NDSU students learn from ESPN broadcasters
Published October 14, 2015
Be kind, be tenacious, be engaged and be fun to be around. It also doesn’t hurt to have a memorable name.
That was just some of the career advice given by on-air talent and producers of ESPN’s “SportsCenter on the Road” to communication students from NDSU, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College, Moorhead, during the weekly sports show’s recent visit to NDSU.
The television production travels the country during college football season for a live morning broadcast featuring the hometown team. In addition, the show’s anchors and producers each week schedule a session with local students to tell their personal stories and share advice about breaking into broadcast journalism.
The event continued NDSU’s longstanding tradition of bringing the top professionals in their field to campus to teach students. From renowned composers and musicians to Nobel Prize-winning chemists and the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, NDSU has provided students access to some of the world’s great minds.
The chance to learn from ESPN broadcasters led NDSU senior and The Spectrum sports editor Pace Maier to show up early and grab a front-row seat.
“I wake up every morning and watch these people on television,” Maier said. “Sitting 10 feet away from people I look up to was very special. This was a great chance to get insight from a group of broadcasters that has reached the highest level.”
The question-and-answer session featured ESPN anchors Sara Walsh and Matt Barrie, reporter Marty Smith and producers Don Skwar and Jonathan Whyley.
NDSU communication students received career advice from ESPN “SportsCenter on the Road” reporters and producers during the show’s visit to Fargo.
Each said they started their career path by taking advantage of opportunities they were given as college students. The panel urged NDSU, MSUM and Concordia students to do the same.
“If you want to get into sports, don’t worry about getting a sports job right away,” said Walsh, who joked that MSUM student Tomi Thompson likely will have no problem getting her first job due to her name. “Take any job on the air and work your way into the job you want.”
The engaging and energetic panel also discussed the importance of internships, pitching ideas, the trappings of social media for student journalists, preparation and the power of a positive personality.
NDSU graduate student Stephen Daniel said the advice was more far reaching than sports journalism.
“I’ve never had a chance to do anything like this before I got to NDSU,” Daniel said. “Since I’ve been here I’ve been able to do this and to work for a marketing firm during the ESPN ‘College GameDay’ trip to Fargo last year. It’s unbelievably helpful to learn from professionals with ESPN’s credentials. But some of the biggest things I’ve learned were about how to interact with people and really listen.”
“SportsCenter on the Road” broadcast in front of a few thousand students and fans at the Fargodome from 6 to 8 a.m. on Saturday, prior to the NDSU football team’s Homecoming victory against Northern Iowa.
It was the first time NDSU and Fargo hosted “SportsCenter.” ESPN “College GameDay” broadcast from downtown Fargo in 2013 and 2014.