On October 20th, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded the Silver Circle honor to broadcast journalist and Coronado resident, Jane Mitchell. She gained local celebrity status with her One on One with Jane Mitchell sports program, providing fans with intimate portraits of San Diego sports legends like Tony Gwynn, Junior Seau, and Drew Brees.
Reflecting on the recent ceremony, Mitchell describes the experience as an “opportunity to thank those people and mentors who have been with you throughout your career.” She felt honored to be “recognized by her peers in other markets for the impact she has made in the community and sports.”
Mitchell’s most recent production, Countdown to Cooperstown 2018, a video blog on Trevor Hoffman‘s road to the Baseball Hall of Fame, also won an Emmy and San Diego Press Club Award for Excellence this year.
The Pacific Southwest Chapter celebrated inductees into the Academy’s Silver and Gold Circles at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.
With over 300 Silver Circle recipients since its inception in 1983, the award honors individuals whose careers in television span over 25 years. Inductees are selected for their performing, creative, technical, or administrative contributions within the media industry, including television journalism, education, advertising, promotion, and public relations.
Dan Roper, a longtime colleague and friend, introduced Mitchell at the ceremony praising her 33 years of dedication to her profession and noting her impact as a mentor on young media professionals.
“Many credit you for being a major force in their formative years as you modeled to them journalistic integrity and a tenacious work ethic,” Roper said.
Mitchell mentored over 125 interns in her distinguished career. Like most mentors, she helped them understand and learn if this career path was meant for them.
“Some people come into this profession because they think it’s glamorous, but that it is only a small percentage of the work,” Mitchell says, referring to the behind-the-scene efforts in the editing and storytelling process.
Her passion for storytelling blossomed under the guidance of her mother, Ann Mitchell, a teacher in the Imperial Beach school district. But her desire to pursue a journalism career came from an evening while watching the news with her late father, Wally Mitchell, a retired Naval officer. Sparked by the prospect of being able to travel and meet new people, Mitchell began her career early–in middle school journalism.
Although she was raised in Coronado, completing her undergraduate degree in political science with honors from the University of California San Diego, Mitchell went on to earn a graduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University. From there, her humble beginnings as a broadcast journalist took her to Texas and Oklahoma.
During this time, Mitchell developed her broadcasting persona taking constructive criticism from others, as well as being her own critic. She said it helped build her audience awareness—to really think about who is listening.
In 1991, her father’s diagnosis with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, brought Mitchell home to Coronado to care for her parents.
She made the break from local news and into sports journalism in 1997 with the launch of Cox Channel 4 San Diego, a station with dedicated program coverage of the San Diego Padres.
“I was glad to make that shift,” says Mitchell. “I went from dealing with sad things [at home and local media coverage] to having the opportunity to tell positive stories in long-form programming.”
Mitchell spent 15 years at Cox Channel 4 until the Padres broadcasting rights were purchased by Fox Sports. In 2010, she also wrote a book about her time covering San Diego sports legends entitled One on One: My Journey with Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites, and Rising Stars.
She has won 28 Emmys and countless other awards in her journalism career. When she’s not volunteering for the Coronado community or with the ALS Association local chapter, Mitchell continues her passion for storytelling through Your Story. Your Legacy., a video biography production that tells and preserves a loved one’s story.
When asked about her thoughts on the fundamentals of journalism, Mitchell replies, “Be respectful of the story. You have to start at the beginning–reporting, storytelling, and fact-finding is the basis for the integrity of your work.”
Nowadays, Mitchell focuses on raising her daughter, Lily, and caring for her mother in Coronado. She hopes to produce a follow-up piece on Hoffman and his reflection on “what it was really like in Cooperstown.” And maybe, in time, purse the dream of another show.