GSU Sports Media is making some new adjustments this semester by involving more students who can get experience in broadcasting, marketing, reporting, social media, promotions and more.
After losing former sports information director Robert Vogel, interim Athletic Director, Dr. Obadiah Simmons, thought it was time for Grambling to take a new route in the sports media department.
“It’s not something anyone did or did not do. It’s simply moving in a different direction,” said Simmons.
“I’ve had some very good discussions with President Larkin as well as head coach Fobbs and all of the head coaches in terms of where they’d like to see their specific programs go and what they envision for Grambling State University Athletics.”
Simmons appointed Mass Communication lecturers Will Sutton and Santoria Black to take over the program due to their vast experience.
Black is a former sports information director in Grambling’s Sports Media Department who has done radio work with ESPN and GSU’s sports network.
“His role as a traditional sports information director has expanded,” said Simmons. “His experience, I felt, was valuable and he knew Grambling athletics and the history of it.
“So, it made sense that as we’re going through this transitional phase that we can pull him in so that he could at least coordinate our broadcast efforts and do some other things to position the Athletic Department and take advantage of some of the new technologies that are taking place.”
Sutton served as the university’s communications director from July 2012 to June 2014.
“His experience in the writing and journalism, I felt was valuable and at least could continue our thrust in the coverage in the entire athletic program.”
With a full teaching load, Sutton’s key efforts will be toward the areas of greatest need, such as news conferences, releases, the GSU Tigers website, media coordination and facilitation.
Both Black and Sutton insisted on the involvement of students.
“It’s a great opportunity for the students,” said Black. “One thing that I’m very happy about, through Mr. Sutton, is that you have someone who understands the importance of students being involved in the process.”
Sutton is currently looking for ways to get students involved.
“I hardly do anything without the involvement of students,” said Sutton.
Some of the duties students might have to do include maintaining rosters for sports teams, media reporting during games, recording stats, emailing scores to media and using social media to communicate with fans.
Graduate student Diana Sepulveda, has the opportunity to work with sports media again.
Last year was her first year as a graduate assistant to the sports information director, but this year she feels like she’s getting even more experience.
“I’m doing more than I did last year,” said Sepulveda.
The 2014 graduate says that she is working more with GSU’s TV Center director Alan Blakeney with broadcasting.
“I feel like I’m getting exposure to more things,” said Sepulveda. “Because this past week was my first time working, doing something broadcast. I learned a lot of stuff with Mr. B. I’m usually like PR, graphics, writing.”
She also enjoys the idea of working for Black and Sutton.
“They’re the right people who can give students opportunities and exposure.”
Sepulveda thinks people should be prepared to expect more from sports media.
“They should expect more fan engagement and more interactions,” said Sepulveda. “There’s a lot in store.”
Dr. Simmons’ goal is to rebrand the institution and tell the Grambling story as many know it to be.