ACC Network in Connecticut is good news for journalism students

(Atlantic Coast Conference/Wikimedia Creative Commons)

(Atlantic Coast Conference/Wikimedia Creative Commons)

On Monday, ESPN announced that the ACC Network would be based in Bristol, Connecticut instead of Charlotte, North Carolina and approximately 70 jobs will be brought to Connecticut.

The move is seen as very positive by associate journalism professor Marie Shanahan.

“Great in terms of jobs and great in terms of media jobs in Connecticut, for UConn students,” Shanahan said.

UConn students have always supplied a pool of competent interns for companies in the state, including ESPN.

Fifth-semester journalism student, Ryan Kim, said he believed the move makes sense geographically and it’s a great thing for students.

“Now that they are located in Connecticut, there are more options for students interested in sports media in the area,” Kim said.

“I imagine there are benefits of being in the same area, sharing facilities and assets and bouncing ideas off ESPN and their personnel. As far as the location of the teams in the conference, it doesn’t make sense,” said Brandon Carney, seventh-semester journalism student and Daily Campus correspondent said.

The move is also positive for Connecticut, a change for a state that has been losing businesses like G.E. and Aetna to neighboring cities like New York and Boston.

Besides the jobs that would be on camera, there will be jobs as producers, where Shanahan believes more graduates should start. But there are also jobs for their digital sites.

Shanahan said UConn has a great relationship with ESPN and many alumni who have had internships and co-ops have subsequently landed full-time jobs with the company.

However, it might be too early to speculate about internships for the network. Mike Soltys, vice president of communications for ESPN and the company’s first-ever intern, said two years is too far away for them to know how it will work.

“The interns for the ACC usually have come from ACC schools,” Soltys said.

ESPN has internships for different positions but the competition is fierce. For example, Soltys said that for internships over the summer when they hire 90 interns, they receive around 10,000 applications.

With this competition, students interested in applying for an internship at ESPN have to set themselves apart.

Shanahan said former students who got internships share a common set of skills.

“They know how sports work, the games, the business behind sports. They have strong communications skills, whether it’s Twitter, packages, video graphics, they know how to tell a story and they have a willingness to work harder than others,” Shanahan said.

Soltys added that internship opportunities depend on the department but students with experience and involvement fare better.

In the interview, students with good ideas and who can think quickly on their feet stand out from the pack.

Being a sports fan is not enough for a student to get an internship.

“As someone who’s looking to get a job and who’s graduating soon it’s good to hear that Connecticut is adding jobs. All you usually hear is how bad things are,” Carney said.

But for pre-journalism advisor and sports writing instructor Terese Karmel, there might be some problems with the relationship between the ACC and ESPN.

“ESPN fired a lot of people in April and are adding only 70, so what’s the net gain?” Karmel said.

Karmel said Charlotte made more sense as a location for the network because Duke and North Carolina are there.


Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.marulanda@uconn.edu.