LHN Reporter Jane Slater on Journalism, Longhorn Network, and Starting Small


Jane Slater is no stranger to the TV newsroom. She began her career on local TV and radio in Dallas doing traffic, weather, and investigative reporting. Now as a new sports reporter at ESPN’s Longhorn Network, her career has brought her back to where it all began: the Forty Acres.

The Alcalde sat down with Slater, BA, BJ ’04, to discuss her career, Longhorn Network, and her love of inspirational fan stories.

You’re from Rowlett, Texas, in the DFW area?

Right. We used to get so excited when I was growing up — you’d see the weather map and they’d never have Rowlett. We finally felt like we’d made it when you look at the weather map and could be like, “Yes, there’s Rowlett!” Now it’s gotten a lot bigger, and we had Jason Castro from American Idol graduate my high school and Marquise Goodwin.

Where do you see Longhorn Network going in the future?

I think there’s room to grow. They don’t have a huge staff like they do in Bristol [at ESPN headquarters], but what they’re able to crank out has made a footprint for other schools to do the same. Obviously they have a contract with the University of Texas in place for 20 years, so I don’t see it going anywhere; I see it getting better.

Which show on LHN requires the most work behind the scenes?

All Access is awesome. I mean, it’s in-depth, ESPN quality. There’s so much work that goes into that, from staffers to producers to analysts to play-by-play, the graphics, the research department … I’ve never seen that sort of prep put into a show. It’s amazing.

What is your role like off-camera?

A lot of people don’t realize when we anchor the show we write all of it. People think there’s someone who writes all the copy for you. We write the whole 30-minute show. We have researchers who help us come up with some great numbers and put things in perspective, and then we kick around ideas in story meetings, like, ‘How can we enhance this idea?’

What’s been your favorite story to cover?

The first day when I started at LHN, I sat down with David Ash, and he was like, “Who are you?” and I said, “I’m the new LHN girl, it’s my first day,” and he goes, “Well, it’s my last!” So that was memorable. But my favorite story that I’ve ever done absolutely has to be Nick Vujicic, [a motivational speaker] with no arms and no legs. We played golf together. It’s amazing what this guy can do. He told me about when he was 8, he tried to kill himself, but he said God wouldn’t let him die. He overcame all these obstacles. So it’s funny; everyone always thinks you’re going to say something like interviewing Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith, but the people, those are my favorite stories.

Photo courtesy Jane Slater


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