Tell us about your current job and the path you took to get there.
I am a video producer for Pac-12 Networks. I travel to Pac-12 campuses and events such as football & basketball games, conference and NCAA Championships, and other events such as the NBA Draft to produce content for television and digital media. I am responsible for planning shoots, communicating with the schools, shooting, editing and interviewing student-athletes and coaches. My role is to produce content that serves both external (the schools) and internal stakeholders (different departments within Pac-12: digital department, studio, marketing, etc.).
After graduating from SSU, I got a job as a morning news producer for KSRO radio in Sonoma County. I produced the morning drive newscast, a three-hour show that aired every weekday, for about 8 months.
Around this time, I was accepted into the University of San Francisco Sport Management graduate program. Through this two-year master’s program, I was able to connect with many people in the industry that were instrumental in getting my foot in the door for my next two jobs.
Shortly after leaving KSRO radio and starting grad school, I was able to get a news department internship at NBC Sports Bay Area. Here I learned how sports talk shows (and pre and post-game shows) are produced. I turned this into a part-time job as a production assistant and I worked at CSN for about two years overall. I produced short segments, wrote highlights, created graphics for live shows, pitched ideas and assisted with the overall production of our shows.
After my first year at NBC Sports Bay Area, I got the opportunity to join the Pac-12 digital team as a part-time freelancer. This was a great opportunity for me to dive into the digital media space and learn how to produce content for all social media platforms. I quickly became a video producer and I worked on content from game highlights, to features, and everything in between. I also got to go in the field to cover events. I worked in this role for three years before being promoted to my current position.
How did your experiences at SSU help prepare you for your career?
My experiences at Sonoma State really laid the groundwork for my career in content creation. I did play-by-play for all of the men’s and women’s home basketball games for two years while I was at SSU. I also was able to serve as the news group leader for SSU-TV and I was a member of KSUN for 2 years. There is nothing better than getting hands on experience in content creation.
I didn’t know it at the time, but creating show rundowns with my friends about the things we’d talk about on our weekly sports radio show isn’t much different from the processes I learned about at NBC Sports or at Pac-12 in creating show rundowns.
It was great to be able to learn by trial and error, but also have fantastic resources such as Ed Beebout and Nate Campbell to give us feedback on our content. The Sonoma State Communications department gives students opportunities to dive into what they’re passionate about. It’s up to each student to make the most of those opportunities.
I was also lucky enough to work for the Sonoma State Athletic Association where I was able to lead a group of Communications students in an effort to create promotional and informational content about our sports teams.
These opportunities helped me realize what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about sports media. They also taught me how to become a better leader, and work in a group to achieve a common goal. It was also just a great experience in learning by trial and error. We would get to try something and then adjust and try to improve the product each time, which is exactly what I’m still doing today.
What are some of your favorite memories of your time at SSU?
My favorite memories at Sonoma State were sitting in the KSUN studio talking sports with my friends in our first experiences as “on-air personalities.” The memories of working with the rest of my SSU-TV group to create content that we thought was funny. I also loved getting paid to sit courtside at every SSU hoops game and call them with my parter, a middle school teacher, Tim Davidson.
I got to create content as my major. I was able to get the opportunity to try to create engaging, funny, informative content and get credit for it. I can’t believe that I was so lucky to have such a great college experience.
What advice would you give current Coms majors about their time as students?
My advice to current SSU Communications students would be to find out what you’re passionate about and then dive completely into it. It can be easy to just do the minimum, but then you’re not getting the most out of your degree. If you’re interested in video production, then try to learn all parts of the industry: writing, shooting, directing, on-air, etc. This will only help you have a more complete understanding of the field once you go into it professionally.
The most important thing you can do though is to start networking now. Like many fields, connections are EVERYTHING. Start reaching out to professionals in the industry via LinkedIn and try to schedule informational interviews to ask them about their experience in the industry and their jobs. Not only will this give you a better understanding of the field, but it will create different contacts at companies that you may want to work at in the future.