ESPN anchor Collins returning to RGV for Social Media Summit

When ESPN’s Antonietta Collins was hired four years ago, the journalist was tasked with producing four-minute segments at the company. Now, they’re down to just one.

Along with anchoring Sportscenter Saturday morning, Collins gives one-minute updates throughout the day and could break into regular programming when news hit.

“We’re going to have to evolve again. You never know,” she said of the changing media landscape. “You have to adapt.”

Collins was hired into the digital media team at ESPN.com to anchor news and analysis with hopes of her growing up to English-language broadcast.

She’s since guest-hosted ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, hosted One Nación on ESPN Deportes, and worked on enterprise and featuring reporting.

“Their plan was ‘let’s mold you … into what you can be here (and) what works for this company,’” she said. “They wanted me to have a voice — a Hispanic voice.”

Collins got her first on-camera opportunity at Fox2 News and KNVO TV 48 Univision in McAllen covering hard news.

The 32-year-old journalist headlines the soldout Social Media Summit 18, the “RGV’s largest digital media conference,” according to the Mission Economic Development Corporation, which is hosting the event.

Workshops start at 8:15 a.m. Thursday at the Mission CEED Building.

The event focuses on digital marketing and social media with sessions on social platforms, video, photo, public relations and more.

It also offers networking opportunities during lunch and at 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the beer social at 5×5, the facility’s in-house microbrewery.

Collins will participate in the keynote conversation from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.

“McAllen was the only station actually that’s asked me for an interview,” Collins said.

Covering border stories was a “reality check” for Collins, and she recalls her time in the Valley fondly as “one of the best two-and-a-half years of my entire career,” Collins said.

“I knew nobody and everybody took me in like they were my family.”

She called the Valley her second home “because of the culture and family atmosphere.”

Locally, she reported, anchored in English and Spanish, produced and worked in weather, and more.

“It helped me be where I am today with the tools that I needed for the next step,” she said.

Collins studied communications and sports management in school, and always wanted to get back to sports.

She’s an accomplished athlete in her own right, earning a call-up to the U-19 Mexican National soccer team.

She made the leap to sports with Univision affiliate Deportes 23 in Dallas, reporting, anchoring and producing.

After a stint at Univision Deportes, she landed at the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” in Bristol, Conn.

“It’s like studying for a final exam every time you go on,” she said of anchoring Sportscenter.

She must stay current on all sports news since understanding the context and nuance of each story is a must in order to keep up with her audience.

“Your audience is key,” she said. “You can be the smartest and most eloquent, but if you don’t relate and connect — whether it’s through video or writing — you lose the person.”

She gushed about the preparation of her co-workers who make it look easy, and said she wanted to keep improving in the “well-oiled machine” that is ESPN.

On the Saturday morning Sportscenter, they get through planned content the first two hours.

“The last hour, we start getting segments from the different college games we have reporters at,” she said.

Collins described controlled chaos, juggling traffic from her producer and throwing to her colleagues as new breaks.

“The preparation (and) the determination that I got from the Valley got me to where I am today,” Collins said.

“I don’t take it for granted and I’m very grateful for what the RGV taught me.

“No matter where you come from, what your background …. (or) degree is, if you have the talent, passion and determination, you can do it.”