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Part 2: Inside Athletics Media Services
— A Small Crew Doing Big Things for ECU —

Saturday, December 31, 2005
By Ron Cherubini

A Week in the Life of the Athletics Media Relations Department


Part 1: With a Relatively Small Budget and Limited Resources, Department Elevates Output ... More...

Part 2: A Week in the Life of the Athletics Media Relations Department ... More...



With a Relatively Small Budget and Limited Resources, Department Elevates Output

East Carolina fans and alumni are no strangers to hearing about the mountainous obstacles standing between the athletics program of today and the potential collegiate sports Promised Land. Everyone sees Athletics Director Terry Holland out on the stump and ECU coaches in the limelight. But there's more below the surface than meets they eye. ... More...



So, it’s a crispy fall Saturday and you are with your friends and family in Greenville ready for another East Carolina University football game. For you, the weekend is just getting going.

For the ECU Athletics Media Relations staff, it has been a six-day production in the works.

Tom McClellan recounts 'a week in the life' of ECU's athletics media relations department.

Tom McClellan, Director of Athletics Media Relations, was kind enough to document a typical week in the life during football season:


The staff has been hard at work, putting together about 90% of the weekly game notes packages. Additionally, the office releases the updated Top 25 poll to all media outlets in the coverage area.


The staff has finalized the game notes packages and publishes them to the website. In addition, the staff mails out the paper version to all media outlets who have requested them in paper form. Then, an e-mail campaign is completed, sending out the PDF files to media outlets nationally.

The office also is ensuring that catering has arrived for Coach Skip Holtz’ weekly press conference and luncheon. As part of this weekly event, the staff has confirmed player attendance for the press conference; physically set up press conference particulars (podium, backdrop, audio tools); welcome media to press conference. The office then introduces Coach Holtz to kick off the luncheon.

Meanwhile, the staff is arranging one-on-one interviews with Coach Holtz and players after conference, ensuring Coach Holtz is on the weekly Conference USA Coaches’ Teleconference at 2:05 p.m.

For home games, the staff would also send institutional credentials and parking  passes to opponent via overnight delivery service. Further, if it is a television game, the staff sends information packets and newspaper clippings to announcers and production crews via overnight delivery for their prep work and they schedule a briefing session with TV talent for later in the week and discuss arrival time; cover practice and handle post-practice interviews; compile practice report for dissemination.


If it’s home week, the staff spends part of Tuesday beginning development work on meida flip cards. They also are sending out credential and parking pass request (institutional and local media) to opponent for following road game (allowing a 12-day turnaround), if applicable; cover practice and handle post-practice interviews (this day presents traditionally heavy TV coverage); compile practice report for dissemination.


Midweek, the staff completes the flip card information. If travel arrangements allow, the staff arranges with visiting SID to pick up weekly game notes at the stadium for press box package; get travel/dress list for upcoming game; cover practice and handle post-practice interviews (another day of traditionally heavy TV coverage); compile practice report for dissemination.


Game day is approaching, so on Thursdays, the staff updates injury information from the sports medicine department and completes duplication of all materials for pressbox packet (game notes, flipcards, etc…); start preparing for pressbox operation (gathering office supplies, duplicated notes and flipcards, backup stat forms, participation charts, etc…); secure opponent computer roster file to import into statistical laptop.

Additionally, the staff has also already started thinking about the next game, preparing for Sunday’s operation (finalize call-in times with opponent SID and advance work for the next weekly game notes package; arrange details of exchanging stats Saturday night); finalize travel/dress list for upcoming game; confirm catering arrangements (if home game) for pressbox; cover practice and handle post-practice interviews; compile practice report for dissemination.


Some 24 hours out, staff is working on completion of all work for pressbox informational packet, collating, etc.; finalizing seating chart and placards; handling pre-game interviews and/or production meetings for any announcer crews for Saturday’s game, if applicable; preparing and printing media roster, seating chart and seat placards; Delivering last-minute credential requests to will-call window; setting up pressbox (phones, stat monitors, tape down seating placards, check copier, load Pepsi cooler, etc.).


It’s Game Day and after a week of preparation, the staff is actually kicking it up into a higher gear, arriving at work at least five hours before kickoff. Once inside stadium, the staff is welcoming media and showing the visiting SID the facility; reviewing post-game interview plans; double-checking flipcard/starters with Coach Holtz or coordinators during player warm-up period.

In game, while they certainly are enjoying the Pirates play, they are hard at work printing statistics, quote sheets and game notes for dissemination; posting story and stats on website as soon as humanly possible; coordinating post-game interviews with Coach Holtz and requested players in the Ward Building; escorting Coach Holtz to taping of weekly television show; cleaning up the pressbox and media services (wait until the last reporter leaves the pressbox).

Once back in the office, the staff begins preliminary work on Sunday’s game note package; cleaning up the office and filing away all appropriate equipment and information; receiving next week’s opponent game and cumulative stats and updating depth chart after the completion of their game (reciprocate with similar ECU information); making copies and delivering to each coach’s office for use early Sunday morning when they arrive.

So, there it is, in a nutshell the week in the life of a staff that all the while is responding to media requests for photos, stats, interviews with players from every hometown on the roster, not only for football but from every sport.

Anyone who has been in the pressbox on game day is amazed at how well these people are able to turnaround well-typed, detailed play-by-play, statistics, notes… almost instantly. Imagine… journalists not even having to keep their own stats.

For a small staff… they are getting it done, in the true tradition of East Carolina.

Send an e-mail message to Ron Cherubini.

Dig into Ron's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 02:06:19 PM

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