ECSBS’ Sports Journalism Panel Event Recap
by Trace Salvato, Journalism, 2014
Emerson College Sports Business Society welcomed a stellar panel of professionals from the journalistic field on Monday night. The panel included David Carty, Nick Coit, Marc D’Amico, Adam Jones, and Frank Shorr. Emerson student Lauren Cortizo moderated the event, posing a question and answer session by the panelists and the 40 or so students that attended.
Along with Carty was another former Lion, Nick Coit, who has served as a sports producer at Fox 25 News and is currently a sports anchor at WABI-TV5 in Bangor, Maine.
Marc D’Amico is a writer and reporter for Celtics.com and also heads the website’s operations.
Adam Jones is the host of ESPN Boston Radio and the Patriots.com postgame show.
Frank Shorr is a broadcast sports professor at Boston University and was the Executive Producer at WHDH in Boston, where he won eight Emmy Awards.
The panel was undoubtedly impressive, and they had a lot to tell the aspiring students. One of the most pressing questions for young people looking for a foot in the door in the journalism field is simple really: are there any jobs left? With the common conception going around that print journalism is dying, some students believe their chances to get a job after graduating are equivalent to a snowball’s chance in hell. Those journalists would be delighted to hear that our panelists don’t believe that jobs are as uncommon as they seem to be.
Frank Shorr immediately addressed the question as it was posed by saying, “Don’t listen to anybody who tells you there aren’t any jobs.”
The panel went on to elaborate about their breaks into the field and how they got the jobs they have today. It was agreed that students should put themselves in position to take advantage of opportunities.
David Carty said it best, “There’s no real ‘one big break’ that you get. You make it yourself.”
Marc D’Amico added, “Once you get that first thing on your resume, it leads to the next, then the next.”
The keys that all of the panelists stressed were the importance of building resumes, making connections, and impressing people with your hard work. Not just hard work, but quality work. All of the panelists agreed that quality was the most important thing.
Shorr said that as a professor and veteran in the field, he can tell if a writer has what it takes to be on air or published within the first paragraph of their writing, and he hammered home the fact that you must be a gifted writer in order to make it, regardless of your other skills.
Shorr and the others definitely did not dismiss the other talents that journalists of the younger generation tend to have, though.
They all encouraged journalists to be tech-savvy, along with their writing skills. The discussion of Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media sites and tools came up and all the panelists deemed them very significant to success, especially early on.
They all believe that a reporter who can write a story, alongside some video, an up-to-date Twitter account, and other multimedia mediums will have an immediate advantage over the likes of an older, for lack of a better word, stubborn, reporter who might not utilize these extra tools. Basically, they encouraged being active and multi-dimensional.
Another theme that seemed to over-arch the discussion was that it seems as though journalists have to be patient. Every young sports journalist has that dream job, whether it is anchoring for ESPN, or sideline reporting at football games, but nobody gets those jobs before taking small steps.
Shorr had a good analogy for this idea. He said, “You’re not going from Emerson to ESPN. That’s where Walla Walla, Washington comes in.”
What he’s saying is nobody is going to land the big job everybody kills for right away. You have to take the baby steps and go through the motions, work for some smaller markets, and all the while become better at what you do from the experience along the way.
Some things that your professors haven’t taught you that these guys really thought were important include being entertaining, having fun, and enjoying what you’re doing.
Regarding the excitement of the job, D’Amico says, “If the fire burns out, something’s wrong, and you need to get out.”
For all the hopeful writers, reporters, anchors, producers, and whatever else, the panelists on Monday night had answers for it all.
Shorr wrapped up the panel with this comment, “We’re bringing people the biggest stories, the sound bytes that put smiles on faces. We can be there. It’s the greatest thing in the world.”