This past week, Bradley and the Steiner School of Sports Communication hosted the Inaugural Charley Steiner Sports Symposium, which ran from Monday through Thursday, featuring panelists and sports broadcasters from across the country. Among those present were Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Charley Steiner, television host Larry King and Executive Vice President of FOX News Scott Ackerson.
“Charley Steiner really wanted to take his contacts and try to bring them to campus so they can talk to students,” assistant professor of communication Dunja Antunovic said. “Most of the guests are actually his professional connections, which is very valuable. These speakers are able to share connections with students that they might otherwise not hear.”
The symposium opened Monday with a panel and Q-and-A session with Steiner and King. Symposium guests also visited classrooms, attended panels and gave lectures throughout the week.
“These symposiums are important, and I think students had some great questions in [the classrooms],” King said. “How do you cover something big, how do you leave your emotions out of it … I was very impressed.”
Although the symposium was created to help sports communications majors network and learn more about the field, students of all majors were welcomed.
“I think, in terms of communications students, there’s a lot of pressure and fear of not being able to get a job right out of college and not having as many opportunities as maybe a business major has,” freshman television arts major David Shadid said. “I think hearing from people that have real-life experience and having them talk through how they did it and how successful they’ve become gives students a lot of hope for the future.”
At the opening panel, Steiner and King weighed in on a variety of issues facing communications students, ranging from social media as a news outlet to job placement and the ethics of reporting.
“[Social media] is all still so new,” Steiner said. “We’re all going to learn a little more about it and get a little better about it as time goes on, but jumping into the pool saying something — anything — to be first goes against the grain of journalism, truth-telling and storytelling. Just because you’re first doesn’t make you right. This ‘need for speed’ is getting out of whack. Take a deep breath. Get it right.”
According to Steiner, another great challenge facing current communications students lies in finding jobs in the industry after graduation.
“The whole industry is changing,” Steiner said. “That, to me, is what’s so fascinating. Newspapers are evaporating, local news does not employ as many people as it used to … local radio is not what it once was … That takes away a lot of jobs.”
While the panel addressed many of the issues communications students are facing, King and Steiner also provided words of wisdom for audience members.
“If I can talk you out of it, it’s not your dream,” King said. “Don’t be afraid, and never give up. It ain’t brain surgery.”
Shadid said he thinks communication students were able to relate to the panelist’s experiences.
“[These guests] made it, and they’ve gone through struggles, too,” Shadid said. “But they’ve still done what they wanted to do. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it [shows] students can do what they want to do.”