5 questions with Anish Shroff '04

By Chris Williamson

April 17, 2014

Alumnus Anish Shroff ’04, recently stopped by the Newhouse School to speak with students about the sports broadcasting industry. In town to call the Syracuse University’s men’s lacrosse game for ESPNU, where he works as a host, anchor and announcer, Shroff took some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions about his career and what’s in the news.

Having been raised in New Jersey, how did your passion for sports begin?

You’re exposed to a lot of national sports like the Yankees, Knicks, Nets, Giants and many others. It is a sports hotbed. My parents were both immigrants when they came here and my dad especially, used sports as his way into American culture. He followed the Yankees with Reggie Jackson and followed the 80’s Mets with Doc and Darryl (Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry). He got me into Little League baseball and that was my acculturation. Then I began to embrace and watch sports. It started with baseball, then branched off to basketball and football. I didn’t have cable back then, so I remember listening on the radio to Michael Kay (Yankees play-by-play voice) under my pillow and watching the NBA on NBC. It wasn’t until freshman or sophomore year of high school that I felt this was something I could do for a living.

What do you think of the TV coverage of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370?

You lose a flight and you can’t find it—that’s a national story. It makes the job of (being a) journalist tough to figure out what is fact and what is truth. The idea is to find the truth, but as media we rush to be first. Can you say it’s overblown coverage when families of missing passengers are still looking for some closure? I don’t know. It is a 24-hour news cycle, but it does annoy me when I turn on something and it says there is new information when there really isn't. In the end, I can’t sit here and say it didn’t deserve the news coverage it got. This was a global story that affected everybody.

The National Labor Relations Board recently ruled in favor of Northwestern University football player, allowing them to unionize as employees. What do you think this means for the NCAA and its athletes?

The trickle-down of that can be far-reaching. It can affect whether the NCAA dissolves or becomes a smaller entity. It could determine whether schools have to alter their budget. It could result in sports cuts. The NCAA is at a tipping point and they need to realize that. If they don’t change the way they conduct business and operate, it wouldn’t shock me in the next five to 10 years if another entity comes in and supplants them.

Do you find in your job that it’s important to be well-versed in more than just sports?

To me, it’s everything. My mom would make me read a non-sports book for every sports book I read. I fought it at first, but now I understand and am thankful for my mom making me read books like “The Diary of Anne Frank” and many others. It gives you a sense of cultural literacy.  It makes you appreciate work like Russian literature and Shakespeare. At the end of the day, it comes down to being well rounded and being able to draw from what you know.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you while doing live television?

The one that stands out goes back to my early days at ESPN. I (had been) on air for about a month doing ESPN news updates. We had breaking news: it was the first time Brett Favre had announced he was retiring. They said (to me) go get makeup and get in the chair. I had nothing and they just threw me on the air. For the next six hours, it was one live interview after the other by ad-libbing. It was first time I was in the boiling room and I felt I handled it well.

Chris Williamson is a senior broadcast journalism major at the Newhouse School.

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