When Dana Jacobson left Bloomfield Hills and moved with her family to West Des Moines, Iowa, after her freshman year at Bloomfield Hills' Andover High School, the future award-winning journalist knew she would return to the Great Lakes State.
"I said, 'when I get into (The University of) Michigan, I'm coming back.' I left knowing I would come back," said Jacobson, who has co-hosted CBS This Morning: Saturday, since July of 2018. "I wanted to act. I thought I was going to be an actress. I was convinced that was what I was going to do with my life because I loved it so much. I went to my first audition at Michigan and realized I am a horrible actress. 'This isn't going to be for me, so what else do I think I like to do.'”
With little more than an interest in writing and interviewing, and a naturally inquisitive nature, Jacobson set her sight on radio and television, taking on her first internship at then-CBS affiliate WJBK in Detroit. She landed her first on-air job at WPBN/WTOM-TV in Traverse City, before moving to the Sacramento market and working in television and radio. Jacobson then spent a decade at ESPN before joining CBS Sports and CBS News.
"At that age, I was fortunate to grow up in a house that 'if you can think it and dream it, you can do it.' I was 100 pounds overweight. I had no TV experience. I didn't know the job, but I saw elements that I liked, and said, 'That's what I want to do.'
"As I started interning, I found I may not like all of these things, but I think I am the one to do it rather than someone else."
While Jacobson was a competitive swimmer and enjoyed playing and watching sports, she had no intentions of pursuing a career as a sports journalist.
"The sports part came later out of a fluke," she said.
When a news director in Traverse City offered her a position covering Big 10 sports, she jumped at the opportunity to take an on-air spot for the station.
"I think for me, it was learning the mechanics of being a sports anchor. You do everything – cutting, shooting – and I was still working news at the time. I learned about personalizing a story... you don't just ask the obvious questions. Maybe it's what isn't the appropriate question. You can ask. Someone doesn't have to answer. I did find I found stories behind the games."
Jacobson has been honored by the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation as a Hall of Fame inductee, and has earned National Headliner and Edward R. Murrow Awards for sports reporting, at the same time proving her ability to cover both news and sports.
As a woman in the sports field, Jacobson said she had to earn the respect of many men, where there were fewer female reporters and anchors. Whether covering sports or news, Jacobson said it's telling each person's story in a moving and emotional way that has stuck with her.
"My dad would watch when I sent him tapes, but he said he would still rather watch a guy do sports," she said, referring to her time working in Sacramento. "Later, he eventually just said I was good. It used to be, 'You're OK – for a woman.'
"It goes back to what my mom said to me: do you want it to be you or be someone else."
Photo: CBS News