Today we’d like to introduce you to Arthur Puu.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Arthur. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve always been into sports since I was young. I remember watching basketball (most notably the 2000’s Lakers and 1990’s Bulls) with my dad as a kid and fell in love with the sport. In high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in sports, specifically in journalism. I experienced the power of media in 2011 when ESPN LA’s John Ireland bet that if then-league worst Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, he would walk back to his home from Cleveland, a 2,344 mile journey. The Lakers lost by five points that night, 104-99. Instead of walking home, he decided to donate $2,344, a dollar for every mile, to Autism Speaks and attend the Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Beyond just supporting the organization financially, Ireland spread awareness for autism from his platform as a radio host. Although the wager was initially made in jest, he inspired me to pursue media so I can help spread awareness for issues like autism and share stories like it. His actions affected me so deeply because my brother has autism. Hearing someone that I looked up to speak out in support of struggles my family endured encouraged me to follow his footsteps.
I studied journalism at Pepperdine University for my undergraduate and I worked closely with the university’s athletic program, doing play-by-play commentary and worked production for basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, and water polo games. I also wrote and served as the sports editor for the school newspaper until I graduated in 2018.
Coming out of college, I worked with media companies like Spectrum Sports, Spark Sports, BallerTV, and Overtime to cover all levels of sports: from the high school level to pro. I also began to do freelance photography and videography work since last December.
Currently, I am a freelance photographer and videographer working with many different organizations, but I also write for Prephoops.com, create NBA content for Spark Sports (via Instagram on @sparkarthur), and host an NBA podcast with Abou Kamara called the Blog Boys Podcast.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve faced a lot of obstacles as an Asian-American covering sports as a journalist. Among the many media/production rooms or even gymnasiums I’ve been in along the way, I’ve found myself being one of very few people of Asian descent multiple times.
The biggest problem Asians and Asian-Americans have always faced are always in regards to stereotypes. These tired portrayals are ones that are heard all the time: bad drivers, broken accents, eat weird foods, are proficient in math among others. With such stereotypes in mind, it conflicts with our dreams and our opportunities to help us achieve those. Thus, it affects our presence in other job fields. I’m not saying there’s not enough talent due to lack of Asians or Asian-Americans in other fields, but because there is such little diversity in other job fields, I believe it affects the opportunities and resources to pursue a different career paths.
Growing up, I’ve heard many people question why I wanted to pursue a job in sports media and go against the stereotype being a doctor or engineer. I watched Sportscenter as well as countless national and local sports telecasts and noticed there was only one or two sportscasters of Asian descent on the television and always asked myself why there was little diversity. It was just a common thing that Asians don’t get enough of is coverage in mainstream media. Sure, new Hollywood productions like “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Crazy Rich Asians” are changing that, but it’s a very recent revolution.
I’ve always thought to myself “if they can do it, I can do it.” Because of that, I picked up a lot of different skills (not just writing, but photography, podcasting, graphic design). Learning those skills wasn’t easy, and working through countless hours was a big challenge. However, I remember applying for a sports journalist job prior to graduating and the response I got over the phone from the hiring manager was simply “you’re overqualified.” Something I learned since that day was you’re never overqualified for the job that you want; in fact, if you have these skills in the back of your pocket, you’re always ready rather than having to get ready for the job.
I don’t speak for all Asians and Asian-Americans, but I know I don’t solely speak for myself either. I want to continue to fight against the stereotypes that we face, especially in media and sports. There’s always going to be beauty in the struggle and I think that’s what makes us great.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I wear a lot of different hats within the sports world, but my main job is being a freelance content creator. Like I stated earlier, I’ve worked with multiple media outlets and have helped them create all sorts of content in video, photo, podcast, and visual graphics.
Although I’m still at the start of my journey, I’m very thankful for all the people that I get to interact and build relationships with. To be in this position, I think it is always very important to share a full story by allowing your subject to tell it.
What sets me apart is the passion I have for sport and storytelling. To be able to give back to the community through stories is so powerful and I think it goes very far. People are always watching, especially in today’s social media age, but having people listening to their stories is what makes a big difference that continues to fuel my love for the job that I do.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I think personal success is when you enjoy what you are doing. Coming out of college, I held a job where I sat in the office working in sales for eight hours each day and simply didn’t enjoy it because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I left after a few months and began pursuing my journalism career and haven’t looked back since. I know it is cliche, but there is that saying “when you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” that’s pretty much how I define success.
- Website: arthurpuu.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/arthurpuu or instagram.com/sparkarthur
Dean Harvey, Spectrum Sports, Pepperdine Athletics