Jemele Juanita Hill (/dml/; born 1975) is a sports journalist from the United States who currently contributes to The Atlantic. She clocked in at ESPN for close to a dozen years. Former host of ESPN’s His and Hers and writer for ESPN.com’s Page 2 column. She replaced Jalen Rose as host of ESPN2’s Numbers Never Lie in 2013.
ESPN’s main SportsCenter airs at 6 p.m. (ET) on weeknights, and Hill and Michael Smith have hosted the show since 2017. Hill was there until 2018 when ESPN transferred her to their website The Undefeated. She began working at the magazine in late 2018. In 2020–2021, she and Cari Champion hosted Vice’s Cari & Jemele (Won’t) Stick to Sports.
1. She Start Her Career As a Journalist
One of her first jobs was at a newspaper. Her resume includes such bylines as “jemele hill, Michael smith, cari champion, bio, Obama moderator, ESPN, his and hers” ESPN has several talented people, like Jemele Hill, Michael Smith, and Cari Champion.
Hill worked at newspapers for a while before joining ESPN. She started working for the Raleigh News & Observer in 1997 as a sports writer. From 1999 through 2005, Hill worked as a football and basketball reporter for the Detroit Free Press.
2. Hill Is a Co-Host on Espn’s His & Hers
Between 2005 and 2006, she contributed columns to the Orlando Sentinel. At the 1997 Poynter Media Summit, Hill took home the McKenzie Cup for the best journalist. Hill has also spoken on sports media at the graduate level for the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business Management program.
His & Hers, which Hill and Michael Smith host, is a big deal on ESPN. The show is known not only for discussing sports but also for tackling social concerns and talking about pop culture. In the following video, you can see a parody they performed on the show Empire. Fun like this is commonplace on the show. Hill explained the show’s intent to Awful Announcing.
Hill’s experience with ESPN.com predates his anchoring the show. She made guest appearances on First Take, Around the Horn, The Sports Reporters, and Outside the Lines.
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3. Hill Has Been Vocal About Social Issues
Hill said that some sports fans have made sexist and racial comments to her. Of the 305 newspapers studied, the Orlando Sentinel was the only one where she could be found writing about sports as a black woman. In an interview with Columbia Journalism Review, she discussed the difficulties of her line of work.
4. ABC Picked Her to Lead Obama in A Conversation About Race
After many racial-based shootings in 2016, President Obama held a town hall meeting to tackle the issue. ABC’s “The President and The People: A National Conversation,” which Hill and David Muir moderated, featured a discussion between the president and the American people.
People who had been personally affected by the shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas participated in the panel discussion. Due to the town hall being broadcast simultaneously on ABC and ESPN, Hill had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. About Twitter, Hill shared her thoughts on co-hosting the conversation. Hill wrote, “My duty is not to speak, but to help facilitate honest inquiries toward @POTUS.”
5. Both of Hill’s Parents Suffered from Substance Abuse Problems
In 1997, Jemele Hill completed her degree in communication arts and sciences at Michigan State University. Hill’s journalism career took off when she graduated from Michigan State. She recently relocated to Florida to join the ESPN staff. Not only me, but many other journalism grads, I believe, have been able to leave a truly significant legacy here.
Hill’s childhood home was in Motor City. She reportedly had a tumultuous upbringing due to parents who were themselves struggling with mental illness (as reported by The Root). Her parents were also heroin addicts. Her mom had been a victim of sexual abuse, too, and she was struggling to recover from the trauma. She cleaned houses on the side to supplement the assistance payments she received to keep her family afloat.
Hill finally turned to sports writing as a form of relief. While in high school, Hill began working for the Detroit Free Press after contributing to her school newspaper. She took messages and recorded high school grades. Hill wrote a piece for The Root about how sports gave her an outlet from the hardships at home.
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“If you don’t like your reality, writing allows you to construct a new one, and that was one of the reasons I enjoyed writing so much when my parents had a lot of drug troubles while I was growing up. I also had a knack for sports from an early age. Hill said for The Root, “When I realized I could combine my two loves—sports and writing—I was sold.”
Later, she earned a journalism degree from Michigan State University. Hill is an ardent Spartan fan and a jubilant alumna.