This week, the WRD Alumni Spotlight features New Media Studies graduate Brendan Bergen. He currently works in Athletic Communications at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
What have you been doing professionally since you earned your degree?
After graduating, I accepted a position in Athletic Communications at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. In my role I serve as our department lead for website/digital content and social media strategy, while also performing a traditional public relations role for our sports teams on campus. One of my favorite parts about the job is directing our “BarrackX” social media internship program. Essentially, I get to teach a group of undergrads how to think creatively about social media content and then direct the team on gameday at Xavier.
What is a typical day “on the job” for you?
One of the positive things about my profession is no day is ever really the same and there really isn’t a “typical” day. During the sports season, I juggle many responsibilities. That includes writing press releases, covering home and occasional away sporting events, coordinating staffing/scheduling for those events, monitoring social media/web analytics, putting together weekly reports and nominating our athletes for awards, as well as planning and creating content for GoXavier.com and our social media platforms.
Some days, I sit at a desk all day and respond to emails. Some days, I update record books. Some days, my job is really exciting and allows me to travel with our teams. This past year, I was fortunate enough to travel along with and direct digital content for our men’s soccer and men’s basketball teams as they made separate runs to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
How did your education from DePaul influence what you’re doing now?
I knew coming into the program that I was on the right path professionally, but I definitely needed to expand my digital “toolkit.” I think, after finishing undergrad with a history degree, having a more relevant advanced degree made me infinitely more marketable. While my previous work experience might have qualified me for many jobs within the sports media field, I think my education at DePaul really put me in a good position to understand and sell my strengths. Ultimately, that’s what helped me secure a job offer.
What were the most helpful courses you took in NMS?
Both graphic design classes I took, especially Text and Image with Professor Dush were helpful for me. I use principles from those classes every single day, especially when designing social media graphics or doing any kind of web design.
Multimedia Content Strategy with Professor Dush was also extremely helpful. I found it to be very valuable to have the opportunity to work with Chicagoland non-profits on putting together a viable content strategy. I used a lot of what I learned in Multimedia Content Strategy to help reshape what we’re doing at Xavier, and it has resulted in a ton of growth for us on social media.
Finally, our final portfolio seminar with Tony was indispensable. I heard many compliments on my website throughout the interview process and think it’s absolutely essential for anyone trying to break into the new media/sports world to have a similar showpiece.
It’s not enough anymore to just tell a prospective employer what you can do, you need to be able to show them!
What advice would you give to a NMS student who would one day like to work in job like yours?
Be willing to do anything to get in the door and then never give up. It’s easy to get disenchanted, but hard work and talent are almost always recognized and rewarded.
Once you land a position, never stop learning or you’ll get left behind.