Alumni Q & A: Alison Mastrangelo On Covering the Super Bowl

UPDATE: March 3, 2017 – Alison has a new job as a weekend sports anchor at Denver ABC affiliate KMGH-TV.

Alison Mastrangleo works as a Sports Director/Anchor/Reporter at FOX21 News in Colorado Springs, CO. She graduated from Rowan University in 2013 with a double major in Journalism and Health and Physical Education. In February, she will cover Super Bowl 51.

What is it like covering the Super Bowl? Is it as crazy as it seems?
It is insane. You work every single hour, but it is the coolest thing ever. It’s so hard to explain because when you tell people, they think it’s just like a vacation. It’s not a vacation. This week, we’ve been working on four shows for my FOX station. We shoot for the early show, and then we’re live every night at 9 pm and 10 pm. One day we worked in the car for eight hours because we didn’t have anywhere to edit. We were editing, tracking and doing everything in the car.

Do you have personal highlights from covering the Super Bowl?
Media Night so far has been my favorite thing. It’s for the players, but also for media around to world to come together and make a spectacle of ourselves. I grew up watching the show “Kenan and Kel.” At Media Night, I saw Kel. I went up to talk to him, and then we got to do the whole Good Burger motto from his show, and I was reliving my childhood.

Last year you covered your home team Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Is it different this year?
With the Broncos, all the players didn’t know me personally, but they knew my face, so when I’d go up to them, they’d say, “I know you, I’ll talk to you.” This year I have to squeeze in just to ask a question, so it’s a little bit harder. And you don’t know all the little anecdotes like when you’re covering the team all season long, so that’s been a challenge.

How do you distinguish yourself from other reporters and media outlets?
We look for local angles. There are actually two Colorado connections. The Patriots’ Nate Solder grew up in Colorado, and the Falcon’s Ben Garland grew up in Grand Junction and went to the Air Force Academy. Or I try to turn it to more of a human-interest thing. So one day instead of doing the X’s and O’s on the offense and defense, I’ll go up to different players and ask them about their superstitions and some fun facts. You have these big guys who will say, “Oh, I’m a writer” or “I’m a spear fisher.”

c3ymiwlucaave9jWhen you are not covering the Super Bowl, what’s your regular work routine?
I produce, write and anchor three shows. There’s a sports show at 5 pm, 9 pm and 10 pm, and they’re about two to three minutes long. And during the week, I’ll try to get to some of the local high school games or set up local features. Before we came out here we shot a story on a skateboarding church. During the Broncos season, we’re up there for all their home games and week one practice.

What is one thing you love about your job?
I love that it’s always different. I might come in thinking I’m going to cover one thing, and it changes because sports is still news. And I love being out in the field telling stories.

What’s one of the biggest challenges of your job?
The long hours. Some days I’ll come in at 8:30 am and I’ll be working until 11:00 pm, and you might be working five or six days a week. You hit a wall after a string of 14 hour days, but that’s any job.

Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists studying at Rowan?
Do as many internships as you possibly can. I interned at FOX 29 in Philly, and I did their morning show for a semester, and I did their night show. I learned so much. Just try everything. Don’t be annoying about it, but show you want to learn. I met some of the best mentors in my internships.

Sports journalism is a very competitive business. Any advice for aspiring sports journalists?
I’m unique because I started doing news and went into sports. My advice is to try for sports jobs first, but be aware that in a typical news station, if there are 10 reporters, then there will two sports reporters. Also be prepared to work in a very small market. But it can happen. When I graduated from Rowan, I couldn’t imagine covering one professional football team, let alone covering a Super Bowl. Now I’m on my second. I’ve definitely pinched myself.

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