It’s an exercise I came up with a few years ago in an attempt to underscore for young professionals that there is a large world out there of possibilities, career-wise, and that each marketplace is filed with stories and happy people. (jump to bottom if you’d like to see the markets)
So many students have yet to travel, or even step outside their comfort zone, that they are focused on their “home” market as the ultimate place to work. The problem is multi-fold. First, they may be from a large market, like Atlanta or Los Angeles, and their chance of getting “on air” or “hands-on” experience is less. They need to make mistakes, to learn and to grow. Smaller markets usually provide more opportunities.
Second is a continuation of what I said about making mistakes. Beyond that, there is no substitute for experience. At a time when they see beautiful people who are very young working the sidelines of games, they think A) that all of those people got the job just because they are beautiful (not true); B) that those sideline jobs are full-time and high-paying (most are neither); C) that those jobs LEAD to great gigs automatically (also not true.) Bottom line: those are experiences, but to have longevity in the business, man or woman, you need to have a broad skill base, a great reputation, work your tail off and learn, learn learn.
Here’s the assignment: each student was randomly assigned a DMA market (I believe it was somewhere between 60 and 130.) They were not to research a market they have lived in. We avoided the super big markets because that would defeat the purpose. We eliminated our local markets. They were then asked to create a WordPress site that included the following: pro sports teams you will cover, prominent high schools you will cover, colleges you will cover, famous people from the area (historically), prominent current sports figures, a general analysis of the marketplace (what type of people live there, what sports do they support, etc.), your competition in the marketplace.
What’s the point? There are many, many great places to live and work in the country. If you want to be a sportswriter/sportscaster/sports journalist, or work in any business for that matter, you may have to move to gain experience. I want them to be open to the possibilities for happiness and joy and life experience, wherever they are.
Interested in their work? Below are links to the market sites:
The above links were created and managed by the students and there is always the possibility they will delete them or change them.