Jemele Hill is more than just Skip Bayless‘ competition on ESPN’s “First Take.” The Detroit native realizes that debating sports with the surly Bayless is just part of her day-to-day duties as an ESPN.com columnist.
“That’s not a job,” Hill tells SportsNewser. “Debating Skip is not my job. It’s what I do, but my job is to be a journalist.”
Hill has been a standout at her job as a journalist since starting her professional career at the Raleigh News & Observer in 1997. After stops at the Detroit Free Press and Orlando Sentinel, Hill joined ESPN in 2006.
SportsNewser.com spoke to Hill on the phone about her experience covering the World Cup in South Africa and the challenges she’s come across as a black woman in the journalism industry.
SportsNewser: Where does covering the World Cup in South Africa rank on your all-time list of favorite sporting events?
Jemele Hill: I would have to say that would be in the top three. It’s kind of hard to pick one but it would definitely be in consideration I guess. It was a fantastic experience. It was a beautiful country and a wonderful sporting event. It is almost hard for me to put in words because I have never been to Africa before. That was the first time I covered soccer on that scale. I just felt so many emotional connections in going to South Africa, a place that I think the last real recognition most of us had of it, myself as well, was apartheid. To see how the country had grown in those few years since it had been on the worldwide stage was very moving. It was definitely a benchmark for my career.