Upon first coming to the University of Missouri for journalism, I knew that I would end up doing something with print or digital media. That was what I had spent all of high school doing, so I was comfortable. It wasn’t until I stepped foot in my first journalism class that I realized how terribly wrong I was.
In today’s world, being a journalist is more than just choosing a specialty: print or broadcast. In reality, you end up doing both, no matter what you choose to major in. In order to be successful in this career path, you have to be versatile and adaptable.
The best way to do that is to throw yourself right into projects that you may not be comfortable with. My J2150 class is teaching me exactly how to do that. I must admit, when we were given our first assignment (even though it was just shooting a simple five shot sequence), I was terrified. I was working with a new type of camera, with specific requirements. And even worse, I was being graded on what I shot.
All of my freshman year, I had participated in MUTV’s morning show, “Good Morning Mizzou.” While I was trained in using the cameras for the show, being out on my own was frightening. How the final product turned out was all up to me. It was my responsibility to make sure that the subject looked comfortable, that the white balance was adjusted accordingly, that the tripod was set up right. It all seems so simple, but in the moment, I was scared.
Looking over my work in class the next day was rewarding, however. It made me realize that despite my fears, I’m not nearly as bad at shooting as I thought I would be.
Here’s a taste of what we’ve been working on for the Summer Journalism Institute. On June 10th, we had the opportunity to participate in a press conference featuring the radio broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Al McCoy. Following is an article I wrote based on his responses and a press release.
After 42 years of broadcasting for the Phoenix Suns, announcer Al McCoy will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The award will be presented on Sept. 6 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball.
“We are elated that Al has received this signal honor,” said Robert Sarver, Managing Partner for the Phoenix Suns. “Few in sports are accorded placement in the Hall of Fame.”
From 1959 to this day, only 325 individuals have been recognized and awarded this particular honor. In order to be eligible for admittance, one must contribute considerably to the sport. According to Sarver, it was McCoy’s commitment to the quality of the game and to the fans that made him a worthy candidate.
Upon receiving this award, McCoy was shocked, but was honored to be acknowledged for his dedication to a game he loves.
“It was the high point in my career and definitely very meaningful,” said McCoy.
With his abundance of well-known sayings, such as “shazam” and “heartbreak hotel,” McCoy is famous for the friendly atmosphere he provides for the fans. Throughout his career, McCoy made sure to communicate constantly with those that supported the Phoenix Suns and himself.
“When they don’t want to talk to you, then your career is over. I’m more than happy to converse with the fans,” McCoy said.
But it wasn’t solely McCoy’s friendly nature that led to his rise to success. Even as a child, McCoy had an interest in sports and broadcasting, a career he knew would be fitting. It didn’t take long for him to find his place in the industry.
“After a year of college, I felt the broadcast industry was ready for me,” said McCoy, detailing his educational experience.
With four decades of knowledge under his belt, McCoy could have easily made a name for himself at a national level. But overall, he feels that the Suns have treated him well.
“I’ve had other opportunities, but I’m glad that I stayed here,” said McCoy. “I have been a very lucky individual. It’s been an unbelievable ride.”