Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
School of Health Sciences and Human Performance | Sport Media
Viewers of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown regularly see Chris Berman, Keyshawn Johnson, and Mike Ditka analyzing that day’s upcoming games. But before any game highlights can make it to viewers’ screens at home, producers and production assistants work behind the scenes to select the best shots, plays, and clips. For IC sport media graduate and ESPN associate producer Gavin Cote ’12, it’s a team effort.
The production process, Gavin said, starts with a Thursday morning meeting and heats up as the wee hours of Sunday morning approach. That’s when Gavin and his colleagues start putting the final touches on their shot selections, voiceovers, edits, music, and sponsor messages.
“A three-hour show doesn’t come together by trying to be a hero and doing everything yourself,” Gavin said. “You can’t be afraid to ask for help. I learned that at IC.”
Some of that learning came from doing basketball play-by-play for ICTV and hosting Gridiron Report, a weekly update on Bomber football.
“It was awesome to host a show my junior year, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. Fortunately, a lot of great people helped me with editing and production decisions.”
And, because IC’s sport media major includes courses in liberal arts, sport theory, advertising, and sport video production, help also came from the classroom.
“I wouldn’t have gotten my foot in the door at ESPN without the background I got doing Gridiron Report and taking production classes in the Park School and writing classes in the sport media department,” Gavin said. “Having all that on my resume led to a production internship at ESPN the summer before my senior year.”
The network liked his work and offered him a full-time job the following spring—a month and a half before he graduated. After doing NBA highlights for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, Gavin now helps decide what weekly highlights NFL fans get to see.
“Production skills, working under deadline pressure, focusing on internships, developing writing skills, making contacts—everything I experienced at IC was relevant to what I’m doing now. Don’t think you can’t work at a certain place because it’s ESPN or NBC. I’m building on the skills I went to college for, and I’m getting paid to do something I love: watch sports.”
Odds are good the technology you’ll use 20 years from now hasn’t been dreamed up yet. For modern-day communications experts like Susan Cort, things like websites, blogs, and social media are industry basics today. But they weren’t when she was a student at Ithaca College.
“It’s funny because everything I’m in charge of now was not invented when I was at IC,” she says.
Susan coordinates public relations for an integrated communications company that helps clients with marketing solutions across multiple media platforms. Her position builds on a varied career as a TV news anchor and reporter, PR director for the Hershey resort, high school broadcast journalism teacher, and successful communications freelancer.
Despite the technological change she’s witnessed firsthand, she says IC gave her the foundation to understand how to communicate and tell stories regardless of media evolution.
“You’ll need to be flexible so you can take everything you’ve learned in school and in your career and apply it to whatever the next thing is--whatever the latest technology is and however people are communicating,” Susan says.
Hands-on opportunities at Ithaca helped Susan focus her passion for communications. She immersed herself in the college TV and radio stations, anchoring news programs, hosting shows, and working on coverage during the 1984 election. She also interned at CNN in New York City, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (during a semester abroad in London), and the New Jersey Nightly News in Newark.
“I had real-world experiences at 18, 19 years old,” Susan says. “When I was ready to get a job, not only did I have a fabulous education from a college that had a terrific reputation; I had experience. I had demo tapes that showed I could be a broadcast journalist.”
On a recent tour of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at IC, Susan says the evolution of technology between her time as a student and today boggled her mind. “The student guides were showing me the Macs and all the high-tech equipment they had there and I said, ‘Wow. When I was here, we sat in the hall and wrote our news scripts on electric typewriters.’ The whole group got really quiet. They couldn’t imagine that.”
Whether you graduated in 1986 or will graduate in 2016, the benefits of Ithaca College are constant. “The combination of a quality education and real hands-on experience make me feel like, as IC grads, we’re kind of unstoppable,” Susan says. “We can do anything we set out to do.”
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