BROWNWOOD – December 4, 2017 – Students in Howard Payne University’s Sport, Media and Culture course within the university’s Department of Communication took two academic trips to professional sporting events this fall – a Texas Rangers baseball game and San Antonio Spurs basketball game – to meet with the communications staff of each organization.
Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, created the course.
“This communication studies course is designed to examine the interrelationship between sport and media in society and to examine how sport and sport discourse shapes cultural values,” she said. “Understanding how sport, media and culture intersect is important now more than ever with our instant access to information.”
The class attended a Texas Rangers game during the last week of the Major League Baseball regular season in September. The students met with four members of the Rangers’ marketing, communications and social media staff. Each staff member explained his or her role in the organization and answered questions from the students.
Madison Neal, sophomore communication major from Chandler, said she really enjoyed getting to meet the organizations’ social media directors.
“One person who really sparked my interest was Kaylan Eastepp, who is over all of the social media for the Rangers. She discussed the details of her job and her role as a woman in a professional men’s sports world,” Neal said.
Neal added that Eastepp was entertaining and informative because she talked about the huge impact of social media on our society and demonstrated that women can and do work in sports.
Jared Sandler, broadcaster for the Rangers, also spoke with the class, encouraging students entering the communications field to never give up. He told the class that he got both his job and internship from consistently e-mailing people and networking.
The students enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Rangers’ facility, including a trip to the press box, the media room and a personal meeting with “Mr. Rangers,” Tom Grieve, himself. The students met with three other communications and marketing staff members.
The class also traveled to a Spurs game in San Antonio and met with four members of the Spurs communications staff, including marketing, public relations, social media and advertising personnel.
“We met Megan Julian, who is responsible for social media for the Spurs,” said Neal. “I always find the people who work in social media to be fascinating because they have such a large outreach.”
Julian is responsible for managing the Spurs’ Facebook and Twitter during the games, as well as for the layout and design of GIF images and highlight layouts.
“All of the speakers had a vast level of experience with internships, and each speaker recommended doing several internships, even if they are unpaid,” said Neal. “The trips provided us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what holds the public image of a sports team together as well as the final product in the enactment of the game. These opportunities allowed our class to learn more about communication careers in sports.”
Cutlines: Students and faculty from HPU’s Department of Communication pose in front of a Texas Rangers’ backdrop. While at the ballpark, they met with members of the Rangers’ communications staff.
Students and faculty from HPU’s Department of Communication visited the Alamo on the way to a San Antonio Spurs basketball game. At the game, they had the opportunity to meet with members of the Spurs’ communications staff.