On Nov. 30, 2020, Rowan University’s Sports Communications and Media (Sports CaM) program made a major announcement: the University would be partnering with the Delaware Blue Coats, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, to offer a select number of students the opportunity to work within the organization as interns.
The program, “Blue Coats Broadcast Academy,” would provide Rowan Sports CaM majors and minors the opportunity to grow, learn and conduct real work for a professional organization in a variety of fields. The announcement was proudly made by a handful of individuals involved in the program, including Sports CaM Director Neil Hartman, Dean of the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts Dr. Sanford Tweedie, Blue Coats’ Communications Coordinator Matt Murphy and Blue Coats’ Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Alex Yoh.
The news of this partnership was exciting for everybody involved, and it was especially thrilling for the students, many of whom had been in search of an opportunity to get their name into the sports communications industry.
After hearing this news, I was one of the many eager students who quickly threw their resume into the bunch that would be selected to intern for the Blue Coats. As an avid basketball fan who was also looking to pursue my dream job in sports journalism, I felt like applying to intern for the Blue Coats in their media relations field was a chance to get my foot in the door of the sports media industry.
Around mid-December of 2020, I received a call from Hartman telling me that I would be one of five Rowan students who would be interning for the Delaware Blue Coats as a website writer in the media relations field. With an uncontrollable amount of enthusiasm, I thanked Hartman for the opportunity and told him I was excited to “get my foot into the door” of the industry. He responded by emphasizing that instead, I would be getting my entire body in the door.
Fast forward a few months to now, the beginning of March, and I can confidently say that working as an intern has been one of the best, hands-on experiences I have had.
While I still have a few more months to learn and work with the Blue Coats, I have already been able to take away a lot from the experience. I was fortunate enough to have my first article published to the Blue Coats website, which was a process that taught me a lot about sports journalism, like how to collect relevant facts and statistics, while also learning how to act like a professional media person in front of other professionals.
In order to collect quotes, I attended the Blue Coats’ post-game press conferences, which gave me the opportunity to ask players and coaches questions that would help spark responses to be used in my article. I have also had the opportunity to interact with and feed off of other professionals in the industry, which has been both inspiring and motivating for me. I feel like the internship has really given me the chance to take my writing to the next level while learning from some of the best in the business.
However, my experience is just one of several that Rowan University and the Delaware Blue Coats have been able to give their interns. My colleagues working as website writers have each been able to learn from their own experiences and produce great work of their own. Senior Christine Harkinson is one of those interns who commented on her experience and thanks some of the people who have been most helpful to her thus far.
“Overall, this has been an excellent learning experience. Having the opportunity to write for the Blue Coats’ website will not only help guide us interns to find the careers we want, but also gives us the chance to connect with professionals in the industry,” Harkinson said. “Alex Yoh, Matt Murphy and Neil Hartman have all been extremely helpful in working with our schedules and helping us whenever we may need it. That is exactly what you need as an intern, and they have all been nothing short of amazing mentors.”
Not only does an opportunity like this give students something to learn from, but it also gives them a feeling of accomplishment after achieving something like having an article published. Senior Chloe Senatore, a fellow website intern, already has two articles published on the Blue Coats’ G-League website. She described having her articles published as “awesome,” and noted some of the things she has been able to take away from the experience.
“Having my own articles published by the NBA G-League is really awesome. Getting professional exposure for my writing is a really great feeling, and I am learning a lot from this opportunity through Rowan,” Senatore said. “I have gained a lot of practical experience working for a real sports journalism organization. Having real deadlines and interviewing important people is helping me get some really valuable experience that I will definitely take with me into my future career.”
Myles Bolden is another intern working as a website writer for the Blue Coats.
“For me, the entire experience has been amazing. To represent an organization like the Blue Coats has been a dream come true,” Bolden said. “I am learning new tricks and tips everyday to improve as a writer and a person. Seeing my peers around me working hard keeps me extremely motivated day-in and day-out.”
Experiencing this internship alongside these people and listening to their experiences is one of the best things about opportunities like this. The connection that our group of interns has is one that is strong and continuously growing. Everybody involved has been supportive of one another, helping each other out and constantly pushing the next person to work to the best of their ability.
Overall, I think it is safe to say that Rowan University’s partnership with the the Delaware Blue Coats’ has had a major impact on the interns who are working under the Blue Coats Broadcast Academy. Especially in my group of website writers, each of us has been able to learn things and have experiences that are helping us grow as writers, professionals and individuals.
All in all, the experience has been an absolute pleasure and one that fellow interns and I will use to progress our careers in journalism.
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