CSN’s Washington Capitals Emmy Award winning reporter, Jill Sorenson, met with the Fan Club on Saturday, November 21 to talk all things Caps before our game with the Colorado Avalanche. Jill talked about her journey from NBC sports anchor and reporter with George Michael at WRC-TV from 2000 to 2004 to WTTG-TV (Fox), before joining CSN in 2005. Today Jill leads CSN’s coverage for SportsNet Central and contributes to Capitals Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage. She can often be seen near the Zamboni reporting before the game and has a reputation for some of the best interviews with players and coaches. She said she got her start reporting out in Minnesota, “where hockey is everything.”
Jill talked a bit about the impact of social media on reporting. She said for the beat reporters who are there every day, “twitter is very important” especially for breaking news. The challenge for her is to balance her responsibilities with CSN for SportsNet, other shows, and other sports coverage and making sure that fans get the information they want and need. She “gets a lot of her news from social media” too.
She spoke about how she got where she is today covering sports. She was an English and Spanish major in college because the college lacked a specific journalism program. Jill interned with a studio in Minneapolis and was advised by a sports producer that it didn’t matter what she majored in, just that she could communicate. She said she chose English as a major to sharpen her skills as a writer and the internships provided her with the experience she needed to advance in broadcasting. She was an athlete growing up and though she thought she would “be writing for Sports Illustrated or something” she interned with a news station and fell in love with it. Today she still loves writing and whenever the opportunity arises, she will write her own short pieces.
When asked about the difficulty being a woman covering hockey, Jill said, “To be honest, I don’t even notice.” She said she interned under a woman in Minneapolis and the women who came before her paved the road. She mentioned that the beat reporters from Washington Post and NHL.com are both women.
Jill explained that she fell in love with hockey when her family moved to Minnesota She grew up in California and the only thing she knew then was that Wayne Gretzy played for the LA Kings. She got into hockey by following her college hockey team and was surrounded with hockey everywhere. Later when she worked in Duluth, everything was hockey in the winter. “There was amazing hockey in that area” and she found herself exposed to the community and comradery in hockey. When she arrived at NBC Channel 4, George Michael assigned her to the hockey beat. With the arrival of Ovechkin, CSN decided they needed someone full-time covering the Caps and she was ready. She said she learned quite a bit about professional behavior and how to conduct interviews from Michael. He had a strong influence on her work ethic and how she interacts with the athletes she covers.
She spoke highly of the Coach Trotz and his positive influence on the team. She said he has created a “team family atmosphere” on and off the ice. Each of the players seems invested in doing their part to win from scoring on the five-on-five to winning the faceoff. Off the ice they are “very team oriented and they keep everything in the room.” Trotz has completely turned around the team from one that had become disjointed to one with professionalism. They are a team with high expectations and accountability. She said: “The practices are incredible. They are fast and crisp and hard.” Trotz’ interaction with the media is great. She said no coach has been bad with the media but it is easier right now because they are winning. Its gets a little harder if the team isn’t winning.
The best question of the night came from the youngest fan in attendance: “Do you know Slapshot.” After a little giggle, Jill responded, “Yes, I know Slapshot. I Do. Slapshot is a nice bird.” Before she left, Jill stopped to draw the winning tickets for the Fan Club giveaways. It was the perfect start to a perfect night, leading into a 7-3 win over the Avs.
A special thanks to Nancy Rogers for setting this up and to Jill for graciously letting me post this today.
Maggie Marcum for Friends in Cold Places
Photos by Brittney Marcum