Josina Anderson is an American sports journalist currently associated with Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN). Having developed a passion for sports early in her life, she found her calling while serving as an announcer for her school basketball team. She also took up track and field sprinting and later enrolled at the University of North Carolina as a student-athlete. Following graduation, she interned with WTEM on ‘The Tony Kornheiser Show’ and ‘The Donnie Simpson Morning Show’ on WPGC-FM radio, before landing her first job as a sports news anchor/reporter at the CBS affiliate in Coos Bay, Oregon. Since then, she has worked for local cable sports shows in her home state of Washington, Fox 31, and Showtime. Anderson received a Heartland Emmy in 2009 for her piece on quarterback John Dutton and his wife Terina’s journey to Ethiopia to adopt their son Miki. In 2011, she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a national sports reporter when she joined ESPN.
After spending a fruitful year interning for several reputed radio news shows, Josina Anderson’s career set off in the right direction when she was hired by the CBS affiliate news channel in Coos Bay in 2000. She was one of the few journalists ever to be hired so shortly after finishing school. Without getting complacent in her more-than-decent new job, and driven by ambition and a healthy desire to be successful, she was already considering the next possible chapter in her career. She printed out her resume and collected tapes of her work to send all across the country. But none of them led to any job opportunity with better prospects than the one she had back then. So, after spending nearly a year in Oregon, she moved back to Washington, D.C.
The first few months in the capital were indeed hard. She had to live out of her parents’ house and fall back to her track background to work as a personal trainer. At day, she would charge her clients $100 to train them on the track; at night, she would cover the city’s various sports teams (Redskins, Wizards and the Mystics) as well as Georgetown and University of Maryland basketball teams for the local cable news shows.
In 2005, she joined Fox 31 in Denver, Colorado. She had auditioned for the same job at the station two years earlier but did not get it at the time. Spending the next six years with them, she broke several major stories, including NFL players testing positive under the league’s steroids policy (October 2008); NFL stars Ricky Williams and Travis Henry testing positive for marijuana (July 2008); and Charles Woodson and the Packers reaching an agreement on a contract extension (September 2010). In her last year with Fox, she was a reporter for Showtime’s Inside the NFL.
She reached a new chapter in her career by accepting ESPN’s job offer in 2011 and left Denver for Chicago. The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) conferred her with a Salute to Excellence award for Radio – Feature in 2014 for ‘Outside the Lines and The Sporting Life: "Chamique Holdsclaw"’ alongside Greg Amante, Brandon Lowe, Carolyn Hong, and Dwayne Bray.
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Controversies & Scandals
In August 2014, Josina Anderson was heavily criticised for her on-air report on former St. Louis Rams’ defensive end Michael Sam’s showering habits. She was reporting from St. Louis where Sam had survived the first round of lay-offs and reported that she had been informed by an unnamed player that Sam, the first openly gay player in an NFL training camp, would not take a shower before all his teammates had done so.
Both she and ESPN were at the receiving end of widespread condemnation afterwards. Everyone from Sam’s teammates to LGBT activists to fellow media personalities spoke out against the segment. Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher went as far as calling it “manufactured” and accusing Anderson of being “unethical” and “unprofessional”. On their part, ESPN initially defended the segment, but later issued a public apology.
Josina Anderson was born on August 15, 1978, in Washington, D.C., USA, to parents Lloyd and Yasmin Anderson. Besides her, the Andersons also have a son who is a film producer.
She was educated at the Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she became an announcer for the Blazers. She then attended the University of North Carolina where she was a track and field sprinter competing in 200 and 400 metres races. She even won a gold medal at the AAU Junior Olympics. After graduating with a degree in Exercise and Sports Science, she did back-to-back internships with two of the most legendary radio shows of the US capital, ‘The Tony Kornheiser Show’ on WTEM and ‘The Donnie Simpson Morning Show’ on WPGC-FM radio, both in 1997.
Anderson is an accomplished former ballet dancer as well, having done residencies with the Dance Theater of Harlem and Pennsylvania Ballet. She has also performed as a soloist for the American Youth Ballet.