The Sports Specialization: Spring Training for JMS Grads

By: Cletis L. Fox


Being born into a New York Giants season- ticket holding family, Johnny DiNapoli, ‘16 has always been a diehard sports fan. As a freshman taking the infamous Expository Writing course, DiNapoli penned a paper on Yankee Stadium that pointed him towards the Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) major. Now he’s in the early stages of a flourishing career in sports journalism.

“Sports are a very serious subject and have a large part in our media and society,” says Steve Miller, director of the JMS undergraduate program. So it’s not surprising that Rutgers developed a specialization in Sports Journalism for interested JMS majors. Within the specialization, students can learn many different facets of the industry including, but not limited to, writing, television production, and photography. Miller sends daily emails with internship opportunities to JMS students and SC&I offers up to three credits for both paid and unpaid internships.

Toward the end of completing his degree and specialization, DiNapoli interviewed for a writing position as a Media Relations Intern at Fox Sports in New York City. His soon-to-be bosses were impressed by the fact that he went to Rutgers and by the amount of writing he had done in class. After accepting their offer, DiNapoli was soon working twice a week with publicists and the head of communications for Fox Sports New York City.

In this position, DiNapoli was responsible for putting together twice daily reports of when Fox Sports was mentioned by other sports news outlets. These lists were compiled and distributed to all Fox Sports’ offices in every media market, including the headquarters in Los Angeles. DiNapoli was also responsible for creating content for the company’s website. This included writing stories and media releases regarding programming and company news. He also created biographies for on-air personalities such as Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, who appear on the hit show Shannon and Skip Undisputed.

“I’m really glad I learned the writing skills I did at Rutgers,” he says. “Every job you have, you’re always going to be writing and you’re always going to have constant communication with people.”

DiNapoli specifically mentioned the JMS course Public Relations and Information, where he learned how to write press releases, feature stories, and boilerplates. DiNapoli also praised the course Multimedia Sports Reporting taught by Part-Time Lecturer Michael McCarthy, who also writes for Sporting News and is a frequent contributor to Fox Sports. The two ended up coming into contact during DiNapoli’s time at Fox Sports.

“During the World Series, I was on a conference call with MLB players John Smoltz, Alex Rodriguez, and Frank Thomas when Professor McCarthy gets on the phone and starts asking the players questions about the Series,” notes DiNapoli, “It was so cool to hear a professor I had last semester in the action doing real sports reporting.”

DiNapoli is currently interviewing for full-time positions and feels confident that his time at Rutgers will serve him well. With his passion for sports, JMS degree and Sports Specialization, he might just be the next Bob Costas. .