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What is game day like for sports journalists?
Welcome to Part 1 in the 2-part “Sideline Stand up” Series. In this episode, we’re going to experience a day in the life, hour by hour, of Courtney DuPont, a Multi-Media Sports Journalist at Jersey Sports Zone, so you can decide if this is a career you can see yourself doing!—small spoiler alert: IT’S A LOT to juggle but in the best way possible! super exhilarating & rewarding and fulfilling if you’re passionate about telling stories.
Mat [00:00:57] Welcome to part one and two part sideline standup series. In this episode we’re going to experience a day in the life hour by hour of Courtney DuPont, a multimedia sports journalist at Jersey Sports Zone so you can decide if this is a career you can see yourself doing. Small spoiler alert it’s a lot to juggle in the best way possible. Super exhilarating and rewarding and fulfilling. If you’re passionate about telling stories in the sports world let’s get right into the day.
Krista [00:01:35] It’s a Saturday morning at 8 a.m. in Phillipsburg New Jersey and Courtney is Up and Atom after only five hours of sleep from the night before. Fridays and Saturdays are her long days since those are the days most high school sports take place. But that doesn’t stop her from getting her pump. She has a big breakfast. Head to the gym by 9 a.m. and is on the road by 11:00 a.m…
Mat [00:01:56] Today on the agenda. Courtney’s covering a high school football game. Then she’s producing editing proofreading and publishing her footage as a highly produced highlighted video of today’s game.
Krista [00:02:07] Before the day and she’s selecting next week’s Jersey Sports zones game ball award lets me Courtney and learn more about what she does.
Courtney [00:02:15] Courtney Elizabeth DuPont. I’m a multimedia journalist for Jersey Sports Zone. Jersey sports zone is a startup company. We started at the Shaw conference in New Jersey. Obviously we expanded last year for our first year of full state coverage. I am the ambassador for the North West part of the state. And what we do is we go to sporting events. We shoot the entire event conduct interviews and then we shoot standups for ourselves all in vans and. We produce the content and the night of shooting and push it out social media wise and on an online on YouTube and on our website as well.
Krista [00:02:53] Back to the day. So it’s 9:00 a.m. and Courtney’s at the gym. She told us go into the gym and doing her hair and makeup afterwards a certain way is an essential part of her routine as an on camera reporter.
Courtney [00:03:05] I need to be confident if I’m going to put myself on camera if I don’t go to the gym I get my self-confidence goes way down. And it’s just something that you know it makes me feel good. And my advice to anybody if you are going to be on camera you need to feel good about yourself. So do you need to do to feel good about yourself? Again with the confidence thing I’d like to have curly hair and have nice eyeshadow on if I want to be on camera.
Krista [00:03:27] I just hear a lot and articles and classes at Rutgers and just really everywhere that like personal brand is it is a thing and establishing your personal brand what was your like. Did you have an experimental phase in establishing your personal brand have you established it yet.
Courtney [00:03:42] I did change my hair probably 50 times. I have been blonde…I have hombre, always me trying to please myself like how I looked on camera I wanted to look at the Girls On TV you know and I just I couldn’t figure out really how to do that is to do straight hair very clearly over you know time curly hair is a weird way to go on camera you need volume you just need to do it but I haven’t fully found my style I don’t think I think I have like my makeup down like I do Brown eyeshadow and I have a little bit of mascara and blush and that’s it that’s what I do yeah but the yeah the hair is something that I’m still so working on but definitely Curly.
Mat [00:04:23] another way Courtney makes herself feel confident is by making herself laugh and not taking herself too seriously. She thinks too much about her performance or what she’s going to say in the moment. She said it tends to mess her up. That’s why doing your homework is important.
Courtney [00:04:39] Yeah you had to do the stats research and then you can throw up a big number like I had a kid who rushed for over 300 yards that night. That’s you know it’s a huge number to put up for a high school student. But I am definitely more of like the I had a kid from Hillsboro who is. He’s very little guy but he’s a great running back is really explosive. Really good. Good kid. And everyone on this team was calling him the best kept secret in New Jersey. Wow I thought that was a great line. Use that in my standups. That’s gold. That’s it. And everyone fed up. Oh yeah. He’s the best kept secret. Just something good like that. You can say. It grabs people attention more than the numbers. That’s my opinion. A lot of people love the stats.
Krista [00:05:17] When we do sports they just they’re out like these random numbers
Mat [00:05:23] this is the first time some guy ran this amount of time in two weeks ever. It’s insane.
Courtney [00:05:30] The whole thing is they’re trying to bring you something that you don’t know which is but like you know a lot of them are outdated. A lot of them you just don’t care. Right. Tell me something new
Mat [00:05:42] It’s now 11:00 a.m. and Courtney is on the road for her hour long drive to the game at Bishop bar high school in Edison New Jersey when she packs her car. She consults her checklist to make sure she’s got everything she needs like her camera batteries microphone laptop chargers makeup bag backpack etc… She arrives at the field a half hour before the game starts so she can get ready to go before kickoff.
Mat [00:06:07] so obviously between 12 and 230 there’s hundreds of games going on. Yeah. How do you choose which game you’re going to?
Courtney [00:06:16] so this is big for Jersey sports zone and we are 100 percent free for anyone who wants to see our videos. We are run by sponsors so our sponsors drive our priority coverage and that’s where we go. If there’s not a huge match up like say there’s a gigantic game we have to be at that game. There’s no way we’re going to miss that game. But if it’s a day where it’s like OK well kind of all the same level we’re going to go to a sponsored school because you know what if it’s to a sponsored school at the same time. How do you choose there’s multiple multiple journalists so like so you get assigned to it.
Mat [00:06:46] so do you get assigned in that case or do you get to choose.
Courtney [00:06:51] I get to choose. My job is so not normal like so good we get so much freedom and picking where we go. And you know it’s our judgment. My first year probably wasn’t as good at making the calls of what was going to be the best match up as far as sponsored schools go. But after a year like you kind of now just it’s again being prepared knowing your area things like that.
Mat [00:07:11] so I want to talk about your setup process. When you first get there from unloading you’re doing this all by yourself. What is that sort of process looking like there?
Courtney [00:07:20] It’s not as bad as you think it is. I you know I take my tripod and my camera bag which has my mike and my actual camera in it and all the batteries and then I have my backpack that is like a must. I tried to do the purse thing as a female as a girl personally that I look professional backpack is the way to go. It goes on your back and you don’t have to worry about it. It has my laptop my charger and any paperwork that I have on the teams just like notes that I made for myself. I get there I kind of like put them in a place where they’ll be safe because I’m not going to stand by them you know and then take out the camera plug in batteries. Usually I set up my tripod but I will I don’t use my tripod to shoot I’m all freehand. So I make my way over to the field find the best place to stand according to like the sun making sure that you know there’s no clear on the camera or anything like that. And then I just you know hang out talk to some of the players or coaches if there’s any storylines that I need to find. That’s when I kind of figure out you know what’s what are you asking them just like you know hey what’s up. Like you know what you think about today’s match. You know small talk. Got to try to get the juicy stuff out there.
Krista [00:08:21] if it’s raining she’s got waterproof covers for all of her equipment and a Jersey Sports Zone rain jacket to stay as dry as possible after she’s all set up and spoken to the players noon rolls around and it’s time for the game to start.
Courtney [00:08:37] I have to start with opening shots so you kind of have to get the team running out on the field if they’re key player get a real close up you know nice shot of him so you can maybe take a still from there and put it as the feature image in the you on the YouTube account or on the whole article. The opening shots usually I’m right with the team because it’s annoying I guess for the kids but I am right up in their faces am like I need to see this the sweat dripping down your face is what those opening shots look like. So I got my opening shots kind of nice pretty you know artistic type shots which is cool and then follow the ball for the next hour or two hours however long they don’t take the camera off the ball and I usually shoot in 30 second intervals just so I can separate them when something good happens. If I get a great shot of you know I don’t know someone scored a goal right after that I shoot the scoreboard so that when I go back in I can find where the goal is and keep track of everything.
Krista [00:09:31] So can you give any advice on people who are just starting out that are apprehensive to like get up get all up in there and you have any tips on that.
Courtney [00:09:40] It’s intimidating. Yeah even though they’re high school kids like you know a lot of them. Yeah I mean they know that you’re supposed to be there. Like you we get media credentials like they know that you’re media you’re holding a giant camera. Just have the confidence you need to walk in just be confident you know if anyone says anything to you just explain it to him like Oh I you know I work for so-and-so, you’re not doing anything wrong. That’s what people need to understand when you’re doing that you’re not doing anything wrong and you’re going to be okay. And if you are doing something wrong, somebody will tell you. Yeah. You just see you get out of the way at the end of the day. Yeah.
Mat [00:10:12] So. So is this game exciting. Do you remember?
Courtney [00:10:16] the bishop or Carter right. Yes. It was exciting because of the matchup. So kids from Carter right go to Bishop Park. My mother went to Carter at my dad is from Carter right. But he went to Bishop Park.
[00:10:28] Oh yeah. He’s come in. Yeah.
Courtney [00:10:32] It’s a competitive environment because the two teams obviously the kids all know each other and right. So that was why this game was exciting. And then on top of that Bishop Bar was having a really good start to their season and Carter it put it put a smack down.
Mat [00:10:49] so do you ever get like caught up in the game in the action and like get distracted from your job. Oh yeah. No I feel like I would do that a lot if I was in your job.
Courtney [00:10:58] You have to just you have to watch the game through the camera so that when you’re exciting you’re looking through the camera and you know if you move or something at least you’re moving with the camera. That’s the whole. The main thing and that was hard to do at the beginning because you get so excited for these kids because they do like amazing things and especially if it was like You know my hometown Pberg, my brother played for Pberg, so I you know I had some connections. You know I wanted them to do well so when I was shooting them I think the first you tend to like stop shaking. I just said relax.
Mat [00:11:29] the game starts and Courtney is running all over the place following the ball getting her steps in. Courtney has her phone on so she can live tweet. Keep track of what’s going on at other games and stay in touch with the other MMJs.
Krista [00:11:43] Have you ever had to leave a game that you were shooting to cover something that was like breaking.
Courtney [00:11:49] I think I’ve had another area I think I’ve had a couple of times where I kind of in the first year didn’t pick the right game and we kind of figured out like how this game sucks like by the end of the first quarter and I take off and I go to a good game. Oh yeah. Yeah. So you say if you get enough footage of a game that is like a blowout you can leave early. I mean that you’re only going to show those first you know what four touchdowns. You don’t need more than that. So yeah sometimes I leave.
[00:12:16] Interesting I didn’t know that I thought you would have to stay the entire day.
Courtney [00:12:20] I mean if it’s a blowout. Interviews aren’t really worth that much people are you know you’re not going to get too many clicks reviews from that. It’s worth it to go to the competitive game that is exciting people want to know about.
Krista [00:12:30] So the game’s still going on and it’s important for Kourtney with her canon to get shots of the star players in action not just for the highlights but for the gram, you know the game’s over around to 30 and Kourtney scoring some postgame interviews for the highlights and social media content. She interviewed the star player asking how he thinks the team can improve what his thoughts of the game were and things like that.
Mat [00:12:50] the relationship between the reporter and the interviewee is very important because you need the scoop. You need the juicy stuff. And if you take the time to become a familiar friendly face people will open up to you more like Kourtney said earlier.
Krista [00:13:04] who else are you trying to snag for interviews.
Courtney [00:13:07] At that point maybe it would be like the quarterback because obviously you’re throwing the ball. A coach could be you could be interviewed like I said before though. I think that high school coaches tend to give you the same responses all the time. Like I get it. You have you know responsibility and you have to be loyal to your school and you want to slip up which I totally understand. But you know I need some personality and emotion definitely. So that’s where the pivot is going.
Mat [00:13:29] like before the game with a coach and say.
Courtney [00:13:33] Yeah I have to. I usually talk to coaches before the game like days before the game. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of times you asked for the rosters and things like that because no change from your obviously from year to year. Different kids coming out of the program. So I usually email them.
Krista [00:13:49] you said you knew you were recently building relationships with new athletic directors can you talk about why that relationship is so important.
Courtney [00:13:58] They are in charge of like all the media and all their athletes like what those kids do so it’s like vital that you know those people. And when you walk onto the field and the A.D. says like you know the AD acknowledges that Okay you’re good to go. It’s kind of like nobody else is going to interfere with what you’re trying to do. It’s kind of like a universal okay from the high school level at.
Krista [00:14:18] now Courtney is working on her standups for post-production summarizing the game and throwing in key facts in a very short amount of time. This isn’t a season finale of Game of Thrones she’s got 15 seconds to give you everything you need to know about what just took place.
Courtney [00:14:32] The whole point of the stand up’s, the way we do stand ups, we have wraparound sound which is like you do a standup where you introduce your highlights that you’re going to do and then you know I’m corny DuPont from Carter at high school you’re watching Jersey sports zone. So that’s just the wrap around sounds those ones are kind of easy because you just can’t get an industry wide term or is that something that you guys can.
Courtney [00:14:52] wrap around sound. Oh yeah. Its industry. And it just kind of a nice way to. Package your highlights just so you know you have a face to the voice that’s talking to you over the highlights in the contract.
Krista [00:15:04] and you have that before you run the highlight like yeah start.
Courtney [00:15:08] Yeah. So you know like Hillsborough sees my face a lot. I’m you know they kind of know who I am and that helps with the relationships to where you walk in and like oh it’s Courtney from Jersey sports zone and it helps. And then the other stand up is a teaser that we do, we’ll do this for football because football is just where we get the most clicks and views and it’s kind of a summer maybe like a summary of what happened in the game. I had a game at another game and Cartwright actually this past weekend it was Colonia at Carter ad and it was Carter its first game on their new stadium that they built. So the first home game a kid on Colonia was committed to Alabama and then obviously Colonial One yeah. So there was like a lot going on but in the standup I kind of had to incorporate all those facts in a 15 second standup so is something to a little along the lines of Courtney DuPont Carter High School opening day for the Carter Ramblers. They took on Colonia who defeated them. I think it was 47 7. Antonio Alfano for Alabama Comet had an outstanding defensive performance. That’s the teaser so you kind of had to Figure out a way to sound natural and get a lot of information a very short period of time.
Mat [00:16:21] that happens over time then you just yeah that’s you.
Courtney [00:16:25] Yeah for sure.
Krista [00:16:26] and that usually takes you what like half hour.
Courtney [00:16:30] I’ll do it a couple times too. Just so that I know it like the one you know obviously you’re doing live it’s different you get one shot and that’s it. But I’m fortunate that I can do as many times I want to I can I wouldn’t say it would ever be longer than a half hour.
Krista [00:16:43] after she shoots or standups and feel satisfied she packs up and gets home around 6:00 p.m. Six thirty. And right about now it’s full speed ahead for Courtney.
Mat [00:16:51] Now on this particular day she only spent about four and a half hours to finish everything but that’s when everything goes on hundred percent according to plan. No traffic getting home no emergencies with the other M D Nope Adobe Premiere crashing. Things like that. Do you relax? Like do you like take like two seconds.
Courtney [00:17:10] No I do not. I know there’s people deal. I’m just like a workhorse like you know like I said. I want to get them out. It’s my personal belief that kids are waiting for me like they want to see and they can’t wait to see the video. So I try to get it done as timely as possible so I get home and my parent’s ales. You want to get a drink. You know like relax eat some dinner I’m like Yeah Afterwards I don’t have time right now. So I get in and I import all my things onto my computer. I have a labeled folder on my desktop already date and the two teams I played where I was then I have to import all of the things from my folder into Adobe Premiere find all the clips that are worse you know showing the highlight whether it be scoring sacks interceptions whatever it may be, Line them up on my timeline fill in my standups my wrap around sounds standups and then I start I lower the audio on the highlight clips so that I can do my voiceovers over top of them so I put them on the line I do my voiceovers on my camera as I’m watching my plays go through so that I can kind of narrate them. It’s not a play by play type of voice over It’s more of like whoa did you see that cash, that was unbelievable.
Krista [00:18:26] you’re doing that at home while you’re yes interesting.
Courtney [00:18:30] Yeah. So I have like a desk, sometimes I do it in our kitchen. But yeah. So I watch my things I do my voiceovers and then I put do the same process I put my voiceovers on my desktop and then I put it into Adobe Premiere. Then I have to start doing graphic things. We have a watermark for dirty sports on that we put in the top right corner then I oh and I have to edit all the videos as well. I mean all the interviews as well. So I cut off all those interviews make sure all the uhms and stutters and all make the kid look really good. So I do that and then I had to start doing graphics so the watermark goes in. We have a stinger that we put at the end of the videos that kind of says you know if you want to be a sponsor for Jersey sport zone like this how you go about it. So I put that in if it’s a sponsored school which Carter wright is, I put their billboard at the beginning. Cartwright high school coverage of Carter wright high school was brought to you by Candezino restaurant Carter wright location coming soon. So that goes before the video it’s like five seconds and then then I had to do lower thirds for everyone that I interviewed.
[00:19:28] what is that.
Courtney [00:19:29] Lower third it is like the graphic that comes out of the bottom the screen it says the name. And like yeah it tells you that wide receiver had however many touchdowns or whatever.
Mat [00:19:40] what Program do you use for that.
Courtney [00:19:44] I have made templates for everyone so that it’s easy for everyone to use in my company. But I made them on Adobe after Effects so I think motion graphics are awesome yeah. So I fill in my templates with whatever kit I interviewed. Make a graph for myself with my stand up and then I had to make an end of the game graphic which gives you the score. Both teams what their mascots are what their names are what conference they played on and then any sort of stat line that is interesting is at the bottom just kind of a cool thing that you can know about the game. And then once all the graphics are done all the voiceovers are in. I put a music track on the bottom kind of for like just background noise makes the…. We have a library of music that we have licenses for so is it the same music all throughout the whole clip. Or it depends how long the video is. Usually I mean highlights won’t be longer than like two minutes 30 seconds so usually one song does the trick but sometimes you have to change if it’s a long feature Yeah had to do so then once that’s done with music as in I think that’s everything.
Courtney [00:20:49] and if anything needs to be color corrected you know like there’s the white balance thing. Hopefully that doesn’t happen I mean I made a mistake on the field so once it’s all done I export then I have to put them up on YouTube. That’s where we put all our videos and then we embed them on our Web site. So I have to write the article put in a feature image and use all of our tags that we put in all our categories I type those onto the website. But the video on YouTube you know again do all the tags so that everyone can find it if they google it.
Krista [00:21:16] Courtney publishes the articles and videos on Jersey Sports zone site through WordPress where formatting and placement matters to the company’s overall brand and style. Consistency is key. Or else it’ll look sloppy.
Courtney [00:21:28] Then I have to go back into my project and figure out something for social media so that I can project an Adobe. I go back to my you know the sequence that I made and I pull out things that could be different shows for media or if I had anything that I shot that I didn’t put in the highlight that kind of was fun like a smile or something like the kid celebrating. I put that on social media and then I start doing teasers all over.
Courtney [00:21:50] so we have Instagram Twitter we have LinkedIn now which we just recently got Facebook all. And it’s our personal belief that visually, Social media. Social media is a visual thing. And every single social media post that we do has some sort of video content with it. So I’ll go and I’ll go on Twitter for example. I’ll tag Bishop bar Carter wright. Here’s the link to the highlights and then I’ll also put the teaser video with that is everything and one are you go package you know me and call and then obviously hashtags are important and I’m tagging any of the kids that were in the video is good too because they will view it and retweet it. So those are all like the steps that we have to do for all that.
Mat [00:22:36] now it’s 9 p.m. and it’s time to do some research on this week’s nominees for the Jersey Sports Zone. Game ball awards. Courtney researches and gathers this past week’s top athletes considering stats and nominations from fans or parents. Then she post the poll so people can vote between Sunday and Tuesday at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Courtney travels to the winner’s school to shoot video for its additional content and positive recognition for hard work.
Krista [00:23:03] the amount of nominations for the game ball award are up to her. She gets to choose her games she covers. She edits her videos how she wants to.
Courtney [00:23:12] At this point my boss is totally like you do your thing. And if I mess up he tells me like he looks at everything else. It’s published but I don’t think he. I’ve never been regulated. I think the very beginning he used to like ask for my voice over his head like we would him would like make comments about things. But no I don’t get approved it’s just like get it done publish it. Good. There are mistakes you’re going to pay the price. It’s OK.
Mat [00:23:34] and you rather that freedom. I mean. I love it and I love the freedom I think its right.
Krista [00:23:39] It’s how you learn what you like. That’s where you find your voice.
Courtney [00:23:43] you learn about the whole business aspect of it too about what makes people upset firsthand so that you’re not hearing it from another person like Rich said if you told me that someone was upset with something I did. It’s not the same as if they just said that they were upset with me. It’s like hits home harder
Krista [00:24:03] Rather than filtering it through your boss and then you also made a note that you have to find out the pronunciation of the player’s name and.
Courtney [00:24:10] that’s probably the most stressful part of my job. Yes. Yeah I get that. Oh people. Sometimes people are great about it they’re like hey thanks for your highlights. You know we’re really appreciated but this is how you say the name. It’s just no way for me to know the frenzy everyone spells or name differently. So I always do my best if I know that I’m going to talk about a certain kid. I don’t know his name. I go up to him and I try to ask like how you say your name. There’s just moments when you get caught and you don’t know. And people for the most part are great. Sometimes they get mad at you. Yeah. It’s you know you just deal with it right. You made a mistake. That’s the bottom line. And we fix it.
Mat [00:24:47] now it’s ten thirty PM and she’s done for the day at an unusual hour.
Courtney [00:24:52] usually things don’t go that smooth. Got you. There are problems the whole way through.
[00:24:58] what type of problem.
Courtney [00:24:58] Just you know, I’ll get halfway through editing it and all of a sudden Adobe will fail on me and I’ll delete half of what I just did. Something like that just silly ridiculous editing things that happen and then on top of that 9 times out of 10 I don’t make them any mistakes but like you know when you make a mistake I have to Rigo I have to go back through that process and I had to you know it’s just that if there’s any delay it’s because of things that went wrong.
Mat [00:25:25] so it’s obviously ten thirty on a Saturday. You worked all day. Are you going out or are you having fun after this or are you.
Courtney [00:25:32] I’m very tired at this point I like to see my boyfriend if can hit you know I’ll go out for a drink or two with him and his friends. If not I’ll probably stay in and if there’s a late game or something bad on TV I’ll watch that and curl up with my dog.
Mat [00:25:50] so most games are on the weekends. Yeah right. So what is the work life balance throughout the week then like?
Courtney [00:25:57] There are games during the week it’s my light days game wise or Mondays Wednesdays. Wednesday they usually doing a game ball. Mondays are lighter usually like just a low profile game which is good because you give you give attention to the kids that don’t normally have it.
Krista [00:26:12] and then your industry insight, any disrupting trends.
Courtney [00:26:17] the most disruptive thing with media with what I do is the lack of trust. Media needs to be more approachable. You need to understand that you’re not only dealing with getting the next hit and getting the next story. You’re dealing with someone’s life and like what they do like a coach who coaches high school sports. That’s his job. Like you know it was very important that you were delicate with what they do. Focus on the good to the good. The good is good. I think you know what I mean. People like to hear that as well. I don’t do what I do for views. I do what I do because it’s important to get the story out. It’s important to make people happy like that. That’s why we do what we do.
Mat [00:26:58] so you just experienced a day in the life of a multimedia sports journalist but how does one actually become one. In part two of the sideline standup series join us as we go through Courtney’s career journey and experiences leading up to where she is today. And I feel like journalism especially on camera work it takes a ton of experience and trial and error to master. And she has plenty of it. So stay tuned. And experience a day in the life. We’re building an online library of content all focused on a diddle or a day in the life of different jobs and professions across the world in all different industries. So if you want to share your ADITL, you can do so at XADITL.com/share/my/ADITL
Krista [00:27:52] Thanks for listening. Head over to XADITL.com. There you can find the show notes for this series and more a day in the life articles and you can get to know us and our guests more by joining our communities on social media follow at XADITL on Instagram and on LinkedIn by searching for Krista Bo and Mat Bo.
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In Part 1 we went through hour by hour a day in Courtney’s life as a Multimedia Sports Journalist. In this episode, we’ll take you through Courtney’s career journey so you know what skills and experience are necessary to land a job as a MSJ. We’ll talk about Courtney’s experience working for the BIG 10, the NJ Devils and why her interview at a network disappointed her.
Krista [00:00:48] Welcome to part two in the two part sideline standup series in part one we went through hour by hour in a day in Courtney’s life as a multimedia sports journalist. In this episode we’ll take you there Courtney’s career journey so you know what skills and experience are necessary to land a job as a multimedia sports journalist. We’ll talk about Courtney’s experience working for the Big Ten, the NJ DEVILS and why her interview at her network disappointed her. Let’s learn how she did it so you can do.
Mat [00:01:31] Courtney attended Rutgers University and was originally enrolled in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences or sibs for short. Like most students she went into college thinking she wanted to do one thing and ended up studying something completely different.
Courtney [00:01:48] OK so I went to school to be a doctor initially and I got there too. I got through two years of that and then I realized that I don’t want to be it. I didn’t want our. I don’t like science. So yeah my sophomore year I kind of figured out that they just didn’t like science at all. And I went to my guidance counselor and I was like I need to do something that I love and she goes Well what do you like in sports has always been a part of my life I’ve been an athlete since I was four. So she threw me into the fire with the whole sports broadcasting specialization at Rutgers which journalism and media studies degree in the communication school. And then I specialize in sports. And as soon as I started doing it was like Oh this is what I was like.
Courtney [00:02:26] this is right.
Krista [00:02:28] her first internship was with the Eric LeGrand foundation in the fall semester of her sophomore year at Rutgers. She was still in premed mode during this internship. She didn’t switch over to sports journalism until later that year but this experience kept her connected to her roots and passion from a different perspective. In case you don’t know who Eric Legrand is.
Courtney [00:02:45] He was a football player at Rutgers. Number 52 we have his number. You know memorialized on the stadium and he got a spinal cord injury during one of the rocker’s football game and has been paralyzed since working on you know getting up to walking again. But he’s still paralyzed. So what is the foundation? So it’s a partnership with the Christopher Reeve Foundation and it’s you know a totally free and they just study spinal cord injuries. And Eric LeGrand does a lot of public speaking events and things like that when I was working there is really just a secretary.
Courtney [00:03:18] I was kind of keeping his schedule and working on some of the Christopher Reeve things as well because at that point I thought oh maybe I would go and do spinal cord things.
Mat [00:03:28] so now it was towards the end of the spring semester of her sophomore year and while she learned a lot from her time at the foundations she knew her next move needed to be a hands on experience with sports journalism specifically.
Courtney [00:03:41] so basically when I got to the to the grand foundation I had the whole. So what am I supposed to be doing like is this fulfilling at all. You know because I did feel like I wasn’t important. You know I was just an intern which I guess is fine. Like you have internships and you don’t necessarily feel like the most important person in the room. But when I was there I kind of figured I was happy to be doing a little bit more than this. And I think that a lot of kids when they graduate college feel the same way. And that’s kind of what you guys are talking about. You get out and you’re like OK so I have my degree where my fulfillment is. You know so like that’s the that’s the next step and when I when I left. Eric Legrand and didn’t burn any bridges you know it’s a good experience and you know they really took care of me and was great.
Courtney [00:04:26] But my next internship I knew had to be something that I was really into really excited about.
Krista [00:04:32] Her next official internship was with the new student union slash internship program through Rutgers University’s our vision and the Big Ten networks partnership a lot more on that in a hot sack. But her very first sports journalism intensive experience was with records radio station WRC you as a sports commentator. She did this in the spring semester of her sophomore year and it was her first time working as an on air talent. She learned a lot about the importance of preparation a broadcast or standup goes so much smoother if you do your homework. Okay. Back to the Big Ten slash our vision internship. Let me set the scene a little. Its summer going into her junior year of college.
Courtney [00:05:09] so how I even got this job was ridiculous. So that summer I had made my switch over to the journalism degree I knew I wanted to do sports I’m going to give it a shot. My parents think I’m absolutely insane and I get this email and it’s about an internship that’s opening up and rockers is making the switch into the Big Ten Network this year. So it was like you know a lot of things are changing at the school and I’m like jumping into a new you know area where yeah. Yes. So I get this e-mail about an internship that’s opening up with the Big Ten Network. It’s going to be the student union we’re going to cover all the athletics and I go wow it sounds really fun. So I don’t have any experience except for the grand Foundation. But I wrote down a piece of paper I go to send the email with my resume to the guy they said that was in charge of the internship. His name is Tim Martin and I go to click send an email is insane. I’m like why is this ending. And then I look back at the blast e-mail that rockers had put out to all the journalism majors at this point and they misspelled Maureen’s name in the email. So I was like Oh OK. So I corrected the name and I sent my resume and I sent the cover letter and you know whatever. Two days later I got a call from Tim to Martin.
Courtney [00:06:17] and he’s like Hey Courtney heard you want to come work for us. I was like yeah yeah I’ll be great. Who’s. OK great. You know we you know I was like I don’t really have any experience but you know I’m so willing to work hard and try and here’s a cause it is really weird. I didn’t get many other resume. I was like that is really weird. I hang up the phone and it clicks in my head home yells change the e-mail I got this job. I wouldn’t as was to get this job.
Mat [00:06:43] so our vision and the Big Ten Network were the same but different Kourtney would be a beat reporter at our vision. But then there would be days especially on football game days when she worked for the Big Ten Network. Since her partners it was kind of like an all hands on deck situation to make sure coverage on rocker sports was always covered for the university and for the networks.
Courtney [00:07:06] So the way that they do it and it’s totally the right way to do it is you work the camera first and then you gradually get to be a beat reporter or they start by Israeli swimming and I was you know you get to do on camera you get your one camera guy with you and You know you practice maybe a million stand ups and they’re all terrible.
Mat [00:07:26] what do you mean by beat reporter.
Courtney [00:07:29] so it just means that like that’s your that’s like your shtick. Like I was personalize I’m like really dug into Rucker swimming.
Mat [00:07:39] Swimming is the beat.
Courtney [00:07:41] Yes. Yes. So I had to know everything about the swim team and I had to know the girls and the coaches and you know you get you build relationships through being a beat reporter first. This was your first time on camera. Yeah.
Mat [00:07:53] how did that feel.
Courtney [00:07:55] Terrible. And in high school I was, I would get interviewed on TV and like not feel uncomfortable or anything. I was fine answering questions but then I was the person asking my questions and reverse of what we’re doing today. But I didn’t know how to speak I didn’t know how to ask questions. It was bizarre and like honestly Rutgers it was a new program or a vision so it wasn’t like they hadn’t like a coach to tell you what you’re supposed to go on camera. You kind of had just figured I was very difficult. The whole thing that I still work on today is talking to the camera like it’s your friend like that’s my main thing. You have to make the people watching feel comfortable and then you’ll be comfortable like that’s my whole thing and it’s my whole thing with public speaking to you make your audience comfortable then you can be comfortable and everything’s good.
Krista [00:08:41] Then can we go one step further. And B how do you make people comfortable.
[00:08:46] it’s so difficult to explain to you. Because I’m still figuring it out. No way will I say that it was really rehearsed. I used to you know like write it down and then I’d say it like 600 times and then I’d gone from the camera say it and I would be super stiff as a board and like not moving right. But I talk on my hands. So like I when I’m when I’m on camera now like I just let my hands go like I let my body move. Visit looks more natural and absolutely don’t think it’s going to and then you you’re like Oh I. You look ridiculous just standing there like a stick. Well so those two languages huge too. I think that when I was first starting to use like really big words Oh yeah I do sound really intelligent but my audience is sports fans Yeah I’m not saying that they’re dumb but they don’t want to you know hear giant they don’t need a vocab list and yet they did the thing they did this happen was great. Yeah.
Mat [00:09:37] so what sports did you do when you were on Big down city mostly.
Courtney [00:09:42] Someone’s baseball. That was the first time I got to do live reporting on that which was awesome.
Mat [00:09:47] what’s it like. What’s the Improvisation like with live sports like live reporting?
Courtney [00:09:53] you really have to be prepared coming in if you solely rely on improvising. Okay you’re going to look foolish.
Mat [00:10:03] what is preparing look like then.
Courtney [00:10:04] A lot of it is talking to the players. It’s something that I didn’t do enough in college because I was very self-conscious of the fact like oh they’re athletes and I’m just like a normal student who knows. But if you talk to the players a lot which I do now I talk to you know my students all the time they give you things that people don’t know and like that’s the whole point of journals and you have to give the your audience something that they don’t already know. So constantly communicating with it whether it’s you know good relationship with the coach the students you know even the refs anybody who’s around the teams that you’re covering just talked on.
Krista [00:10:40] so she got a lot of awesome experience working at our vision. And the Big Ten Network when working at our vision she was also editing highlight packages in case you don’t know a package is a term used in the media industry that means a creative visual and some long form of video Storytelling Multimedia journalist take a lot of footage they shot themselves or that’s old archive footage or both add some standups and or voiceovers and produce and edit a video to tell a story. She’s got some experience doing that at our vision.
Courtney [00:11:11] they force you to do that right from the beginning and I had to learn adobe premiere on the go. They were like OK well there’s the editing software. Gluck right. And there was a lot of Googling of what the shortcuts were like How to Change audio like how do you know make a different channels and how do you add nat sound and. It was it was a hard process but it was great and I think that the best way to learn editing is to be thrown into the fire and I will continue to say that because the’s how you learn your own style too. You know like there’s a way to edit that I do that is different than everyone else.
Mat [00:11:45] During the summer going into her senior year her next move in college was working for a minor league baseball team called the Lakewood Blue Claws. There she was a production assistant and got the job utilizing her connections with a Rutgers Alum.
Courtney [00:12:01] I just wanted another look at things. I had kind of seen from the network’s perspective what it was like to work for a network because of the Big Ten Network in Oregon and that was it was fine but I wanted to work for a team and I keep thinking that like maybe ending up at a team is where I want to be. So I wanted to work for a team and I was simply a production assistant there. I worked on a lot of audio files and interacted with the fans which was awesome sometimes they gave me the camera and I got to run out there and do like you know the live shots they do at stadium Oh nice. Yes I was. It was a really fun job. Just a summer like thing that I did that I ended up being pretty passionate about.
Krista [00:12:38] She did say she liked the idea of working for a team didn’t she. Well this time around it was for a hockey team. She was a production assistant at the Prudential Center for the NJ DEVILS her last semester of college.
Courtney [00:12:49] Ended up doing that my senior year when I had one class and I was like oh I want to do. And I was like I could take on a full time job like you know the you know 40 hour 50 hour workweek. I could do that. Naps have one so Casto thing is on Tuesday mornings and I would come to work after that. So I help them with like graphics and production I learned and just absorbed everything I could from them. So the guy Joe Coogee was my boss. He hired me. Yeah. So yes a rookie Rutgers guy. He’s a really cool guy. Super Young the whole control room I think was under 26 years old. It was awesome. It was what needs to happen because we knew we know those the younger generations they just understood the media a little better than you know no offense a little older generation. Yeah. So Joe hired me met some great people there and like I said I absorbed everything and then Joe actually during Devil’s games had be the floor director. So it was me and this other girl Alexa and we would run around with the cameras and like the live shots that I talked about at Lakewood I would get to say like what they do. I kind of direct them as where the people stand and tell them where to point the cameras.
Krista [00:13:57] you said you shadowed and communicated with on air NPA talents. What did you learn from them and do you apply it. What you learned today.
Courtney [00:14:06] Yeah. Honestly it was more just watching. You definitely don’t want to get in the way of a professional who is a talent because it’s totally understandable because you have a process when you’re going to be on camera especially when you’re doing something live. You have. Don’t let that process get crowded with distractions or you know I was an intern. You know I’m not going to get in your way. So a lot of us just watching kind of seeing their style on the Devil’s reporter at the time I don’t think she’s there anymore. She’s very serious. She had very serious in-depth analysis she was totally a hockey person and you kind of picked up on the way she did things should more serious less Smiley and I just kind of absorb that and it was it was an interesting experience watching her and I would say that my style is much different. Yeah much they’re interesting not you know not right or wrong or anything like right but definitely different.
Mat [00:15:02] Courtney wanted to stay with the devils but a full time position wasn’t in the cards for her at the moment because the control room was unionizing but she still keeps in touch today like she said Never burn bridges.
Krista [00:15:14] Courtney graduated in May of 2017 and was on the hunt for a full time job. In the meantime she was staying fresh. Practicing your craft and making some money doing freelance work for a men’s baseball league and say her bill New Jersey.
Courtney [00:15:28] you trying to be strong. I have a small cannon camera that really doesn’t shoot that well at all but I was like You know I’ll do what I can and I kind of put it out there to the public that Oh I’m looking to do videos you know cover you know recreational things and an immensely agrees like we love you to film ours.
Krista [00:15:47] Was this was this you posting on like indeed or something like that like what do you mean you put it out in the public.
Courtney [00:15:52] I think I put it on the All the Rutgers alumni page. OK. Like a couple of you’ve reached out and they just worked because it was like 45 minutes for my house. It was you know obviously later in the day so it worked out that I was you know I wasn’t busy or something and it was fun. Those guys were great. They were really good to me and I you know I did interviews the same way that I did. Our vision may she known a little smaller scale X my camera wasn’t like the ones that the victim ever gave us but yes it was a good experience. Cool.
Krista [00:16:20] and did you do that to boost your real up. Did you do that?
Courtney [00:16:24] Yeah I definitely did some stand ups and reels and things like that and it was just more kind of getting my rep. And so that you know don’t get rusty. Once you’re on camera and then you stop being on camera it’s really hard to write on you. I mean I pick it back up. You have you keep going with that. Those kind of skills. Well I revamped their Web site and I obviously I gave them a visual aspect that they didn’t have before they had a guy who was like writing up summaries of the games but nobody reads those anymore. And so I was like I gave them a video so they could see what actually happened which was cool. And then we did a little bit of social media with them.
Krista [00:16:58] Can we talk a little more about the application process for your first job. What is it that you needed to do? Because I just I remember with all of on air kick camera talent like that they were making reels and stuff like that. Like what was that process like and how did you at the end perfected I guess I still think I did it.
Courtney [00:17:21] so everyone told me to you know obviously make your résumé and make it very presentable. I gave to my aunt who specializes in that stuff. She really like Vans it up for me. I put like a graphic on it and you know I had my title and everything like that. Everyone says to make it one page, mine was two because I just did a lot in college. I was like yeah a lot of stuff on me.
Krista [00:17:41] so was it like one page front and back.
Courtney [00:17:44] Yeah. Just like the front back got two pages of it too much. But then the other thing when you’re applying for On camera like you said you have to give them some sort of example video reel of what you do or what you have done. And they say I’m not make that longer than a minute and 30 seconds which is literally nothing, literally the sentence I just said that’s like that’s all you can show. Right. But it’s always only seconds right there. Yeah. Supposedly that’s all they watch. I had been told over and over that they’re only going to watch the first 15 seconds and if they don’t like it they’re going to turn off. Very nerve wracking very hard to do. All my packages in college had been at least two minutes for one package. So I’m like how am I supposed to do this. I ended up sending out a real that was about five minutes long. I talked to other people who had gone to actual journalism schools and she was like oh my real was eight minutes and she is on live TV now. She’s very good at what she does. OK. So maybe not so bad send out something. Still don’t know all about that. You know I’ve never talked to a person who has gotten those reels and gets to look through them. Maybe I will have one day or maybe I’ll be the person looking through them. I don’t know but I think that that’s a very nerve wracking process. And the only piece of advice that I can have for people who are going through that is make those first 30 seconds the best of whatever you have. The one that makes probably you look the best on camera and the one that probably sounds the best. Whether we like it or not the way we look on camera is big in this industry. And you know you have to make sure that you look the part. I think I probably pushed out two hundred and fifty resumes and applications.
Krista [00:19:21] and where did you want to work. Like what was your dream job? One hundred percent you would take it if they offered it to you.
Courtney [00:19:27] my dream job. Yeah you actually know my dream job… Laugh at me. I want to be the beat reporter for The L.A. Rams. That is my dream.
Courtney [00:19:38] Yes but I don’t know at the time I was I was very much looking for something and I wanted it to be my field. I wanted to do something with my degree a lot of people you know they take the sales jobs or I don’t know they just do something different you know and I mean and it’s like No I went to school for this. This is what I would do. Like I wanted to do biz so yeah I just kept pushing a mountain pushing and pushing out and I got three interviews one of them anything go to I can remember why I didn’t go to one of them. And then I got two other ones. One was with ABC radio and then the other one was Jersey Sports and now I went to the radio on and I was super excited.
Courtney [00:20:18] It was in a city is your own city and I went to their office house you know beautiful and marble and there’s just this amazing experience to be even be there I was like Oh my God I have to get this job like it has the show. So they take me upstairs they put me in like this background this guy asked me some questions. I’m always good with face to face stuff is fine. Good. Then he gave me a test that I had to take. And I had heard about this before I’d heard that sometimes networks like Big Ten networks giving you tests but I had like listen to their content. I listened to their shows. I was like I’m going to breeze this. I totally know what they’re talking about. The test was not what I expected.
Krista [00:20:56] my gosh what does this test it. What were the question? Was it multiple choice?
Courtney [00:21:00] No it was all on the blank. It was awful. Yeah. You see those in college you just want to cry.
Courtney [00:21:07] so the test was basically just trivia about their network about like what’s the names of their reporter. And like questions like that and I was like I don’t know the answers I literally hand the guy back. I’m like I’m sorry. I don’t know these questions I know. And he was like Oh well why did you not study. I was like why I didn’t study this I studied your content you know. I mean I was like I apologize. I mean I don’t mean to waste your time or whatever. And I left my dad was actually there he came with me and he was like how did it go, I was like not good. They basically gave me a test to see if I was a fan. Yeah you know what I mean. And I was really upset.
Courtney [00:21:47] I was really disappointed at the whole thing. And honestly where I took the test was where I guess I would actually be working with a bunch of cubicles and you don’t see a scene a single human face. It’s very dark. I was very disapproving the whole experience. I was really upset and I went home that night and I talked to my dad and I was like I didn’t want to go to my other interview tomorrow like I’m this is you know this is awful I’m so sad. And I went to Jersey Shore town and it’s a startup. So it was only me and it was me my boss, I think the marketing woman Karen was there as well and then Owner Dale Florio was there obviously and they were really passionate and like really like we want to give you all this freedom and we’ve got to bring great coverage. And it was like Oh that. That’s what I want I want to do that. So I had a great time with that interview as the very next day.
Courtney [00:22:35] and it was it was really total flip side from what the ABC interview was.
Krista [00:22:41] the autonomy and freedom to explore and cover the stories she thought were worth covering was important to her. And it can set her up for great experience down the road for a job at a big network if she so chooses. She joined the team at Jersey Sports own in July of 2017 and has been there ever since.
Krista [00:22:57] If you want to learn more about what Jersey Sports Zone does how it got started and what Courtney does specifically listen to part 1 in this series out now.
Mat [00:23:05] Courtney’s covered baseball swimming wrestling softball football basketball and she loves all the action all sports have to offer but we just had to ask what’s your favorite sport to cover.
Courtney [00:23:18] that’s a hard question I guess is football. I love football. I played softball for my whole life and covering baseball is great but covering football is very exciting stuff I literally jump up and down on this island and something happens like if I get like a really great touchdown if I chew a really great idea I it’s so fired up, like I’m not rooting for teams I have to be you know no no no neutral theater but it’s very exciting.
Krista [00:23:46] so want to talk a little bit about women in sports journalism. So the past couple years have been pretty historic with you know first all-female sports broadcasting team and the female refs. Yes female refs all of that. Can you just talk about your views on the industry and the fans acceptance of women in these roles? And do you think that both parties have a long way to go or do you think the tides are turning and just anything you have to add to that I think is pretty obvious that females are getting much more involved in sports.
Courtney [00:24:20] Just from watching it on TV you see female reporters all over the place. There is a lot of pressure though being a female reporter. You make a mistake they’re going to come down on you twice as hard. You really need to focus you can’t make mistakes. You have to do your best. Mistakes are going to happen but as a female like you need to be accurate or else you are going or to really pay the price. And yeah you just have to really focus on it especially for someone that you don’t fully know.
Krista [00:24:43] Has there ever been a time where I don’t know whether it was getting an interview from a player coach or like fans maybe that kind of stuck out to your mind that that was like wow that was clearly sexist.
Courtney [00:24:57] honestly I haven’t had too many bad experiences with it. I will say being a female reporter I think that most athletes find you more approachable. But I was like Oh interesting. Almost like it’s an advantage. Yeah. You know there’s definitely charges of being a girl in this. But I walk up to people and am very happy. You know big smile. How are you? You know like you know great game today. Things like that you want to seem very friendly and I think being a female even softens you a little bit more so people are more willing to open up and say things to you.
Krista [00:25:27] that is so interesting.
Courtney [00:25:28] that’s just my opinion now. I don’t know. I know that there is there’s still that resistance. I think I felt less of the resistance between a coach player and media simply because I’m a girl. Yeah I think that’s it. And just from what I’ve been doing though.
Mat [00:25:43] we’re not too far away from this but what would you tell your 18 year old self today.
Courtney [00:25:49] don’t be a doctor. You’re not going to be a doctor. I would tell myself to figure out what I’m passionate about before making life plans. Because when you get it sounds its so cliché because everyone said it was like Oh if you know do you love you never work a day in your life. It’s so true because you are literally doing this forever and you need to figure out what you’re passionate about before you can say like oh I’m going to be this. You’re 18 you have no idea what you’re doing with your life figure yourself out first learn about who you are.
Krista [00:26:23] that wraps up part two in the sideline standup series. Huge thanks to Courtney DuPont for sharing her wisdom throughout this experience A Day in the Life series if you haven’t already be sure to listen to part 1 in this series to experience a day in the life of a multimedia sports journalist. So they say you can’t get a job without experience but need experience to get the job. But luckily we have quite the experience. You can join our team and experience a day in the life of the jobs you want by applying to be a student editor regardless of your major or amount of experience. This is the perfect stepping stone into any internship or career.
Krista [00:26:58] Find more info and sign up at XADITL.com/students. Thanks for listening. Head over to XADITL.com. There you can find the show notes for this series and more a day in the life articles. And you can get to know us and our guests more by joining our communities on social media follow at XADITL on Instagram and on LinkedIn by searching for Krista Bo and Mat Bo.
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