Amidst the hype over the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) versus the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) football game challenge, ESPN and Disney executives hosted a game day panel for Mass Communications students at Alcorn State University (ASU) on Tuesday, August 24th at 11:00 am via Zoom. The panel consisted of directors, producers, production assistants, and more.
During the game day panel, each professional shared their personal career journeys and offered advice to the students entering the entertainment industry.
Jim Gaiero, Producer at ESPN, said to students, “You’ll get thrown a bunch of things in your career, and you may think you’re going one way and all of a sudden you’re not. It’s how you react to it and present yourself. If you put me on anything, I’m going to dive all in and get excited about it.”
Students gained knowledge about the available internships and entry-level job opportunities offered by the companies. Most internships will take place during the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. These opportunities are for candidates in their Junior or Senior year of college. Positions range from production, film, programming, creative studio, podcast, social media, marketing, and Rhoden Fellowship/Undefeated. Internships would usually take place in major cities such as Bristol, New York City, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Austin, and Washington, D.C. However, all positions are currently remote.
Students may also apply for an entry-level job as a production assistant at ESPN Next. The program is an 18 month developmental program that focuses on three areas which are leadership, exploration, and diversity. During this 18 month program, production assistants will get to explore different pods through two rotations. The pods include college sports, Daytime Entertainment, International and Deportes, live events, NFL, Sports Center at Night and storytelling. For this program, candidates must have an overall knowledge about sports, be a storyteller, be able to work under pressure, and be able to work around fast deadlines.
Disney also has a new initiative for Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) students entitled “Disney on The Yard.” The initiative works toward providing HBCU students with internship opportunities across the company.
Morgan Bridgeman, a Senior Mass Communications student said, “The zoom call with ESPN and Disney was very inspiring. It was rewarding to sit down with people who have made it into the industry. They gave great advice and answered any questions we had.”