Published: Jan. 17, 2024

By Hannah Stewart (Comm’19)

The Olympics. The Super Bowl. The Final Four. The Stanley Cup Final. 

Alumni from the University of Colorado Boulder have made their mark reporting on and working in the sports world. Many are award winners—including National Sportswriter of the Year—and many more have seen their love of the game reach millions of fans worldwide.

That track record of excellence led the College of Media, Communication and Information to develop its sports media minor, which prepares students for careers in sports, whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera. Students take classes covering traditional topics, such as writing and broadcasting, but also courses that look at sports from academic and business perspectives. 

And while a signature feature of the program is the opportunity to connect with the world-class alumni network in sports, there’s much more to the minor.

“Networking is just one of the components,” said Marina Dmukhovskaya, associate director of the sports media minor. “It’s also about finding their niche. By having a variety of classes, both conceptual and skills heavy, it can offer them a great choice.”

Interested in this minor?

If you are a CMCI major, you may discuss and declare the minor with your CMCI advisor. You can also declare by filling out a minor form online.

For students outside of CMCI, the minor can only be declared once you’re enrolled in CMCI 2001: Intro to Sports Media Practices. 

Media studies senior Kennedy Pickering credited the minor with helping her discover her niche. She came to CU Boulder because she was interested in the relationship between people and social media. Thanks to the minor, she has had the opportunity to create replay packages for a CU volleyball game; develop technical skills, like working a camera; and network with media professionals when CU Athletics hosted Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff pregame show.

“With the sports media minor, I’ve been able to take classes that gave me more hands-on experience, like Sports Writing and Sport Broadcasting,” Pickering said. “One of my professors is in charge of BuffVision, and through him I’ve been able to work with the camera. At first, I wanted to be a sideline reporter, but then I realized that being on the screen was not for me.” Her goal now is to work in social media for the NFL or Nike.

Community through sport

More than 200 CU Boulder students are currently enrolled in the minor. Not all are athletes, but most aspire to work in the industry, like Eli Grimm, a lifelong figure skater who wants to get into the sports communications field. Beyond their own interests in athletics, Grimm said they see sports as a way to create impact because so many people engage with sports. Even less-mainstream events like Formula 1 races have become more popular thanks, in part, to the Netflix series Drive to Survive.

“Sports are a platform for mass communication. In the Sports Writing class, I got to write about the events I was already watching,” said Grimm, a senior majoring in strategic communication who learned about the program after arriving at CU Boulder as a transfer student. “It was nice to feel like the experience was personalized around my interests.”

“With the sports media minor, I’ve been able to take classes that gave me more hands-on experience.”
Kennedy Pickering, senior

Jacob Dilling, a junior studying communication and a member of the CU ski team, chose the sports media minor as a way to develop a fuller perspective of the industry.

“I still plan on skiing professionally after school. But I think this will help me build connections within my sport and other sports, so that once I’m finished, I have something to fall back on,” Dilling said.

Both students said one thing they enjoy most about the program is the challenge to explore new perspectives on sports and topics they are passionate about. Dmukhovskaya said that enthusiasm is a good indicator of their success after graduation. She herself has worked in the sports media world for years—in addition to covering the Olympics four times, she has been a media manager for the Russian Skating Union, worked with the International Biathlon Union and wrote for the International Paralympics Committee.

“Our students feel equipped, competent and confident as they are entering the job market,” she said. Just as important to their success, though, is the students’ enthusiasm for the course material—key for aspiring professionals looking to enter a highly competitive field.

Those aspiring professionals also benefit from the extensive network of media experts, who offer mentorship and exposure to career opportunities. Winter graduate Cassidy Davis (StratComm’23) said she found professional guidance from alumnus Mike Davies (Jour’94), an executive vice president for Fox Sports based in Los Angeles.

“The best part of my time at CU has been getting such broad experience, including public relations, sports media and graphic design,” Davis said. “Being able to study all of my little niches and learning how to put them together has made me confident about applying what I’ve learned at work.”

Join us for CU Boulder’s Sports Media Summit, featuring local and international media professionals. Explore topics like career advancement, new storytelling methods and the Colorado sports scene.

  • Open to alumni, the CU community and the public. Free to attend.
  • Feb. 23, 2024
  • UMC 235
  • 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Register now!