Journalism Excellence: Taylor Rooks' Journey to SportsNet New York and CBS Sports Network

Taylor Rooks (Left) seen here with Cari Champion Photo via Taylor Rooks

Taylor Rooks (Left) seen here with Cari Champion Photo via Taylor Rooks

For some, a love for journalism is something that is acquired over time. For Taylor Rooks, it is a passion that she has worked to craft and perfect ever since her time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Growing up in a household where her father Thomas was a top rushing leader for the Fighting Illini and her uncle Lou was a Hall of Famer for the St. Louis Cardinals, Rooks couldn't help but love sports.

“My mom loves football and sports have always been a family thing! I have defined life moments based on sports. They’re such a vital part of my life.”

This love of sports would follow her to her time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she majored in broadcast journalism. While there, she covered and broke national recruiting stories for Scout.com and made national news for her stories and knowledge of what she was covering.

Not only was she busy with Scout.com, she spent time interning with the PGA TOUR and Comcast SportsNet Chicago and even reported for the CBS Sports Network WBB Pre-NIT Championship at 19 years old.

Because of her success and commitment as an undergrad, only two months after graduation, she became an on-air host, reporter, and correspondent for the Big Ten Network. Featured on shows such as, BTN Live, Rooks became a popular figure in the studio as well as the sideline.

Rooks, now with SportsNet New York and CBS Sports Network, knows how powerful her voice is and wants to use it for positive change.

“I’m a sports journalist that really tries to talk about the things I care about and that are important. The things that some people might not want to say, but should be said.”

“Whether it be women, black people, or even black women; there needs to be a lot of voices heard so that everything that needs to be discussed can be discussed. I’m super passionate about what I do.”

Growing up a huge football fan, Rooks enjoys the passion of college sports and loves covering the many storylines the games offer. 

“Nothing matches the passion you get in a college game. The fans and the stories of college athletes, you can’t help but root for a young person trying to make it!”  

For Rooks, there have been many moments in her career that have been positive, but when it comes to a defining moment, she believes she hasn't had one yet.

“Every day I try to become better, I don’t ever want to get complacent to who I am now. If I constantly look back at the cool things I’ve done, I would settle. So my defining moment hasn’t come yet, I’m still waiting on it. I want to work for it!”

As a women in the sports industry, Rooks knows that there are hurdles, but that when it comes down to it, it is important to not limit yourself.

“I think it’s so important not to limit yourself. As women, people are always telling us what we should talk about, nobody who listens to what other people tell them what to do are going to get anywhere. You have to be down to do anything and be able to do everything. You don’t have to take any path that anybody else has taken. You are who you are, you can set the path for yourself. Work hard and believe you can do it! The strength of being a woman and the power of it are advantages that totally outweigh the difficulties.”

With multiple accomplishments under her belt already and a bright future ahead, Rooks is a name you will want to keep an eye on as she continues to make positive waves in the industry. 

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