By Beth Werge (MSJ15)
Nearly a dozen MSJ students in Medill’s Graduate Sports Program spent an entire day in May at ESPN’s sprawling headquarters in Bristol, Conn. It was a full-throttle immersion experience that afforded students the opportunity to meet, mingle and be mentored by some of the scores of alumni who work for the sports and entertainment giant.
The day kicked off with the students sitting in on a taping of the network’s popular radio show, Mike & Mike. Afterward, co-host Mike Greenberg (BSJ89) chatted with the students, sharing the story of his career trajectory and offering advice about breaking into modern sports media.
“This is a really exciting time to be in sports journalism,” Greenberg said. “But make no mistake about it, your path is going to be very different than mine. The world of sports media is just different.”
Following the show, SportsCenter producer Etan Harmelech (WCAS05, MSJ06) led a tour of the main buildings on the 700-acre ESPN campus, allowing students to visit other show sets and see behind-the-scenes operations of everything from the digital centers to the state-of-the-art SportsCenter studio.
Lunch on campus was spent picking the brains of a collection of alumni who work behind the scenes in a variety of roles at ESPN. The lunch group included:
- Elida Witthoeft (BSJ79) — Senior Coordinating Producer
- Mike Diesenhof (COMM91) — Producer
- Aimee Crawford (MSJ96) — Senior Editor, ESPN the Magazine
- Joe DeMartino (BSJ06) — Associate Editor (social media)
- Delena Turman (BSJ09) — Associate Producer
- Cody Dunlap (BSJ12) — Production Assistant
- Jon Rosenberg (BSJ13) — Programming Coordinator
- Lisa Carter (MSJ13) — Production Assistant
Following lunch, students engaged in another Q&A with a group of on-air talents, including SportsCenter anchor Randy Scott (BSJ04), SportsCenter anchor and NBA Tonight host Cassidy Hubbarth (BSJ07), Business Reporter Darren Rovell (SOC00) and Adam Caplan of NFL Insider.
The day concluded with a dinner where students and alums mingled in a more relaxed setting. Alumni guests included:
- Antoine Lewis (BSJ89, MSJ90) — Coordinating Producer
- James Quintong (BSJ97) — Fantasy Games Editor at ESPN.com
- JuJu Kim (BSJ13) — ESPN Magazine and Website Associate Editor
- Elizabeth Fierman (IMC15) — Manager, Events & Marketing
Students said they appreciated the interaction with alumni that the trip afforded them.
“The trip wasn’t just a tour,” said Scott Guthrie (MSJ15). “Thanks to Medill’s vast alumni network, we had exclusive behind-the-scenes access and were able to speak with everyone from producers to on-air talent.”
They also marveled at the scope of their access.
“It was a great immersion experience,” said Hannah Beery (MSJ15). “We got to see the inner workings of the major leader in sports entertainment and journalism as well as engage with former Medill students who were in our places not too long ago.”
And the alumni said they enjoyed having an opportunity to give back in some small way to their alma mater.
“Those of us who have had long careers and have had all the breaks we could ask for – it’s important that we help the people coming up behind us to keep our craft alive,” said Witthoeft. “We need to pay it forward.”