Editor’s Note: After the following interview took place and after it appeared in the April 20 print edition, sports reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala told India-West that she will be leaving the Wall Street Journal and has accepted a new job working as an on-air national reporter for the NFL Network. “I'll be covering the whole league,” she said. “I’ll be traveling a ton. I’ll be on camera, of course. I'll cover all the league's teams for various programs during the week and on Sundays and I’ll also write for nfl.com.”
Wall Street Journal reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala said she grew up a “tomboy” in East Brunswick, N.J.
For a self-described sports fan, she had the dream job Feb. 5: Covering her regular beat, the New York Giants football team as they reached the pinnacle of U.S. sports — the Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.
“When I was growing up, I was a big (New York) Yankees fan and I loved the (New York) Knicks and the football Giants,” she told India-West during a recent interview by phone.
Before joining the Journal, Kinkhabwala, 34, was a sports reporter for the Bergen Record in New Jersey, covering Rutgers University’s teams and other beats; wrote a column for SportsIllustrated.com
; and worked for about two years as a sports reporter at the San Antonio Express-News in Texas.
Her reporting on the Giants, and other sports, appears regularly in the New York metro edition. Occasionally her articles are carried nationally by the Journal.
The Indian American sports writer majored in American Studies at Cornell University. She then decided to look for a job as a financial analyst at Bloomberg.
“Anyone that knows me knows that that did not make sense. I’m just not that good at math,” she said.
After the recent Cornell grad expressed some reservations about a career path as a financial analyst during a dinner meeting with a mentor, he suggested she try sports reporting.
“I said I would try it for one or two years, as a lark. Then I completely fell in love with what I am doing,” she told India-West.
One challenge for a sports reporter on the beat, Kinkhabwala said, is “how do you continually stay fresh.”
For example, she looked for an original angle in the media swirl leading up to the Super Bowl.
She decided to ask the Giants players some questions not related to the play on the field, including: “Who is Coach (Tom) Coughlin’s favorite?” “Who would do the best on ‘Jeopardy’?” “Who do you not want sitting next to you on the team plane?” and “Who would you let date your sister?”
Quarterback Eli Manning polled the most votes — 18 — as the coach’s favorite, followed closely by Chris Snee (15), who is married to Coughlin’s daughter and is the father of three of the head coach’s grandsons.
The most popular response to allowing someone to date a sister was “nobody” with 17 responses. No player got more than three votes.
The sports reporter’s parents, Minesh and Rita Kinkhabwala, have masters' degress. Kinkhabwala's father is a chemical engineer and her mother is a math professor. They worried initially about her career, but they have been fully supportive of her writing.
“My parents have always given me the freedom to pursue what I wanted,” she told India-West.
Kinkhabwala, who is single, has a brother who works at a hedge fund.
Joining in the Journal’s coverage of the Super Bowl and twittering from the game gave the Indian American sports reporter high visibility nationally. Writing regularly for the high-circulation New York edition of the Journal could peg Kinkhabwala as someone to watch on the national sports scene.