For BYU alumni in the sports media world, networking is everything

Working in the sports communication industry can be just as competitive and harsh as it is for the athletes playing.

According to CNBC, 70% of all jobs are never published publicly, and 80% are filled through personal and professional connections. Thus, networking is crucial for landing a job.

Networking is what helped these five BYU alumni secure jobs in the sports industry.

Photo courtesy of Caleb Leming

Caleb Leming is an associate producer at ESPN with its international and deportes production team. As an associate producer, Leming’s responsibilities include cutting videos, editing teasers and montages and helping with sponsorships for their Spanish international broadcasts. He has worked on main sporting events such as the Super Bowl, March Madness and the World Series. 

Before landing a full-time position with ESPN, Leming had various internships at BYU and with a few NFL and NBA organizations.

“The NFL was awesome and the NBA was awesome,” Leming said. “I learned a lot, but the connections and the people (I met) at BYU helped me get to where I want to be the most.”

Leming credits the connections he made at BYU to be the most beneficial. “You have connections everywhere.”

Leming urges students to reach out to those that are where you want to be.He got his current job with ESPN because of a former BYU student, and while the two had never met before, his fellow alum was willing to put in a good word.

“So many people are willing to pay it forward,” Leming said.

Emme Franks is a broadcast associate at CBS Sports Network in the soccer department. As a broadcast associate, Franks designs graphics for pre and post-game shows, which includes researching and building them out.

Photo courtesy of Emme Franks

During her time at BYU, Franks also interned with BYUtv, Real Salt Lake and the Utah Jazz. Some of her responsibilities included editing videos for broadcast, making hype videos, capturing B-roll, tagging videos and producing sports talk shows. 

Franks encourages students to “just go for it.” Such fearlessness helped her receive her first job at BYUtv, as someone reached out to her on Instagram and suggested she apply. Now a few years later, she’s working for a major news outlet in New York City. 

“Take every opportunity that is available to you: internship, random media pass to go on the field and shoot something,” Franks said. “Whatever it is, take the opportunity because in the professional sphere those opportunities are few and far between.”

Hannah Miner is the marketing manager for the Utah Warriors rugby team. Miner manages multiple social media accounts, helps with public relations and communication efforts, photography and videography. 

Photo courtesy of Bryndee Helquist

As a student, Miner was also a photographer for The Daily Universe and a sports information director for the swim and dive team through BYU Athletics.

Miner was able to find these opportunities through word of mouth from the connections she had been able to make. This is why she urges students to “make connections that will be useful in the long run” and to “always be open to learning more and prioritize your connections.”

Gabby Stockard is the team photographer for the Utah Jazz. While attending BYU, Stockton also worked with The Universe and BYUtv but knew she wanted to end up working around the NBA.

Photo courtesy of Gabby Stockard

“If there’s a risk that you want to take that will get you one step closer to where you want to be, you should take it,” Stockard said.

Stockard took her own advice and got her hands on a camera, rising from the ranks of broadcast intern to social media management and now shooting as the team photographer.

When it comes to networking, Stockard urges others to be genuine. “I think it’s important to be really intentional about who you are reaching out to and who you are trying to connect with because people can see past someone who just wants them in their network.”

Taylor Ostler is a production assistant at ESPN. In his role, he does video editing for various college football games and The Heisman Trophy presentation show. 

Photo courtesy of Taylor Ostler

“The biggest thing about communication in the field is getting experience,” Ostler said. “I feel like the comms program (at BYU) really prepares you well.”

As a student, Ostler had the opportunity to intern for BYU Broadcasting and the Utah Jazz. During these internships, he produced various sports shows and edited videos for the jumbotron, pregame, halftime and postgame shows for away games and worked on a BYU football documentary. 

Ostler landed his current role at ESPN through — you guessed it — networking with a fellow BYU alumnus,

“My biggest advice is just to put yourself out there,” Ostler said. “Something that I’ve learned is that people are willing to talk about their experience, especially if it helps someone else out.”

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