• Devin Abell

SPM 101 Final Blog Post: Future Career & Those Who've Influenced Me

Photo courtesy of theathletic.com

After a semester in my SPM 101, I have learned a lot of about the sports industry and what I potentially want to pursuit as a career in the near future.

During my time within the course, I spent months analyzing my interests and strengths and what I would best be suited for in the industry. I have come to the conclusion the I want to be a social media manager for a professional sports team

I enjoy creating content whether its writing, video, etc... and using it to enhance the viewership/readership experience. I like creating and capturing moments that spark joy or thought in others and keep them coming back to something that also brings me so much pleasure.

I also love the interaction social media has compared to print or other forms of communication that is only one way. I'm planning on finding internships and positions that can help me reach this goal of mine in the future.

Along the way during this journey I have also received wise words from people in the field of sports media that have influenced me in career goals as well as how to conduct myself as professional.

Photo via @TheBlueMare on Twitter

One of the people who have influenced me the most is Colts.com writer Heather Lloyd as she has shown me part of what I want to do in my career. Lloyd's job is something I’m really interested in because she gets to write stories that are beyond football.

She gets to go inside players and coaches lives to see who they are off the gridiron. Diving into their interests and hobbies and looking at who they are as an individual.

One idea that she said that will definitely stick with me as move on into the professional world is that players like to be treated like they’re human too- not just athletes. Mind blowing isn't it?

Photo via @MarcusSmith_ on Twitter

Another person who has influenced me is current Senior Director of Talent Relations at FOX Sports Marcus Smith as he put into perspective how important it is to be team focused in this industry.

Smith's job consists of finding talent for on-air talent for FOX Sports, which requires watching a lot of tape on former players/coaches in post game or packaged interviews. He told the class to always be cognate of the talent around you, and see if you can find a way to get them apart of your team.

He also spoke about how relationships in the industry are a two-way street. He's had players in the past who wouldn't help him out with interviews or a quote and who were terrible in post game interviews ask him for help with getting their foot in the door in the industry.

Smith reminded us to always be helpful when you can, because you never know when the favor you gave someone will be returned to you in the future.

Beyond those who I've personally had the chance to talk with, their are others in the industry that inspire me through their actions and work.

Photo courtesy of www.awfulannouncing.com

One of these professionals are NFL Insides Reporter Ian Rapoport. He has for been THE guy for all breaking news and updates for the last decade on social media.

He’s reliable and efficient with his work, allowing his followers to get their much needed information quickly. He's a hallmark at NFL Network and is an essential part of the NFL experience for all die hard fans of the sport.

Rapoport started his career for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger in 2004 covering the Mississippi State Bulldogs. He then went on to cover the Alabama Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban.

Following that job, he then applied for a job with the Boston Herald to cover Bill Belichick as he did with Saban- two coaches who are difficult with the media.

He got the job and served as a Patriots beat reporter for the Boston Herald for three seasons before joining with NFL Network in 2012.

Rapoport's background proves why he gets all the inside information he does because he had to work with such difficult coaches in the past. It shows that he has had to build good relationships with coaches and organization to earn their trust.

His journey demonstrates the path that I will need to take if I want to be a notable in the sports social media industry.

Another person who has influenced me in the professional field is none other than the hottest man in Sports Media- Stephen A. Smith.

Now in comparison to Ian Rapoport, these two are polar opposites in personality. Nonetheless, he still has the same work ethic and reputation that Rapoport has.

Smith worked his way up in the industry, all they way from the Winston-Salem Journal at his alma-mater, to hosting his own show on ESPN in First Take. In between all this, Smith worked his tail off doing all the nitty and gritty grunt work throughout the years (with an UNGOLDY amount of jobs to list), putting in over two decades of work to get where he is now.

Photo via @stephenasmith on Twitter

His determination is something everyone should strive for no matter what goals they are pursuing in life.

Above all, the best thing Smith has taught me- is how to always have fun with what you do.

Sometimes I get tired of talking about sports since I talk about it ALL the time with people. However, every time I watch Smith, he proceeds to draw me in and entertain me. Even if it's something I'm tired of hearing about or have no interest in at all. He has an engaging personally that sucks me into whatever he's ranting about at any given moment.

Smith is the leading sports personally in the industry and I hope to one day have the opportunity to work with him.

In conclusion, this course has been the most helpful course I've had so far through collegiate studies. It has help me develope as a student as well as professional in the field of sports media.

I know if it wasn't for this class and my excellent teacher Ross Hollebon, I would never started this blog and have the skills and knowledge to be able to confidently began my journey into the sports industry.

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