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Giving His Best in Sports Journalism

News Story

James Best ’18 had his sports journalism dreams come true when he had the opportunity to intern in the NBCSports.com newsroom.

James Best ’18, a communications major with a minor in sports marketing, set out last fall to achieve his dreams of working in sports journalism, interning with NBCUniversal and NBC Sports Group as a digital and editorial intern with the NBCSports.com newsroom—an internship that he says changed his life.

“Ever since I was young, I wanted to have an impact through the thing I was most passionate about, and to receive that chance to make an impact in sports media has truly been a blessing,” Best says.

His quest for pursuing his passion through NBCSports.com began when he received an email from Handshake saying NBC was seeking fall interns to work with the NBC Sports Group. Knowing his love of sports and journalism, Best said he took every measure he could to try to secure the coveted position.

He contacted Career Services and his advisor, Susan Eisman, informing them he was extremely interested, sending in his resume, and then sending in the application to NBC Sports Group. Knowing that every connection counts, Best met with Eisman and he sent an e-mail to the recruiter of NBC Sports showcasing why he would be an ideal candidate, which led him to landing an internship.

“I feel it was because of my relationship with my advisor over the course of my three years at Pace that I could stand out as a candidate with a referral from Career Services and advance in the interview process,” Best says. “Without the help of Career Services, I would have never received this internship, and I cannot thank every single person inside of Career Services enough for helping me get this opportunity.”

In his role as a digital and editorial intern at NBCSports.com during the fall semester, Best was assigned a variety of responsibilities, writing search engine optimized headlines, descriptions, and posts; embedding media into posts for professional, college, and other sports; promoting posts through social media; working with directors and managing editors to produce an NBC Sports Ever Wonder video; making marketing pitches to increase viewership; and even updating NASCAR racing statistics and analytics throughout the playoffs and championship chase.

Through all of these responsibilities, Best says one of the most valuable lessons he learned was the amount of attention to detail you need to have to become a professional journalist or editor. While he had some skills as a writer coming into the internship, he says he struggled at times with seeing the little things, such as grammatical errors and spelling certain players’ names correctly.

“I realized I had to push myself to get better at recognizing that the little things matter, and that in this profession, you’re going to make mistakes,” Best says. “But it’s about learning from your mistakes—that’s how you get better.”

One of Best’s most memorable moments from the internship was when he received an e-mail from the creator of the NBC Sports ProFootballTalk blog, reporter Mike Florio. Best wrote a headline and a description for a video of Florio’s interview with the NFL New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and e-mailed the ProFootballTalk staff with the information.

A few minutes later, he received an e-mail from Florio asking whether the video was of the whole interview or just the piece on Payton talking about replays.

“I was really excited to receive an e-mail from him because I probably sent three or four videos to ProFootballTalk daily, and this was the first time I received something from the boss,” Best says.

Best says he then checked Twitter about an hour later and saw that ESPN’s Saints beat writer Mike Tripplet saw the video of Payton and wrote a story about it sourcing ProFootballTalk.

“I felt so proud of the work I had done for one of the first times during my internship,” Best says. “In the profession I’m in, we don’t really get that much recognition for the things we do, but I knew that on that day, I contributed to helping two professionals project important information to a worldwide audience.”

Best attributes his success at NBC Sports to his decision to come to Pace and his journey on the Pace Path.

“My decision to come to Pace is the reason I am where I am today, and the University was vital to my success because it offered me the resources and support necessary to succeed in my academic and professional career,” Best says. “Each step on my Pace Path, including my involvement on my school newspaper, The Pace Chronicle, guided me to where I am, and when I look back, I’m thankful to sit and reflect on how it all lined up.”

For students looking to land an eye-opening internship experience like Best’s, he says his greatest piece of advice is to work hard if you want to make it in any field.

“Through it all, I remembered that no matter what I do, I’m going to work hard and give 110 percent effort,” Best says. “I know it is so cliché to say you have to be a hard worker, but to be honest, work ethic is something special that employers look for in students.”

Best is completing another internship with NBC Sports through the spring semester. As for his future goals with NBC, Best says he hopes to work with the NBC Olympics newsroom assisting in coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and obtain a full-time or part-time position working with a professional company in a newsroom in the future.

“After this internship, I really think about my life, my education, and the workplace differently, and realize that my passion and enthusiasm can always drive me to become successful in anything I go into in the future,” Best says.

Have a cool internship you want to share with the Pace Community? E-mail us at URnews@pace.edu.

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