http://www.platformmagazine.com/index.cfm/2008/1/1/A-Glimpse-into-the-Fastpaced-World-of-Collegiate-Sports-Public-Relations by Betsy Beam A work environment where tickets flow freely, closets are stocked with the latest sports gear and relationships with star coaches and athletes are part of a day’s work sounds like a dream, but for University of Alabama assistant sports information director Corey Hoodjer and Hank Hager, assistant director of athletic communications at Oregon State University, it’s a reality.
works with the OSU women’s basketball team, baseball team and swim team.Both men agree that describing a typical day in the media relations office is difficult because every day is different.The ability to multi-task is vital because there are always several sports in-season and numerous events requiring the ability to work on a variety of projects simultaneously.
Hank Hager" src="http://www.platformmagazine.com/img/extra_images_fall_2007/Hank-Hager-1.jpg" /> “There is no typical day, which is why this is such a great job,” Hager says. “You’re always doing different things, whether that’s working on press releases, media guides or game notes.Game days always bring a new element, from spending time on the field to actually running the game.”
Effective Media Relations
Characteristics of efficient media relations practitioners include the ability to work under deadlines and high-pressure environments. “Reporters, players and coaches all operate under tight deadlines, requiring you to be able to work accurately but quickly,” Hoodjer explains. “Games can be stressful, and players and coaches are often in emotional situations that require us to be even-tempered and be able to work efficiently under pressure.That is one of the biggest aspects of our job.” Hager
stresses the importance of certain skills he
acquired while in school, such as being organized, budgeting time and prioritizing tasks.He
explains that while there are always things to be done, big and small, it is imperative to know what needs to be done now and what can be done later. “Deadlines are important in school and they are absolutely essential in media relations.”
In the fast-paced world of collegiate public relations, practitioners have to be able to write while under tight deadlines.The ability to determine what is important and what is not is vital.In addition, the ability to develop personal relationships with coaches, players and media is key. “Better relationships help get your team recognized more easily,” Hager says.
Weekly tasks include holding press conferences with the main sports, maintaining the university web site, updating statistics for all athletic teams, and promoting each sport, its coach, and its players. “We send stat reports to the SEC
and nominate our athletes for awards and honors quite regularly,” Hoodjer says.
Writing releases to recap games and highlight awards won by athletes requires daily attention. “I always like to stay abreast of team news, whether that’s reading the newspaper when I get in in the morning, or talking to my coaches and players,” says Hager. “Part of this job is trying to get to know your coaches and players better than they know themselves.” Additionally, handling all of the media requests from local, reginal and national media outlets takes precedence in the daily schedule.
Some media relations tasks prove to be more difficult than others. Working to accommodate the media while also keeping in mind the best interest for both coaches and athletes sometimes presents conflicts. “Trying to serve the media professionally when they want information on sensitive topics is difficult,” Hoodjer admits. “Drawing the line on what information to give out, what interviews to grant and trying always to project a positive image when controversial things happen is also very difficult.” Hager
believes that the most difficult aspect of the job is the constant battle of balancing so many tasks at once. “You always have something going on, and trying to decide what needs to be done and what needs to be done later can be hard sometimes,” Hager says. “But the longer you work in the business,
Those interested in a career in media relations must find a way to stand out. “Developing a healthy work ethic and a good sense of deadlines is important,” Hager advises. “If you don’t, PR can get over your head.”
E-mail: Corey Hoodjer
E-mail: Hank Hager
How does collegiate sports media relations differ from professional sports media relations?