Dakota Palmer graduated from Newhouse in 2019 with a master’s in magazine, newspaper and online journalism [MNO] with an emphasis in sports communication. Prior to receiving her degree, Palmer interviewed with the MLB Network and was offered a broadcast associate position.
“Don’t be afraid to try everything, even if it means you fail at some things. There are so many opportunities at Syracuse, especially for people who want to pursue careers in sports journalism; you just have to put in the work.”Dakota Palmer G’19
While at Newhouse, Palmer originally wanted to be an investigative reporter but discovered her passion for sports production when she shadowed the ACC Network during her spring semester. Additionally, she served as a high school sports reporter for Syracuse.com, a writer for CuseNation.com and was the lead sports producer for TheNewsHouse.com. Her skills with video editing and storytelling and her drive to seek out opportunities and foster connections have led her to where she is today.
How did you obtain your current position, and what positions did you hold before it?
In March, MLB Network held interviews on campus. About two weeks after my interview, I received an email to set up a call with one of my interviewers. During the call, I was offered a broadcast associate position. While attending Syracuse, I was a high school sports clerk and reporter for Syracuse.com, a writer for CuseNation.com and the lead sports producer for The NewsHouse. Whereas my job now is mainly video editing, the three positions I held during grad school were writing-based. However, both are good forms of storytelling, regardless of the medium or platform.
What’s an average day like for you on the job? Take us through it.
If I’m assigned to a studio show, which is 90 percent of the time, then the highlight supervisor for said show assigns me various videos to cut. Most videos are 15 seconds, but others can be 10 seconds, 30 seconds or even a minute long. An example of a video I would put together could be “Pete Alonso home runs.” Once I’m assigned a video, I search through our database for the necessary small clips to piece together to create one cohesive video that fits what the highlight supervisor and the producer are looking for. Then, while our network talent is talking about Pete Alonso’s record-breaking 44 home runs this season, my video will play on the screen as they’re discussing it. After our show is over, we may have special projects to work on depending on the time of season: the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, Players’ Weekend, etc.
How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current position?
At Newhouse, I quickly adjusted to working in a fast-paced environment with quick turnaround for stories, which really helps me in my current position because sometimes we’ll have only a few minutes to put together a video before it’s supposed to air. Additionally, both professors Terry Egan and Olivia Stomski really taught the importance of storytelling. Nearly anyone can put together some sentences and call it a story, but it’s a special craft to make people care about a story. Specifically, Professor Stomski’s Sports Production class was incredibly helpful, because she ran her classroom like a production meeting at all times. This now mirrors my day-to-day experiences at MLB Network.
What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it in the first place?
Newhouse has a reputation for being one of the best journalism schools in the world. I didn’t feel as though I was ready to enter the job force after earning my B.A., and I wanted to attend a grad school where I could get hands-on experience, no matter what path I chose. Additionally, the professors have spent decades in their fields, so I knew I’d be learning from the best.
What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field that students ought to be aware of?
I think some popular misconceptions are that people who work in sports get to play around all day and not do work. While I do get paid to watch baseball, I assure you that television is incredibly high-stress at times. There are times when you’re too busy to use the restroom for a bit because you’re cutting back to back-to-back videos that are about to air. While working in sports is fun, it definitely has its times where it’s non-stop, fast-paced work.
What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining thus far?
My very first day, I took a really long time to cut a video and it was a little discouraging, even though I was still learning. Now, I cut really cool videos that are featured on the MLB team’s social media accounts and my supervisors trust me with more difficult projects that I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing a few months ago. It’s also really cool to walk down the hallway and run into people like former professional athletes like Mark DeRosa or Bill Ripken.