Marian Central graduate and Comcast SportsNet Chicago freelance reporter Jen Lada finds herself in the midst of hockey euphoria with the Blackhawks pushing for their second Stanley Cup in three years. Lada manages a busy media life while also being a full-time mom, which, despite proving to be a difficult balancing act, continues to bring Lada fulfillment.
I try not to think about eyeballs. I honestly think it is detrimental to success to start thinking about how many people are watching what you’re doing. It’s better to think that I’m either reporting to my own family or just to that camera. Certainly, you want to develop a connection with your audience, but if I start trying to develop a connection with every single person that’s out there, I’m going to fail because, let’s be honest, you can’t please everybody. If I alter my delivery or change something I happen to enjoy because I’ve gotten feedback saying, ‘Oh, I don’t like how she does that,’ then I think you’re destined to fail. You have to be true to yourself in this business.
Social media has changed the way that fans can interact with people on TV, their favorite athletes, their favorite movie stars. You can have instant feedback if somebody wants to do so because you put yourself out there in those realms. I also don’t think people should stand for being bullied. Whether your coping mechanism for that is to respond – not rudely – you certainly never want to lower yourself to a troll – but you can’t allow people to get their kicks from knocking you down and I think that has come on a little more with me because I’m a mom and the lesson I would teach my son. Certainly, don’t stoop to someone else’s level, but also stand up for yourself so they acknowledge that you will push back a little bit and it might deter them from doing it in the future.
I’ve been in locker rooms my entire career and most of the men – a vast majority – are incredibly respectful of all of the reporters who are in that area. There has been maybe 1 percent that have been rude, but I don’t think there ever has been egregious nudity, I don’t think anyone ever has insulted me in front of a large group of people or made me feel uncomfortable. I have gone toe-to-toe with athletes before, but that’s all part of the business. After a loss, you have to expect those competitors to be a little angry or frustrated with their performance. If you can’t handle the tone of their responses, then it’s not the place to be.
I know when I’m spending time with my son, it’s important to be spending time with him – and quality time. That means putting my phone down and not constantly being attached to Twitter or the wires and it means giving him the attention he deserves. It’s really important to me to raise an upstanding human being and I feel like anything more than I do on TV, that will be my legacy. I want to make sure I give more attention to that priority than I give to my job. That may be an unpopular thing to stay – it may be very Jerry Maguire-esque – but the truth of the matter is our kids should be the most important thing to us. A job allows us to provide for our children, so that will always be my way of approaching that. But when I do my job – and do a good job – I’m fulfilled, and when I’m fulfilled, I’m a better mom than when I’m not.
I’m Just Saying is a regular Sunday feature. If there’s someone you’d like to see featured in this space, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Twitter @NWH_JeffArnold.