Sports journalism master’s student scores WNBA dream job

Robyn Brown stands interviewing a member of the Connecticut Sun basketball team with a microphone.

A game-winning score

Robyn Brown, MS '19, impressed her mentors at the Connecticut Sun to much that she turned a summer internship into a full-time job as a sideline reporter.

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obyn Brown, MS ’19, looked into the camera and told thousands of viewers watching NBC Sports how the Connecticut Sun leveraged its depth for a lopsided victory.

“The Connecticut Sun bench dominated the Dallas Wings on Tuesday night,” Brown began, her live analysis bringing insight and value to the WNBA broadcast.

A master’s candidate in sports journalism, Brown spent last summer as the sideline reporter for the Sun. She was joined by color commentator Rebecca Lobo and play-by-play announcer Bob Heussler as partners as much as mentors.

By the end of the summer, what began as an internship grew into valuable, on-air experience for Brown, a Los Angeles native who played college basketball at the University of Mount Union in Ohio.

“I can talk about basketball, but it’s totally different when you have a microphone in your hand and you’re live,” said Brown, 24. “Once the camera is on, you just have to go. I’m grateful to so many people who have helped me and encouraged me, but I’m still not done learning. Not even close.”

Brown said her classes at Quinnipiac — and her time as a sports reporter for Q30 Television, the student-run TV station — have helped her develop important broadcasting skills.

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“When you’re sitting in a classroom and learning from someone who has been there, it helps you connect to that experience and visualize yourself doing it,” Brown said. “I’ve never felt like a number or just another student. Every professor has taken pride in the fact that I’m excelling in their classroom. They want you to succeed.”

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Robyn brown interviews a man on the Quinnipiac basketball court as a man holds a camera, filming the interviews.

In practice

Brown attributes her success with the Connecticut Sun to the hands-on experience she had in class and student media at Quinnipiac.

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Brown also said Quinnipiac’s location between New York and Boston gives students access to some of the top sports journalism opportunities in America.

“The first time I picked up a microphone and did sideline reporting was with the Sun,” Brown said. “Before I came to Quinnipiac, I had never done anything with broadcasting. I had never connected a camera to a tripod.”

Brown counts Molly Yanity, an assistant professor of journalism and award-winning journalist, as an advocate and adviser. “Molly has been incredible — believing in me and empowering me and guiding me in a field that’s predominately male,” she said.

In fact, it was Yanity who put Brown in touch with Connecticut Sun Vice President Amber Cox about last summer’s internship. Yanity said Brown’s enthusiasm, ambition and commitment to sports journalism made her a strong candidate.

“Amber actually called me afterward and was like, ‘She’s just this fireball of a person.’ That was exactly how I had felt,” Yanity said. “So Robyn gets the internship and the next thing you know, she’s doing their sideline reporting. I remember getting a text from her with all these exclamation points.”

There is a poise and confidence in Brown’s work now. She has a profound understanding of the game that enables her to deliver sharp, informed reporting.

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“We knew almost immediately, even though she was green, she was ready to do this job,” Cox said. “Our players, our coaches, everybody was really comfortable with her. She’s not bashful about the preparation portion of it. She’s not afraid to ask questions. Her whole demeanor and work ethic made her a really valuable member of our broadcast team.”

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On the first day of her internship with the Sun, Brown arrived with expectations. None of them included grabbing a microphone and going on the air.

“It was my first day and they threw me right in there. But you know what? I needed it,” Brown said. “I had to try. Unless I took that first step and put myself out there, I would have missed out on this unbelievable opportunity.”

Since her internship, Brown’s “unbelievable opportunity” has grown to include sideline reporting for the New England Black Wolves, a professional box lacrosse team that plays in the Mohegan Sun Arena. 

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“As much as I’d like to keep Robyn forever, I know that she’s going to be a megastar,” Cox said. “With her talent and dedication, Robyn can go as far as she wants to in this business.”