Rolling Out Spartan-Green Carpet for ESPN

Posted on: October 29, 2013

whitten1Nothing makes sports journalism instructor Lori Anne Dickerson more excited than great opportunities for her students. When she received a call from ESPN staff inquiring about coming to CAS next Monday, November 4, to discuss future career opportunities with ESPN, she was ecstatic.

Why did ESPN select our sports journalism program among the hundreds of university programs around the country? In this particular case, ESPN staff were impressed with one of Dickerson's former students, Kevin Marn, "a high-performing content associate," who interned with the network and was then hired as a full-time employee. Marn helped put ESPN in touch with Dickerson, who heads up the CAS sports journalism program.

ESPN staff Chris Maier, a Spartan alumnus, and colleague Jill Ann Bouffard, will spend most of the day at CAS in small career conversations with five students at a time in 15-minute sessions. Students had to apply with their resumes in advance to participate in the career conversations.

More than 300 students applied over a two-week period for 120 openings to meet with the ESPN team. Those accepted will participate in an advance training session this week to ensure they are well prepared to present their strengths to the ESPN team. Internships and entry-level positions are usually as assistants with production or statistics and analysis.

Maier and Bouffard are particularly interested in students who have sports journalism experience through internships or employment that involved daily reporting responsibilities. They also note that they are most interested in meeting students who are effective storytellers, have at least a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and demonstrated leadership abilities through involvement in student groups and volunteer activities.

Fortunately for our sports journalism students, there are numerous opportunities to gain experience in the sports media field both on and off campus. CAS offers internships with WKAR's Current Sports, the Big Ten Network and more than 100 other sports media outlets across the country, as well as access to several sports-related student groups.

Catch ESPN at MSU on November 4

To get a better sense of our sports journalism program, Maier and Bouffard also will attend the JRN 218 Sports Media I class taught by School of Journalism Professor Sue Carter, and have lunch with a group of faculty and students.

Later in the day, students across campus who are interested in careers with ESPN are invited to attend a question and answer session moderated by WKAR Current Sports host Al Martin. Martin is also an alumnus of the CAS sports journalism program. Maier and Bouffard will join Martin to answer student questions for an hour in WKAR Studio A.

Following the open Q & A session, the ESPN team will join members of the Future Leaders in Sports & Entertainment (FLISE) and the Michigan State Chapter of the Association of Women in Sports Media to wrap up the visit.

Anything to do with the sports industry is highly competitive and that's definitely the case in sports journalism as well. However, CAS has built an excellent reputation in graduating students who have risen to hold top reporting and management positions throughout the industry.

Faculty such as Dickerson and Carter, as well as an enthusiastic and supportive department chair like Lucinda Davenport, deserve a tremendous amount of credit for always pushing the envelope creatively and taking advantage of every opening to help our students succeed.

As you can guess, I am every bit as excited to welcome our guests from ESPN to campus next week and look forward to rolling out that Spartan-green carpet for them and our highly talented students. Who knows, I may try to sneak in for an interview myself!

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