Industry veterans give advice on how to build a career telling sports stories
Angelo Pizzo had a dilemma.
The film “Hoosiers,” which he wrote and produced, was up for two Academy Awards in 1987. But the IU men’s basketball team was playing in the national championship game, and it was the same night as the Oscars.
The Hoosiers won out, and Pizzo stayed home to watch the game on TV.
Pizzo, BA’71, shared this story with NFL Hall of Fame journalist Lesley Visser and an audience in Presidents Hall on Friday during the “Storytelling and Marketing: Using the Power of Sports to Capture Attention” session of CBS Sports’ “We Need to Talk” university tour. The daylong event also included a live taping of the sports talk show “We Need to Talk” in the Beckley Studio, mentorship sessions and a “Joy of Cooking” demonstration.
Visser and Pizzo discussed the process behind the creation of “Hoosiers.” Pizzo said the key was its authenticity.
“Indiana was a character, which is why we had to call it ‘Hoosiers,’” he said.
Facebook Sports Broadcast Partnerships strategic partner manager Paige Westin and MKTG vice president of corporate development Kim Barrett introduced the audience to careers in sports marketing and gave advice on how to succeed in the industry.
Westin said it’s her job to ensure Facebook users are consuming sports content from its partners.
She’s transitioned several times throughout her media career. She originally wanted to be on camera and then started working in production. Finally, she began to focus on digital media strategies. Each of these experiences has helped her succeed at Facebook, she said.
“I think the biggest takeaway is that our platform and industry are always changing,” she said.
Barrett also focuses on partnerships. She showed examples of marketing campaigns she worked on with the Heisman House and Gatorade.
She said her job combines live experiences and sports consulting.
“Before you know it, digital, social and experiential all work together,” she said.
Both women had advice for students hoping to one day work in sports media. They emphasized the importance of adaptability and open-mindedness.
“Be flexible,” Westin said. “You never know what life will throw at you.”