Jane Mitchell scores a hit with new book on San Diego athletes
By Diana Saenger
San Diegans know Jane Mitchell as the broadcast journalist on COX Channel 4 San Diego’s “One on One with Jane Mitchell.” There’s a reason this smart, intuitive woman has earned 26 Emmys and grained a great fan base. Through her interviews with athletes the likes of Tony Gwynn, Drew Brees and others, she has captured soulful moments, surprising details and relevant particulars of their lives like no one else.
It makes sense that after doing this for 14 years, Mitchell has poured her own heart and soul into a book, “One on One − My Journey with Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars,” now on store shelves.
The book consists of 638 pages of athlete profiles, game-winning revelations, and personal tidbits about her subjects … and her own life as well.
“I never intended it to be this large,” said Mitchell in an interview with The Light. “But I wanted a bigger clean font, a lot of pictures, and I ended up including more about myself than I first intended. Once I started, it just kept growing.”
Mitchell’s success in being able to learn so much about these big rugged men is probably best revealed in Tony Gwynn’s foreword. “She had this way of disarming guys … She didn’t come in knowing the answers. She just knew how to ask the questions,” he writes.
During her interview with John Moores on why he bought the Pardes, Moores told Mitchell, “No one ever really asked us that … and it was nice to talk about it.” It’s her smart, straightforward questions that produce the insights, along with interviewing skills that Mitchell said she honed during pre-game chats and the “One on One” show.
“It was never anything deliberate I did or planned,” Mitchell said. “In my first interview with Ken Caminiti, everyone warned me, ‘he’s quiet and may not talk about personal things,’ but he’s why “One on One” exists because I learned in this interview that, like everyone else, if you respect someone and are compassionate, thoughtful and you listen, they will respond.”
Mitchell said her eyes are always on her subject, capturing every facet about them – some she shares in her book – like how great Gwynn is when he meets his fans, or that Jerry Coleman found inspiration in his mother, or how Edgar Gonzalez got tears in his eyes when he found out he was going to the big leagues; or how Mike Cameron eased the pain of an on-field collision by writing poetry.
“Listening, I found, was my biggest asset,” Mitchell said. “I discovered people have a lot to say, you just have to listen, and I think people feel respected and comfortable when you follow up on something they are saying.”
Before each interview in the book, Mitchell lets readers get to know the subject through career moments, lengthy interviews with family members, and her own observations of interactions with the athlete. On Charger player Doug Flutie, Mitchell writes in reference to the family’s autistic son; “By watching Doug, Laurie and their daughter Alexa interact with Dougie, I witnessed gentleness and patience … I could see love in motion.”
For her life story with its many career highlights, visit Mitchell’s website at janemitchelloneonone.com
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