• Loading stock data...
Sunday, April 21, 2024
  • -
    days
  • -
    hours
  • -
    minutes
  • -
    seconds

Emily Kaplan Knows the Assignment

  • ESPN's Emily Kaplan has a journalism background and can write long features, but as a sideline reporter she keeps things open, lean, and neutral.
  • She joined Front Office Sports Today to discuss her work, the NHL, and life as a female sports media person.
Emily Kaplan is an ESPN sideline reporter.
Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images

The job of the sideline reporter often seems like the simplest one in television – a handful of short interviews and quick stories – what could be so hard about that?

In reality, what looks straightforward is the result of preparation, expertise, and knowing the potential and the limits of the job. Emily Kaplan, who has been a presence throughout the NHL playoffs on ESPN’s coverage, joined the Front Office Sports Today podcast to discuss the life of the sideline reporter, and the challenges and opportunities presented by being a woman in a male-dominated field.

Listen to the full conversation and subscribe to Front Office Sports Today here.

On the advantages to being a woman in the sports media world:

“Women broke the barriers in locker rooms in the 70s and 80s, and so the men that I cover now are so conditioned to having women cover them. That said, there are definitely advantages for me being a woman. I do think that in some ways I have been a diversity hire at certain stops where they were looking for a different voice, and for so long, those voices had been white and male. 

“I do know that when I go into a locker room, the guys tend to remember me more than the many, many males that are there before me or around me. I feel like sometimes we can connect on a different level. We can have different conversations that maybe the male reporters don’t feel comfortable having.” 

On the challenges: 

“But there are disadvantages. I alluded to news breaking. That is completely a relationships business and it’s a male’s world. The way information is passed along from the sources to the journalists, it’s drinking and going out golfing and things where, hey, if I’m drinking with a source at a bar at 11pm, people are going to look at me and then start to wonder the wrong things. I create certain rules for myself. I don’t text guys after certain hours because I don’t want them to get certain ideas.”

Her philosophy as a hockey sideline reporter:

“The biggest difficulty and I think the one that’s unique to hockey is just the time constraints. It is the fastest sport with the least amount of breaks. My biggest fear is talking over game action. 

“When I’m asking questions, my philosophy has always been ‘open, lean and neutral.’ Especially for the coaches interviews in the middle of the game, I don’t need to assert my knowledge and say, ‘this is how smart I am. I’m going to give you an observation. Do you agree with me and confirm how smart I am?’ I’m just a vehicle to get their opinions. 

On knowing the assignment:

“I’ll often ask them a question, like ‘what do you make of the first period?’ And I sometimes see people say, ‘Oh, Emily Kaplan has such dumb questions.’ Well, they’re actually kind of dumb by design and I have to humble myself in that way because the open, lean, and neutral questions actually get their opinions and how they feel. And then the key there is to follow up in the smart way to dig for more details. 

Panthers’ Steady Rise To Stanley Cup Final Started Two Years Ago

The Panthers’ surprise Final appearance marks a milestone in the franchise’s rise
June 1, 2023

On why these playoffs have been a win for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman:

The parity is something that Gary Bettman, the commissioner, takes a lot of pride in. And that has definitely never been more on display than now, where it really feels like any team can win. The conference finals [was] four sunbelt teams. It’s all teams in warm weather areas. And that was a hallmark of Gary Bettman’s NHL. So we’re celebrating all of these different markets. We’re celebrating all of these different teams and players. We’re at a point now where the highest paid players in the league have all been eliminated. So we’re seeing true teams emerge.

On how Gen-Z players will be different from previous ones:

“Hockey players don’t really put their personality out there. A lot of hockey players don’t use the pronoun ‘I.’ They say ‘we’ or ‘you.’ It’s a weird tick they have. They’re very deferential. Once the generation Z and the younger players who have come up in a different generation and are more comfortable flexing their personality, making it a bit about themselves, that will open up hockey media as well because it shows what we can do to give access to fans.”

On which team will win the Stanley Cup:

“I think it’s Vegas’ time. Ever since they entered the league, they’ve become extremely impatient to win. They’ve been pretty ruthless about it. And they’re just operating at a great level right now. If their goaltending holds up, I think it’s theirs.”

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Stanley Cup-Keeper Miragh Bitove is Ready to Protect the Hardware

To safeguard what may be the most-recognizable trophy in all of sports, she’s never more than an arm’s length away from the precious metal.

Utah Fans Rush for Season Tickets (for a New NHL Team With No Name)

More than 20,000 season-ticket deposits have been made for the newly relocated NHL team.

Rockies Coach’s Team Plane Cockpit Visit Triggers Federal Investigation

A since-deleted video shows him sitting in the cockpit mid-flight.

NBA Media Rights Likely Headed for Open Market Next Week

The league is reportedly letting Monday’s deadline pass without a deal.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Why Ian Rapoport Lives for the NFL Draft’s Chaos

0:00
0:00

Featured Today

Everything You Need To Know About the Legal Attempts To Kill the ACC

Four lawsuits involving the conference, Clemson, and FSU could determine the future.
April 20, 2024

A Bare-Knuckle Fighter Won His Pro Debut. The Far Right Scored a Marketing Win

With Proud Boys sponsoring him, experts say extremist groups will use his success to elevate their ideologies and recruit new believers.
April 7, 2024

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Adidas
Multiple - USA Careers
FanDuel
Multiple - USA Careers

No Subscription Totals? Netflix’s Decision Could Impact Sports Plans

The streaming giant says a focus on subscriber totals doesn’t reflect the full state of the company.
April 17, 2024

The Questions Are Mounting for ‘Spulu’ As Lawmakers Demand Answers

A pair of high-powered Congressmen are demanding answers about the forthcoming service.
April 18, 2024

Diamond Sports Group Is About to Survive Bankruptcy. Will It Matter?

The bankrupt company faces key questions relating to both programming and distribution.
Sponsored

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 16, 2024

Chicago’s Sports Media About to Experience a Major Shake-Up

Three Chicago pro teams’ media rights could shift to Stadium as soon as this fall.
April 16, 2024

Caitlin Clark Drives Massive WNBA Draft Audience for ESPN

Clark’s coronation was the most-watched WNBA telecast in decades.
April 16, 2024

The Yankees’ Radio Voice Retires, Ending an Era of Longevity

The longtime Yankees radio announcer was an industry outlier in many respects.
April 15, 2024

Star-Studded NBA Play-In a Potential Ratings Boon for ESPN and TNT

The initial portion of the NBA postseason features three former MVPs.