Sports Media Center Closes Out Speaker Series

Story by Kyla Wright, Screenshots via ZOOM

As the Newhouse Sports Media Center Speaker series and entire semester came to a close, students digested a wealth of knowledge from both ends of the sports media industry. Students, alumni and faculty heard from author and WSJ sports reporter Jared Diamond ’10, CBS Sports’ Adam Schein ’99, and two panels: one of recent Newhouse grads in the sports industry and one of ESPN professionals.

Diamond, as many other sports journalists discovered his passion for writing and discussing sports in recognition that he couldn’t play, saying that he, “caught the bug early.” From making sports newsletters in elementary school to being the sports editor of his high school paper, he found himself at SU at WAER and the Daily Orange.

Jack Patel ’18, recognized the benefit of being a Newhouse alum, but understood he still is working his way through the industry. “You are starting at the bottom. My first week at ESPN, I wasn’t allowed to cut any [videos] on my own,” said Patel. “It’s frustrating, coming out of Syracuse with all of your skills and responsibilities, you have to be patient.”

As Diamond, Patel, and other alumni learned early to “say yes to everything,” they credit the Newhouse name and experiences for preparing them for the industry.

“I took my classes seriously, my work seriously, my prep seriously, that came from Newhouse and Syracuse University,” said Schein.

Less than two years post-grad, the members on the Young Alumni panel are still learning the industry and making connections all while navigating their careers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Erin Fish, G’18, stressed getting out of your comfort zone being the “best way to push you forward in your career.” Drew Carter ’19, has learned that even while he’s learning, those around him are, as well. “I am taken aback by how advanced things are at Newhouse compared to the real world,” said Carter. “When I was a student and things would go wrong, I would get angry; but I have realized that those mistakes happen a lot in the real world.”

Both Dakota Palmer G’19, and Carter are working to better themselves amid Coronavirus-related layoffs. Palmer, a broadcast associate at MLB, has been watching games, paying attention to what other producers have done as far as cuts, edits and styles. Carter has said that he’s going to be calling games on 2K with a friend to stay sharp, as if he’s on radio. Nate White ’18, is preparing for the post-Coronavirus sports industry. “Instead of being angry and feeling bad about this situation, which is easy to do, I am trying to focus on what I can do,” said White. “[I’m] using this time to get organized and be ready for when sports come back and the ‘boom’ happens.”

Even though ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit didn’t attend ‘Cuse, he expressed his longtime respect for the Orange, especially Newhouse as he’s worked with many Newhouse alumni in his career. “Syracuse has got to be the strongest school in the industry, so if you are a student there, congratulations.”

ESPN’s Bill Bonnell ’85, and Jim Gaiero ’95 both gave students direct advice and points to remember in their careers. Bonnell noted the importance of being able to produce, direct and tell stories on the fly, and Gaiero reminded students that we’re all journalists at heart, “no matter what role what you do in sports television, you still need to answer the questions, who, what where, why when. It doesn’t matter who you are, you effect how the audience gets those answers.”

Herbstreit went on to recommend that students “study people you respect,” especially those interested in play-by-play, “there is nobody better than Mike Tirico.”

Closing out the year, Herbstreit likely has the words that graduates, continuing students and professionals alike need to hear, “you are going to have forks in the road along the way and you have no idea what the right answer is. As a business major, I had economic stability versus my passion,” said Herbstreit. “Always follow your heart, following money will always be a dead-end. Find something you have passion for, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”