SOJ Insider | Jenna Fryer

Alumna’s career cruising in high gear

By Briana Warner

Twenty-plus Saturdays a year and every day in between, you will find alumna Jenna Fryer (BSJ, 1996) traveling across North Carolina and the country, covering NASCAR races and interviewing drivers and other sources about the racing world.

Based out of Charlotte, N.C., Fryer is the national NASCAR beat reporter for The Associated Press (AP).

A 1996 news-editorial graduate, Fryer was born in New Jersey and grew up loving sports – specifically the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Yankees. She was a swimmer in high school and served as a manager of the male wrestling team when she arrived at WVU.

“I was born into a sports crazy family,” said Fryer. “We went to a lot of Yankee games, watched the NFL on Sundays. I just always, always wanted to be involved in sports. I thought I wanted to be a beat writer for the New York Yankees and that has not materialized. I don’t think it ever will at this stage.”

Her love of sports and her journalism training began to work together when she landed a sports stringer position with The Charleston Gazette while also writing for The Daily Athenaeum. After graduation, she took a temporary reporter position at the Charleston AP office. From there she went to the AP’s New Orleans bureau where she covered Tulane University’s football team, as well as the New Orleans Saints. From there, she went to Montgomery, Ala., and covered Alabama and Auburn football for the AP. In Alabama she was promoted to sports editor and covered all SEC college football, which primed her for her next position.

Fryer began covering professional sports in 2000 when she relocated to Charlotte, N.C., and started covering the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and NASCAR. Fryer’s responsibilities continued to grow until 2006, when she was promoted to her current position as a national writer in charge of NASCAR. Fryer likes the sport but would be happy covering another beat.

“I love it, but I love it because it’s a beat,” said Fryer. “No matter what beat it was for me, I would love it because I thrive in the day-to-day, in the regularity and the getting to know the people. It’s very easy once you know the people and they know you. It’s the familiar faces. And you know how people think and what makes them tick. I love that.”

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