I’d just say championship games, in general. Super Bowl, College Football Playoff Championship, Final Four. It’s the culmination of a season’s worth of hard work for both teams, but only one will be crowned when the clock expires. The biggest thrill, quite frankly, is being on the field/court for postgame. Confetti’s flying everywhere. Emotions are soaring (or sinking, in the case of the losing team). And I get to be at the center of it all as we round up interviews with players and coaches!

Do you have a favorite team and if so what is it?
New York Giants. Been a rough couple of years for Big Blue, but I’m hopeful for next season, especially with the prospect of having Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, Jr, healthy and on the field together! If Eli can’t get it done with those two, I just don’t know…

IMG_7738Photo Credit: Bonnie Bernstein

You have forayed your experience as a broadcaster to the boardroom. Can you tell us a little bit about what you are doing now?
I am the Vice President of Content and Brand Development for a new college sports network called Campus Insiders. It was an extraordinary entrepreneurial opportunity I couldn’t pass up! Essentially, I’m wearing two hats: I do a lot of on-air work during the college football season and March Madness for college hoops, but I also have the chance to touch other verticals of our business. I do everything from attending sales pitches and helping develop branded content concepts to working on PR/social media strategy to devising brand extensions for the network. It’s kinda like going to business school, but getting paid and the learning curve is truly invigorating!

In our research, we learned that you suffer from Deep Vein Thrombosis, as does one of our colleagues. Can you tell us a bit more about DVT, your story and what we can do to help?
I was diagnosed with DVT in 2006. A massive blood clot that ran the length of my entire left leg broke off and infiltrated both of my lungs (known as Pulmonary Embolism). I was just 36 years old, so for the many folks out there who feel blood clots only inflict the elderly, I can tell you first hand, that’s not the case. More than two million Americans suffer a DVT each year and and complications take the lives of more people than breast cancer and AIDS combined. The good news is, the condition is largely preventable, if you’re aware of the symptoms and risk factors. Common risk-factors include age (over 40), family history, obesity, smoking, (for women) use of estrogen-based birth control (the Pill, Nuvaring, etc) or hormone replacement therapy and frequent travel where you’re immobile for extended periods, such as long-haul flights. Additionally, if you’re being treated for cancer or heart disease or are having major surgery, you’re at increased risk for blood clots. If you’re experiencing leg pain, redness and/or swelling, shortness of breath or acute chest pain, it’s always best to check with your doctor to see if you may have suffered a clot. The rule of thumb is, if you have three or more risk factors, you are high-risk, but again, the point to hit home is that by and large, DVT is preventable.

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