Career advice from sports media class

CATEGORIES: Student Perspective
sports media podcasters
Greenlee alumni Kevin Fitzpatrick (left) and Jared Stansbury hosted an episode of their "Stan and Fitz" show for the Cyclone Fanatic podcast network in an ADVRT497K class on Nov. 19. Photo courtesy of Beth Haag.

By Hannah Allen, junior in journalism and mass communication

Last semester, Jared Stansbury and Kevin Fitzpatrick of the Iowa State University athletics fan site Cyclone Fanatic were guest speakers in our ADVRT 497K class, Sports and the Media in a Digital 24/7 World. Stansbury is a 2016 Greenlee School journalism grad and the managing editor of Cyclone Fanatic. Fitzpatrick is 2015 journalism grad who does freelance reporting and podcasting for the sports news organization. After giving us some career advice, they hosted an episode of their Stanz & Fitz podcast in class. In today’s blog post, I will connect their advice back to themes covered in our class.

Study those you look up to.

The first thing Stansbury told us was to find the people we want to be like and read/listen/watch everything they do and try to pick up tidbits and use that to help formulate your own style.

In class, we have had the opportunity to talk to so many different people in the sports industry. Each person has had a very different daily routine, whether it’s Andrew Temperly who gets to travel with a team as a social media manager, or Jamie Pollard, who works in an office and makes some of the biggest decisions regarding Iowa State University athletics. We can learn from each and every one of them by just listening to their experience.

Soak it in.

The second piece of advice Stansbury gave us was to become sponges. He told us that meant when you have the opportunity to talk to somebody in the job you want, you should ask questions and listen to them.

When Stansbury gave us this piece of advice I automatically thought of John Walters, Voice of the Cyclones. Walters told us he learned the most from the late Pete Taylor, his predecessor. This also connects back to our class because it’s not every day that we get to talk to industry professionals like Bret Gilliland, the Deputy Commissioner of the Mountain West Conference and a Greenlee alumnus, so when we do get these opportunities it’s important that we listen to what they have to say and that we do ask questions.

Embrace the lifestyle.

The next piece of advice was sports is a grind. “If you can’t embrace the grind of it then you’re going to have a really hard time,” Stansbury said. This has been a common theme from our guest speakers. From alumna Kayci Mikrut, Associate Director of Digital Communications and our first guest speaker, to Stansbury. Every single person has said working in sports is tough.

Do the work.

Stansbury’s next piece of advice was internships. He said there is no better way to learn than being boots on the ground, getting the stuff done. Three classmates and I all had an internship for the same company last summer, and I think we can all agree with Stansbury’s point. You learn the most when you’re getting hands-on experience.

This class has opened so many doors for our class. We have met and talked to so many different people in the industry who will be great connections to have as we prepare for our own careers. Cyclones love helping Cyclones. That’s something we’ve heard a lot this semester, so if it’s a job shadow, an interview, an internship, or even a full-time job, our guest speakers have said they’d be willing to help.

Be authentic.

His last piece of advice was to be yourself. I think this is something everyone in our class has been able to do. There are so many different personalities in our class, but we are all able to express ourselves week in and week out. From playing trivia to looking at old newspapers, our class has grown into more of a family. I know it’s cheesy, but I really do think we all have each other’s back and when it comes time to be out in the real world one of our classmates or guest speakers might just be the ones helping us because Cyclones love helping other Cyclones.

ADVRT 497K is a special topics course offered on a rotating schedule by the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and taught by Beth Haag, Greenlee assistant teaching professor and former associate director of communications for Iowa State Athletics. Students in the fall 2019 course heard from a variety of guest speakers working in sports media, including many Iowa State Greenlee School alumni. If you’re interested in joining a new Iowa State Sports Media Club, contact