You might have heard that the SJMC launched a new sports media concentration this fall, but did you know students are being taught by seasoned sports media professionals?
Associate professor Kevin Hull got a new title as the concentration rolled out — sports media lead. Other instructors include Greg Brannon, a former executive producer of TV broadcasting and digital media for the Carolina Panthers, and Manie Robinson, a two-time South Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.
“My hope is that students will never watch or read about sports the same after taking these classes,” Hull says. “I’ve already received lots of feedback that that’s exactly what is happening.”
Sports media classes have been available for years at the SJMC. Senior broadcast journalism major Rebecca Fair took as many as she could. She did play-by-play commentary for South Carolina football and covered the university’s women’s tennis beat for a semester.
“I have learned how to operate production cameras both in studio and on the field,” Fair says. “I have worked on actual sportscasts that have aired on TV, and I have commentated on multiple South Carolina sporting events.” She says Hull has had a major influence on her. “He is one of the most interesting, energetic and knowledgeable professors at this university,” she says. “Every student who has had him loves him.”
There are currently eight classes in the program, including Super Bowl Commercials, Sports Announcing and Multimedia Sports Storytelling. Sports Media and Society is one of the most popular classes in the SJMC. The 200-person class typically fills on the first day of registration and has an extensive waiting list.
Ava Ciavolino recently added the sports media concentration to her public relations degree. She took Multimedia Sports Storytelling with Robinson in the fall.
“Even through remote learning, he has found inventive ways to keep us engaged in the content,” Ciavolino says. “His style is very laid back and light-hearted which makes students feel encouraged to ask questions and lead discussions.” She said that the SJMC has prepared her to think harder and more creatively in a supportive and challenging atmosphere.
Alumni working in sports media across the nation give the new concentration a boost, too. ESPN SEC Network’s Alyssa Lang, ’15, has guest-lectured in classes to share about her career and the industry.
“Student demand is high, and faculty and administration are supportive of what we’re doing — so why not aim high?” Hull says. “I don’t see why we can’t be one of the top sports media programs in the country.”