Fairfield University has long fostered a Jesuit education focused on building a strong foundation for its students’ future careers. With impressive programs in the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, the Charles F. Dolan School of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences, Fairfield provides its students with the necessary tools to advance their careers. This has been further solidified by Fairfield’s decision to create a new major and minor in sports media. Headed by professors Adam Rugg and Matt Tullis, this new program hopes to give those interested the ability to critically and thoroughly analyze sports. The sports media industry is one of the biggest and most competitive fields that one can enter. It is often the dream of many sports-loving young men and women to secure a job at ESPN or NBC Sports. While Fairfield has long had a successful sports management program at the Dolan School of Business, the University has never really had a program that taps into this specific industry. The new sports media program will do just this, and will build a strong foundation for those willing to compete in such a competitive career field. 

We’re very excited to launch the sports media program here at Fairfield. Our new major and minor will allow students to learn the practices, skills and knowledge that make up sports media, while also engaging them in critical analyses of sports and social issues,” Rugg shared via email. “With sports taking a central place in both popular culture and national politics, our new program will produce students ready to thrive in this dynamic, complex environment.” 

There are several key skills that Fairfield hopes to give its students through their completion of the sports media program. Students will learn how to examine sports critically, not just at face value, and how to recognize the intersection of social, political and cultural life. This skill in particular will be crucial in the tumultuous climate in which the country currently stands. Students will learn how to critically examine multiple fields related to the sports media industry, such as commentary, journalism, reporting and broadcasting. The major exists to prepare students for a career in the real world of sports, so defining all aspects of the broad sports media field is very important. Participants will also come to fully understand the complex relationship that exists between all levels of a sports program, such as the fans, athletes, owners and business partners. It is important for those in the field to recognize the dynamic among all aspects of a sports program so that they are able to provide accurate and thorough coverage. 

            The requirements for the sports media major have been carefully selected to ensure all bases of sports media education are covered. The core curriculum consists of 15 credit hours, or five courses, that cover different aspects of the sports media industry. Courses such as “Introduction to Sports Writing” and “Sports Journalism” exist to give students plenty of experience in the writing aspect of the field. The “Sports, Media, and Culture” and “Sports Media Industries” courses provide students with the ability to examine sports critically, tapping into a deeper cultural and social meaning when covering sports. To round out the core, “Sports Broadcasting and Remote TV Production” gives students the ability to learn all about what goes into the production side of sports, and how companies such as ESPN run their programs and provide their coverage. Electives of the 200 or 300 level complete the rest of the degree, which include courses such as “The Power of Podcasting” and “Literary Journalism.” While these classes do not all deal primarily with sports, students will become well-rounded in all forms of media and consequently be more comfortable with the media industry as a whole. The final step in completing a sports media major at Fairfield University is an internship or independent writing assignment. There is only one required course, or three credit hours, applied to this section of the degree. Fairfield University’s close proximity to many powerhouse sports media companies, such as ESPN, NBC Sports, and Yes! Network means that students will have the opportunity to work a meaningful and high-level internship. A minor is also available in sports media, with only nine required core hours and six required elective hours. An internship or independent project is not required for the minor. 

            Overall, Fairfield University’s newest major and minor program looks to greatly improve the University’s already very impressive catalogue of degrees. Students will leave the program fully prepared to take on the challenging field presented by the competitiveness of the sports media industry. Equipped with the knowledge that comes with completion of the major, Fairfield students should have no issue breaking into the field in larger numbers than ever before. 

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