Written By: Alex Kartman | @ajkartman
Director of Digital Sports Production & Instructor of TCOM
Ball State Sports Link
Sports Link hosted its first ever SL Alumni Day on September 14. 11 alumni visited campus and spoke with current Sports Link students.
Throughout the day, students were able to attend small group discussions with alumni before attending a moderated panel during the full group meeting in the evening.
The recent alumni brought their industry experience and advice to encourage students in Sports Link for the coming year.
“It’s an exciting time to work in athletics,” said Ryan Camden (2010), a former producer for Notre Dame Digital Media and current producer at WebStream Sports. “The digital media landscape is changing so quickly and is so vast, there are exciting opportunities.”
Other alumni reminded students how great their time in Sports Link will be.
“Know how lucky you are doing Sports Link,” said Joel Bragg (2012), an editor at NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis. “There are kids studying math in their dorm rooms and you’re here talking about sports“You’re not going to get rich doing this, but you might as well have fun.”
“Never say no to an opportunity,” ,” said Rick Johnston (2010), the voice of Taylor University athletics. “I did the first-ever gymnastics broadcast at Ball State. Doing that got me a job at West Point. If it sounds hard, do it.”
“You want to be a preditor [producer-editor],” Camden added. “You want to be a swiss army knife. What’s great about Sports Link is you get to do a little bit of everything.”
Tim Keane (2012) echoed what Camden said.
“When you get into the real world and know what every other position does, it makes your job easier and their jobs easier.”
“If you put the work in now, you’re going to find a job and succeed in this industry,” WebStream Sports producer Peter Loomis (2014) said.
Two alumni specifically shared how they directly applied their experiences in Sports Link to their current jobs.
Pat Boylan (2013), who works for the Indiana Pacers radio and television networks, but also expands his work beyond the games.
“I pitched a web show to the Pacers based on my experience on 3rd Down Chirp. The Pacers never had a show before, and now I’m one-man-banding it.”
Across town at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Katie Hargitt (2013) reports for IndyCar on NBCSN and for the series.
“I pitched a weekly web show to IndyCar, and now I’m writing and editing it.”
Current students used the day to connect and network with alumni, including dinner at Woodworth.
“What makes the Sports Link network so strong is that you don’t only have on-air or production people. Everyone helps each other and no one knows where they are going to end up,” James Rider (2010) said.
Camden continued, “There’s a great chance the person sitting next to you is going to have a really cool job. Stay friends!”
Every alumnus has found how to pursue his or her passions, from professional sports to college athletics to local news. One message they continued to repeat was the role of storytelling.
“What we do doesn’t matter about us,” Rider said. “It’s about telling someone else’s story. That’s what matters.”
Camden finished, “I don’t know where I’m going to be in 5 years, but I know I want to be telling a story and I hope it matters.”