Rob King inspired and entertained a packed house of students, faculty and press at the Meeks School’s first-ever Conference for New Media on Thursday.
In his remarks, the senior vice president, editorial, print and digital media for ESPN, talked about the company’s growth, and its relationship with the NFL and the NCAA. But most of his message was directed to the career aspirations of the gathered journalism students.
“What you’re embarking on is not a career, it’s a journey,” stressed the former Division III college basketball player who said he was the first person on his college team to dunk a basketball. “The most important thing about that journey is you know yourself and give yourself permission to change.”
King assured the students that he knew their first priority right now was finding a job, but he cautioned them that any job interview was not so much about them, but about what problem they could solve for the interviewer.
“You’re about to enter the ‘awful in-between,'” the 52-year-old executive told his audience. King described the beginning point in any professional journalist’s career when they take jobs in small markets with little pay. “Unpack mentally when you get there,” he said. “This may be a tough time in your life but it will also be a time when you collect great memories and grow as a person and as a journalist.”
King said that ESPN is growing rapidly with a new Sports Center set and technology in the works. He said in September, for the first time, mobile phone access to the network amounted to 51 percent of the company’s total traffic.
King said he had recently spoken at Penn State, and he described that university’s negative media experience as a body blow compared to the pin pricks Ole Miss has undergone recently.
In this short video clip, King explains the fun atmosphere at ESPN:
Andy Knef is editor of HottyToddy.com. Contact Andy about this story at Andy.Knef@HottyToddy.com