Posted Aug. 5, 2020
Article by Lili Kramer, senior public relations major. Top photo by senior instructor Scott Farrand. Reprinted from InterCom
Until now, the J-school has offered a limited number of classes for students planning to pursue a career in sports media, but assistant professor Kevin Hull has helped develop a new concentration that will change that. "Sports is the fastest growing media," Hull says. "Some of our most recent alums are working in sports jobs that didn't even exist five years ago." This concentration will allow students to follow their interest in sports media as well as prepare them for real-world jobs in this field.
For nine years after college, he worked as a news reporter and television sportscaster. During his interview at South Carolina, Hull was asked what class he would most want to teach. Without hesitation, he responded “a sports media class,” and that’s when the ball started rolling. In 2016, Hull was one of the first two people to teach that class. “We were turning away students at the door,” he says. “That’s when the school realized people are really interested and excited.”
Several other schools offer a sports journalism concentration, Hull says. But the sports media concentration at South Carolina is different in that it's open to all SJMC majors, including advertising and visual communications.
Specialized classes covering topics such as social media, gender and race, and sports campaigns will give students a competitive edge in the job market. "My goal is to have at least one class specific to every major in the J-school," he says.
Brett Williams, a recent university graduate now working as a play-by-play broadcaster at Western Kentucky University, is also thrilled about the new addition to the J-school. “Our school is already in great shape in so many other areas of sports media, but this concentration can only help that cause, and it can make our graduates even better prepared to excel in the industry,” Williams says. “I chose South Carolina versus a school with a sports journalism concentration because of the holistic journalism approach that has been South Carolina’s tenet for a long time.”
Hull plans to implement a much more hands-on approach. “Getting that real-world experience is something I wish I would have gotten and I will make sure our students have,” he says. “When they leave my class they can walk into a newsroom and be ready to go.”
Sports is no longer just about the athlete. The entire production of a game relies heavily on those behind the scenes and on the cameras producing content for massive audiences. “We need to paint this industry garnet and black,” Williams says.