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Tips From The Top: One On One With ESPN & SEC Network’s Larra Overton

I spoke to Larra Overton, the Emmy-winning sports reporter for Fox59 and CBS 4 in Indianapolis also seen on ESPN and SEC Network, about her journey and her best advice

Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your story and what you have learned from your
journey to date. First things first, though, what is something about you that your fans don’t know? 

Larra: I feel that now with how active many of us are on social media that few things are undisclosed in that
regard! However, if you delve into my college archives, I hold top ten performances in IU Track & Field
program history in two events, the 800m indoors and 1500m outdoors. 

Adam: What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your development and
success? 

Larra: Being told “no” more often than “yes,” and always looking at those as opportunities to grow and
improve. I am as hungry for feedback as I am for new opportunities, so I use that constructive criticism
as fuel to keep myself motivated. Some of the jobs I haven’t gotten have provided the best opportunity
to make myself better for those roles or jobs for which you are hired. 

Adam: In your experience, what are the common qualities among those who have been able to enjoy
success in media and broadcasting? 

Larra: Passion and dedication are two of the qualities that I see in many of the people I admire in this business.
Demonstrating your passion when telling stories, reading highlights or doing interviews not only helps
the viewer connect, but it also shows them that you are invested in what you are communicating. And
unwavering dedication is what sets those apart who want to be great journalists and storytellers and
those who just want to be on TV. Those who are dedicated dig to find a way to deliver information you
don’t get elsewhere. 

Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and why? 

Larra: My mom and dad were both coaches when I was growing up, so my love of sports and work ethic are
absolutely attributed to them. There are a dozen times I would have given up if not for them. Also, my
high school coach, Tom Chapala, and my college coach at Indiana, Judy Wilson. They each invested so
much in me and instilled confidence in me I never would have found on my own. 

Adam: What are the best lessons you have learned through your career that are applicable to those who
will never earn a living in front of or behind the camera? 

Larra: Learn to do everything. No matter what role you are pursuing, learning how to produce, write, edit,
shoot, run teleprompter, set up a live shot, etc. will give you a better understanding of everything that
goes in to making a production happen. And not only does that make you more well-rounded and
marketable to a prospective employer, you can also communicate more effectively with everyone with
whom you are working when you at least have an idea of what their jobs entail in addition to your own. 

Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received? 

Larra: “It’s never as good as you think it is, and it’s never as bad as you think it is.” Even when you think you
have knocked an interview or story out of the park, there is always something you could have done
better or improve next time. And even when you think you absolutely bombed a report or sportscast,
it’s likely not as bad as you think in your mind. And you probably get to go out and do it again tomorrow,
so don’t beat yourself up. 

Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you? 

Larra: Being a track & field person, I still run often. It helps me clear my head and work out a lot of the stresses
that we endure in such a competitive career. Also, the running community is so supportive and
encouraging, engaging with fellow runners at races and events always helps me recharge. 

Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward? 

Larra: When aspiring journalists reach out in person or through social media or email, acknowledge it right
away. Even if they send a reel or portfolio they’d like you to provide feedback on and you can’t give it
the attention it deserves right then, let him or her know that you received it, provide them a bit of
encouragement and then find a time to reply in further detail. I always find that I benefit as much from
discussing with them and hearing their excitement as they do from any advice I can (hopefully) offer.

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