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ESPN’s Adam Schefter returns to Northwestern to discuss career, give job tips

ESPN reporter Adam Schefter (MSJ '90) imparted career advice on a packed crowd at the McCormick Tribune Center Forum. It is his first trip to Evanston since he left in 1990.

Daily file Melody Song/Daily Senior Staffer

ESPN reporter Adam Schefter (MSJ '90) imparted career advice on a packed crowd at the McCormick Tribune Center Forum. It is his first trip to Evanston since he left in 1990.

Josh Walfish, Sports Editor

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ESPN reporter Adam Schefter earned his masters degree at Northwestern but never claimed his diploma.

Schefter (Medill ’90) left the graduate journalism program early to pursue an internship in Seattle. He called not attending his graduation ceremony and receiving his diploma one of the biggest regrets of his career.

“I never graduated from Medill,” Schefter said. “I think back to the time I spent at (University of) Michigan and the graduation ceremony there, and it was one of the great days of my life … I didn’t care about (Medill’s) graduation. It didn’t matter to me at the time, and I can say, standing up here today, it matters to me now.”

The story was the first of many Schefter told Wednesday to a full McCormick Tribune Center Forum. Schefter gave attendees career tips and spoke about how he went from Medill to being one of the most respected NFL journalists in the country.

Schefter talked at length about being able to bounce back from rejection and using the word “no” as a motivation to find the next opportunity. It was this philosophy that helped him get a start in sports journalism at University of Michigan, where he joined The Michigan Daily as an undergraduate after he was not accepted into a fraternity and denied jobs with both the football and basketball teams. He said that everyone experiences rejection, but an individual’s response to those rejections will dictate his or her life path.

“The world is not waiting for you to come join their company,” Schefter said. “It’s up to you to go find those jobs and expect the rejection that’s going to come. … Sometimes the best thing to happen to you is for someone to tell you no.”

The other main theme of Schefter’s talk was the importance of treating people the right way in advancing one’s career. He used the example of the New York Jets, whose officials interviewed janitors and taxi drivers about how prospective players treated them. Over time, the Jets found that the most successful NFL players treated everyone respectfully.

Weinberg sophomore Jimmy Feterman said he was surprised by Schefter’s discussion of journalism as a people profession. He said he had thought journalism was based more on personal accomplishment, but the moral was applicable to him and his career goals.

“What he said about being kind to others and making yourself approachable — those are social skills that are applicable for whatever you do in life, for whatever career path you want to take,” Feterman said.

Schefter’s return to Evanston may be his first time on campus since he left in 1990. He said he still feels a connection to the school.

“Everything is so different that it’s hard to recognize things,” Schefter told The Daily before the speech. “On the one hand, you always get a warm feeling when you go back to a place where you spent time, but on the other hand, it’s a very different place from what I remember. … Maybe it doesn’t have quite the emotional attachment as other people, but Northwestern is a part of me, it’s in my soul, it’s on my resume and it’s always great to be back.”

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