native of Alpena blossoms in Ferris Sports cover | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo courtesy Barrett Jones, a native of Alpena, a student videographer in the athletics department at Ferris State University, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Communication and a minor in Multimedia Journalism from Ferris State on Saturday.

The love of the sport has been the constant for Barrett Jones of Alpena.

Figuring out how to apply that emotion and commitment to her learning kicked off a journey, with Ferris State University graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences on Saturday with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Communication and a minor in Journalism. multimedia.

Along the way, Jones would spend time playing football at Alma College and then earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Liberal Arts at Alpena Community College.

“I knew I wanted to work in the sport, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it would look like,” Jones said. “My friend from Alpena, Trevor Roznowski, threw the blow and the discus on the Ferris track team. He and another friend had a place available in an apartment in Ferris, so I decided to join them and continue my education in Big Rapids. It turned out to be a great choice, with plenty of opportunities to explore sports-related careers. “

With Ferris as his primary focus, Jones attended a presentation and campus tour of Dawg Days, where he met Sports Communications Program Coordinator Sandy Alspach.

“She was full of encouragement and information on how I could build my experiences, both inside and outside the classroom,” Jones said. “This meeting painted a great picture for my mom and I of the program, including how I could structure my specific interests through my minor. I started this part of my journey by joining Bulldog Radio, where I produced interviews with Ferris athletes, who evolved to work for Ferris State Athletics. It was the start of a great experience, seeing some of the early athletes I spoke with improve as competitors as their teams got bigger. It was a mix of good and bad because I got to see some spectacular moments, but in the end, seeing the end of my sports career was sad. “

Jones quickly discovered the roles of student workers who support the presentation of Ferris sporting events, both in terms of actual competition and in promoting the programs and the brand.

“Rob Bentley, the associate sporting director for communications, gave me a chance, which has presented so many opportunities over the past three years,” said Jones. “I would walk through a brick wall for him because he has allowed me to serve and learn in many ways. I am especially grateful for the learning that has come from studying the skills of my colleagues in athletics over the years. Connor Pyrc’s contributions as a hardworking student in the department were a prime example. Right before the (coronavirus) pandemic, I made the decision to follow his lead in terms of collecting and producing videos. We weren’t that close, but its content showed me what was possible, following this course for my career.

Pyrc is now Associate Director of Creative Video for the West Virginia Soccer Program, creating social media and TV content.

Jones said the focus on promoting all areas of Ferris’ athletic department is both a joy and a boon to his personal and professional development.

“With so many different sports and opportunities, I always find myself around our teams and their competitions,” Jones said. “I can’t beat the ability to produce content at a basketball game and then pack my bags and continue filming a hockey game the same day. “

To meet the internship requirements of the Sports Communication program, Jones had to undertake significant research and make his first daring pass. This found him in the High Plains in 2021, serving with the Bismarck Larks, a member of the Northwoods League based in North Dakota, where college baseball players compete in the summer.

“I learned through Ferris’ Sports Careers RSO about a virtual career fair hosted by Central Michigan University,” Jones said. “It was a Zoom room with all kinds of employers. A lot of them were offering operating positions, promoting ticket sales, but I tried to find a good fit for me. When I virtually met Nate Maddox of the Larks, I was able to make a connection with Michigan because he was a graduate of Central Michigan University. I let him know that I had worked a few softball games at Ferris, but wanted to broaden my experience in the sports industry. This led me to a second interview with the Alouettes and to the internship offer.

With the assurance of accommodation during his internship and a modest stipend, Jones dropped out and moved west, learning on arrival that the needs of the team would help him expand his skills and responsibilities. . Jones discovered that the student who had accepted a graphic design director position had chosen not to do her internship. Jones quickly stepped in to claim that role, along with the responsibilities assigned to him. He started creating player info graphics and other on-screen content, which is a crucial part of Larks streaming.

“When I was asked to take on this additional role, I accepted, knowing there would be a lot of work,” Jones said. “But, once I joined this team, I was absolutely determined to produce a great product.”

The Larks baseball shows have received nightly ratings from the Northwoods League, the source of various awards for the franchise since the team’s inception in 2017. Jones said he and his internship peers were hoping for another honor. would soon be coming from the NWL offices in Minnesota.

“Much of my content was valuable to the team’s sponsors, which was an important perspective to gain from the experience,” Jones said. “It’s important to create content for different stakeholders because it allows you to develop your type of product. I really enjoyed my time there; not all internships provide your accommodation. I have made contacts with colleagues with whom I am always friends as we advance in our professional careers.

As Jones comes to the final days of competition and his opportunities on the Ferris campus, he reflects on his success as a transfer student and contributor to Bulldog Athletics.

“I really felt like I found my real home, from the moment I arrived in Ferris,” Jones said. “I never felt like an issue or an academic ‘product’ because creating podcasts and working so closely with Athletics has helped me grow as a content producer. It was an adjustment. perfect, in terms of being close to my family, but allowing me the freedom to grow as a person.

It’s a unique arrangement that Jones is a “one-man shop,” creating packages of competitive highlights as a sports communications major with a multimedia journalism minor. Most of the students working in sports media have degrees in TV / digital media production.

“I had worked at WBKB, a TV station in Alpena which is small and local, but which provided me with a great opportunity,” Jones said. “I know the excellence of Ferris’ TV / digital media production program, but I was happy to have this experience at the station and truly believe my background has enabled me to achieve my unique personal goals. “

His dedication to gathering and producing content for Ferris ‘online platforms has been Jones’ goal, so much so that, as the playoffs continue and the fall semester draws to a close, Jones does not. cannot speak in absolute terms of his career path.

“Right now my focus is on giving all I can to Rob and the Bulldogs’ programs because it’s such an exciting and important time for our teams and their fans,” Jones said. “When our schedules finally become available, I will focus on securing my next role in the sports media industry.”

With his internship and college experiences, Jones said he hopes to find a media production position at the university, preferably in an institution’s sports department.

“Having this role has allowed me to learn a lot and create content that I think will resonate with potential employers,” Jones said. “It’s an asset to learn my trade around programs at Ferris that are so committed to excellence as a team and as competitors.”

The atmosphere and experience of college football are things I want to keep in my job, but I am ready to take on a challenging position so that I can establish myself professionally. Wherever the future takes me, I am optimistic that the wide range of experiences I have gained through Ferris will appeal to the places I am applying to.

“If Ferris Football makes it to the NCAA D-II National Finals, I’d love to be a part of the team’s traveling party and cover the championship game in Texas,” Jones said. “I have so much fun covering sports for Ferris, this competition would be really special for me.”

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