Malika Andrews, 2016-17 editor-in-chief of The Beacon, has joined ESPN as an NBA regional reporter. Less than two years out of college, she will cover the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves out of ESPN’s Chicago office. The job includes writing and reporting, TV appearances for ESPN's NBA coverage and weekly radio appearances for shows across the ESPN platform.
“I’m honored to have them see some sort of talent in me,” Andrews said. “Following in the footsteps of those incredibly talented journalists and doing that sort of important work is absolutely a dream come true.”
According to Andrews, she is ESPN’s only female regional NBA reporter — well-known ESPN women reporters Jackie MacMullan and Ramona Shelburne are national — and the only woman of color covering the NBA for ESPN overall.
Before ESPN, Andrews was working at The Chicago Tribune covering the Chicago Bulls. Prior to the Tribune, she was a James Reston Fellow at The New York Times for her first year out of college. Her new job will include frequent traveling and getting to know the players she covers.
“It’s definitely a grind,” she said. “The unknown and bouncing around and new cities and new voices is part of what keeps this job exciting.”
Andrews always knew she didn’t want to work the traditional nine-to-five workday, although she didn’t always know that she wanted to be a sports reporter. She started working at The Beacon during her sophomore year, and quickly moved up the ranks from reporter, to sports editor, to editor-in-chief her senior year.
"When Malika first started working at The Beacon her sophomore year, she had zero journalism experience,” Nancy Copic, assistant director for student media and adviser to The Beacon, said. “But her moxie, willingness to learn and intellectual curiosity made her an immediate standout...Nothing about Malika's success as a young professional surprises me.”
While she was editor-in-chief, Andrews covered difficult stories like UP’s basketball transition from the firing of head coach to the hiring of , and the story of . With her best friend and 2016-17 News and Managing Editor ('17), Andrews spearheaded .
Andrews credits her experience at The Beacon for teaching her the skills she relies on in the professional world.
When Andrews was a sophomore, then-editor-in-chief Katie Dunn transitioned the sports section from centering on sports highlights and game coverage, to focus on how sports extends to culture and politics. That transition reflected what was happening in professional sports journalism.
“I think that mindset was definitely a Beacon-driven mindset, and has served me at my job now,” Andrews said. “I learned the fundamentals at The Beacon and the fundamentals of writing are so incredibly important.”
For those who want to make it to ESPN one day, or into a high position in another industry, Andrews recommends reaching out to professionals and asking them how they got to where they are. She also recommends taking advantage of opportunities outside the classroom, such as student media or another extra-curricular in a desired field.
“Writing every day, studying those in your industry who do it best, being curious and working really, really freaking hard will serve you well,” she said.
This week, Andrews' hard work pays off in her new position at the Chicago ESPN office. After seeing her on the weekly segment with ('17) a few years ago, students may now see Andrews on TV or hear her on the radio working with people who have been her role models for years.
“If someone had told me that I would get to do all of these really cool things and meet all of these insanely talented people less than two years out of college, I would have told them they were nuts,” she said.
Hannah Sievert is the editor-in-chief for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.