JACKSON, Miss –Jackson State University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies students and faculty were hosted by Grind City Media and the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies for a Digital Sports Media Workshop last month.
Students participated in various sessions spanning brand marketing, internal broadcast operations, brand operations, partnership marketing, and community engagement. The workshop also included a human resources panel entitled “Leveraging Your College Experience for a Career in Professional Sports.”
“Our students received an intimate integrated media and marketing experience that is indicative of the experiential student opportunities that we create at Jackson State University,” said Acting President Dr. Elayne H. Anthony, who accompanied the students on the trip as chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. “The connections and advice they received will resonate with them long after they leave here in pursuit of their media careers.”
Students were also treated to a morning shoot-around with Memphis Grizzlies players and coaches in preparation for a game against the Denver Nuggets. Afterward, they were allowed to participate in a pre-game media presser where they could ask questions of several athletes.
“A major highlight for me was the opportunity to interview David Roddy and Desmond Bane, who are both on the active roster for the Memphis Grizzlies. As a college student, interviewing professional athletes is usually rare. So getting to do something like this early on was amazing,” shared Tianna Williams, a journalism and media studies major.
A senior, Williams, explained that she gained valuable insight from the workshop, including how to start her career and ways to be successful after graduation.
“I learned which careers I was fond of and which weren’t necessarily for me. It helped me gauge the many different departments available in the sports industry,” she said.
Williams, a native of Houston, said collaborations like the Digital Sports Media Workshop provide students with hands-on experience and show them they can achieve anything.
“It also gives us connections and helps us expand our network, which could ultimately help us get our foot in the door,” she said.
Grind City Media Sr. Editor, Contributor and Analyst Michael Wallace helped organize the shadowing opportunity for the JSU students. He described the partnership as mutually beneficial and essential for the growth of sports businesses and communications industries.
“It was rewarding and eye-opening for the JSU students and faculty to learn and experience alongside industry professionals with our digital media wing in a real-time, live game-day atmosphere,” Wallace said. “And the experience also allowed multiple departments with the Grizzlies franchise the chance to showcase our city, facility and resources while mentoring and recruiting the industry leaders of tomorrow.”
During the workshop, students also attended the Grizzlies vs. Nuggets basketball game, where they were seated in the media press row.
“It was a great opportunity for our students to see how internal and external communications are done within professional sports. The various career opportunities they were exposed to in one setting – a golden moment to meet and interact with employees with Grind City Media and the Memphis Grizzlies,” said Don Spann, assistant visiting professor of journalism and media studies at JSU.
“It was an experience that really resonated with our students and hopefully inspired them moving forward to work harder in their respective area of media concentration.”