On the Career Track
Moody College students turn sports media internships into professions
To say Kendra Chambers excelled at The University of Texas at Austin would be an understatement. In addition to earning a bachelor’s in communication studies, the sprinter from El Paso competed in track and field and became a four-time all-American and four-time Big 12 indoor champion — winning the 600-yard twice, as well as the 4x400-meter relay and distance medley relay.
But among Chambers’ biggest victories was as a student in the Moody College of Communication, where she took advantage of the hands-on opportunities to study sports media, including working at ESPN’s Longhorn Network.
At the network, Chambers was able to shadow staff and gain television experience that led to a position as a production assistant on the digital assets team after she graduated in 2013.
Chambers, a former interview coordinator for “Good Morning Texas” on Texas Student Television, now edits video, monitors audio and video streaming, updates articles, uploads images, writes bios, addresses digital projects for the Web and Longhorn Network app, and covers track and field events as an on-camera personality.
Chambers plans to continue her work for ESPN as she trains for the 2016 Olympics. She said working in sports media has been a dream come true.
“As an athlete I know I recognize it, but I know all sports fans do — admiring the excellence of a person who puts in the time and effort to make an almost impossible shot or block a goal,” Chambers said. “The drive inside that person’s heart comes out — and if I can cover that in the best way possible — it’s amazing.”
In its fourth year, ESPN’s program — which includes both internship and “shadowing” opportunities — has enabled Moody College of Communication students to apply their skills as storytellers in the field of sports media.
Since 2011, 25 interns from the university — most of whom come from the Moody College — have worked as part of the production or marketing staff on the burnt orange network.
Of those, eight have earned full-time entry-level positions inside the Longhorn Network, SEC Network or ESPN, with 10 others working in sports and media elsewhere.
As part of the program, students specialize in video production, editing, digital assets, marketing, journalism or business operations. In addition to interning at ESPN, students have interned for companies including NBC, YETI Coolers and the Texas Rangers.
“We’re very proud of our ability to mine talent, and the recent success of many interns suggests we’ve tapped into a valuable feeder system for the ESPN family of networks,” said Stacie McCollum, director of programming and acquisitions for the Longhorn Network. “We look for individuals who are passionate about sports, television, and who have a strong knowledge of The University of Texas.”
McCollum said students often earn credit for their internships, and the majority of positions are paid.
“In coming to Austin, (ESPN) knew they were going to a college town and could tap bright, motivated students looking for a challenge,” said Chris Plonsky, women’s athletic director and active member of the Texas Program in Sports and Media in the Moody College. “The students who intern can see it as part of building their curriculum so they can enter into a real marketplace, and ESPN is the best in the business — the gold standard.”
Banner photo credit to Mike Scott, the University of Rhode Island.
Senior Content Producer