ESPN was on campus scouting for talent to feed the world’s largest sports machine.
With more than 4,000 employees, ESPN is everywhere in television, radio, Internet, retailing, publishing and as Tony Valentino, manager of technical recruitment, soon to be on your cell phone too.
Students listen to ESPN representatives in WNCP studio.
“We’re not just a 24-hour cable sports channel anymore,” Valentino said. “We’re a brand, the world’s biggest in sports.”
To feed the media conglomerates vast need, ESPN’s recruiters were looking for a few good technical people, and more than 20 students showed up Wednesday morning in WNCP-TV’s studios.
The recruiters, including Fred Brown, who’s in charge of all production recruitment and talent negotiations, also spoke to about 30 students in a combined section of Sports Journalism and Writing for the Media. Several UNCP students had interviews for jobs or internships scheduled later in the day.
Dr. Jamie Litty, chair of the Mass Communications Department, cultivated the relationship with ESPN since last spring and hopes the department can be a conduit for the flow of diverse talent and diverse perspectives from UNCP to the company.
“ Two of our graduates were flown up to Bristol, Connecticut, for job interviews last May, and although that ultimately didn’t pan out for them, it was an eye-opening experience for them to set foot on ESPN’s 100-acre campus. And one of them was liked enough that they asked him to get back in touch after he had a little more professional work experience.”
ESPN ’s Fred Brown with student
Litty said Valentino specifically asked for a setting that would be more intimate and more focused than an all-purpose, general interest career fair, where they attract more sports fans and scare off talented people who don’t live and breathe sports.
“We’re not just about sports,” Valentino emphasized Wednesday. “We’re about system engineers, technical analysts, creative services, studio operators, producers and editors.” And Brown interviewed journalism majors who did not necessarily know production, either.
Valentino, who has been with ESPN since its launch in 1979, offered this advice for students.
“It is extremely important for you, as students, to connect with the industry early on,” Valentino said. “Experiencing the stress and pressure of broadcasting is critical, and internships are valuable.”
ESPN has an internship program, and Valentino said, “we put a little pressure on our interns to see what they can do.”
UNCP student Demario Jones from Atlanta, Ga., was looking for career advice.
“I’m a freshman, so I’m looking at how to plan my undergraduate studies,” Jones said.
Broadcasting Instructor Mike DeCinti said training at UNCP is real world.
“What we stress here is that our students can do everything from produce on down,” DeCinti said. “We want to produce well rounded students who can make that first step into the working world.”
UNCP’s studio produces broadcast news and talk shows and live sports. WNCP-TV programming may be viewed on Time Warner cable channel 6 locally.
For more information about broadcasting or other mass communications programs at UNCP, please call 910.521.5723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.