By Adam Coleman
James Williams is a digital sports producer with the Southern California News Group.
What led you to get into sports journalism?
I was on the high school football team at my high school (Downey High School) I was on the team, I didn’t play. I was too short. But I just fell in love with sports. The whole team atmosphere, everything about it. I wanted to be a photo major, graphic design. I didn’t know what I wanted to do coming out of high school. I was always kind of told I was a good writer. One summer, I’m just kind of like ‘What am I going to do?’ I said ‘You know what? I want to get back into the sports scene a little bit. People always said I was good at writing so let’s combine the two and see what happens and join the newspaper at my city college (Editor in Chief at Riverside City College).’ I’ve been running hard since then.
What are your main duties with the Southern California News Group?
I’m a digital sports producer. I publish stories through the website, upload to social media, run the social media account, Facebook, Twitter. We’re working on Instagram, getting that going. A lot of behind the scenes work really.
What led you to be interested in the Diversity Fellowship?
My sports editor Tom Moore, he kind of encouraged me to go forward and do that. I was like ‘Man, there is no way I’m going to get this.’ But I applied for it, I got it and I’m glad I did. It’s an experience you can’t pass up. Being about to travel and do those kinds of things for the first time is something you can’t pass up.
You’re currently going to school as well. What is the balance like between being a full-time student and full-time journalist?
I’m going to Long Beach State, majoring in journalism of course. Getting through the grind really. Thought about joining the newspaper on campus but being a full-time student and working full time for the Southern California News Group limits my options. I only go twice a week because my commute is two hours because of the L.A. traffic. It’s a grind and there’s not a lot of time off. A lot of people think I’m crazy for the two-hour drive but that’s my me time to be honest. That’s my time to kind of have a moment to myself. It’s a grind and a lot of people think I’m crazy but when you know what you want to do and where you want to go, you’re not going to let anything cut you short.
What is your dream beat?
It would probably be an NBA beat like the Lakers. It’s always drama and it’s always something going on. It’s just more to it. It gives you more of an opportunity to tell stories. It’s something about the NBA. It’s just always something. It’s always fresh.
What do you enjoy the most about being in journalism?
Every day is different. There are people where they drive to work and they’re sitting down at their desk. Nothing against that. I sit at a desk too. But they’re sitting at a desk and they know what they’re doing every day. They know what they have going on. We do too to a certain degree but at the same time, when that breaking news happens, when that rush happens, it’s just something about it. It’s like that rush. That’s what I love most about it. You don’t know what every day is going to bring. It could be a boring day, a light day or you could have more things to write about than you know what to do with.
What do you want people to know about you aside from your career in journalism?
It’s like I say when people ask me questions like that. If I wasn’t doing journalism, I’d still be doing a lot of the same stuff I’d be doing anyway. I’d still be on social media. I’d still be watching sports. I’d have to pay to go to some of the games I get to go and cover but video games, hanging out with my family, my girlfriend. I’m just a normal dude. Nothing special. No crazy hobbies or anything. My hobby is work but it doesn’t feel like work.