The New England Scholastic Press Association




Embrace, Adapt to Change, BU Lecturer Tells Students


Aspiring journalists should embrace progress and keep an open mind, sports journalist and lecturer A. Sherrod Blakely told students in his keynote address to the New England Scholastic Press Association in May. 

“By looking at things from a very wide approach you are allowing yourself to grow,” Blakeley said. “One thing that you’re going to learn as you further advance in journalism is that the most important element of your ability to improve is the open-mindedness to growth.”

You have to embrace the idea that you’re going to have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

— A. Sherrod Blakely

Blakely, an NBA writer and columnist, creator and co-host of The A-List podcast, and lecturer at Boston University’s College of Communication, shared his advice to about 400 student journalists in the Morse Auditorium on Friday, May 3. 

His address was organized into five sections, corresponding to the five positions on a basketball team, saying journalists needed to be able to be the equivalent of everything from a point guard to a center. 

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“Whatever you’re interested in, do that and do the others too, because at some point you’re going to have to know how to do a little bit of everything because you never know when there is going to be a little bit of intersectionality of what you want to do versus what your job asks of you,” he said.

Blakely has been active in journalism, serving as the chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force and chair of the Associated Press Sports Editors Diversity Committee. He also mentors prominent figures in sports journalism, both on-air and with various global news organizations.

Students should learn to step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in all areas of journalism, he said.

“You have to embrace the idea that you’re going to have to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” he said. “You’re going to have to understand that there are certain aspects of journalism that you’re not going to know a whole lot about but you’re going to have to learn and you’re going to make mistakes.”

Blakely said that he believes that the essence of journalism lies in continuous improvement and embracing the ups and downs. 

“Journalism is all about getting better,” he said. “It’s about creating a space for yourself to grow and understanding that you are not going to grow at the same rate as everyone else, but you have to keep moving and take every success and every failure as a part of your journey and understanding that moments aren’t going to be what define you and it’s how you respond.”

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