Imagine getting to speak with sports legends such as Stephen A. Smith, Kenny Albert, and Peter King, all within the same month. That is the experience a sports media student gets at Seton Hall University.
In the hyper-competitive sports media world, it is of the utmost importance that someone starting their journey understands the challenges that come with it. Seton Hall’s Center for Sports Media has welcomed a wide variety of guests that give advice about all aspects of the industry.
Jane McManus, the Executive Director of the Center for Sports Media, worked at ESPN for nearly 10 years, covering the NFL and women’s sports. McManus’ goal in choosing the guests was to make everyone in the crowd feel represented by a speaker.
“One event can’t show you all that there is about the sports media industry,” McManus said. “I put together a roster of events to get students to understand just how big the world is. Part of the reason people feel so connected to sports is that every part of our society takes place on the field.”
It only takes one look at the guests to see McManus’ plan come to fruition. Billie Jean King and Kenny Albert are from completely different parts of the sports world, yet they both provided great value to the listeners.
Despite almost everyone in the crowds intending to get into some part of sports media, the students vary on what they want their career to be. It’s significant for them to hear a variety of perspectives to ensure that they gain advice tailored to the profession they plan to enter in.
The aspiring play-by-play announcer could get a lot of insight from Kenny Albert. The aspiring journalists could gain knowledge from Stephen A. Smith and Peter King. The aspiring women in sports media could get guidance from a trailblazer in women’s sports, Billie Jean King.
“What I love is that I could look and see students and see the lights come on when it came to getting excited about play-by-play, sports writing, and the adventure of sports media,” McManus said. “It’s a fun job. You can see students realizing and clicking, oh my gosh, this is a really fun profession.”
Although it may sound like sunshine and rainbows, Stephen A. Smith and Peter King laid out the harsh truth.
Smith spoke about the competitiveness of sports media and how a large portion of the crowd won’t make it in the profession. King spent most of his speech discussing the ever-changing nature of journalism and how different it was when he was in college during the late 1970’s.
“You have no idea what this business will look like in 2033,” Peter King said.
King believes the business isn’t at its best due to the scarce number of opportunities available and how social media has changed the game. He believes that you must get your feet wet and do a bit of everything to prepare for the unknown.
Good friends will always tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Stephen A. Smith and Peter King acted as good friends to the students at Seton Hall.
McManus has been proud of the turnouts for the events, along with the strong energy and well-thought-out questions that the students consistently bring.
“Show up, represent your school,” McManus said. “That’s what makes me proud.”
Matt Soetebeer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.