By Ben King
Working in the sports media industry is not a profession for everyone. You have to make sacrifices when it comes to family events or vacations to pursue a career in sports journalism.
For someone with a passion for journalism and sports like Ole Miss grad Brandon Dunn, the experiences the job creates are worth it, but he still manages to make time for his family.
Over the past 25 years as a sportscaster, Dunn has worked across the country to attend events the average sports fan could only dream of watching live. The Dallas, Texas native is the interim athletic director of WPDE-ABC15 in Myrtle Beach, SC, and spends his days covering sports while married with three children.
Like many students, he didn’t know what career to pursue when he arrived on campus and arrived at his career through a circuitous route.
“When I went to Ole Miss, I was going to be a business major,” Dunn said. “The idea was to get a business degree and then go into my dad’s business in Dallas. I started taking business classes and realized that wasn’t my cup of tea.
But then Dunn spent time at home after his freshman year, and friends suggested a new career path.
“I came home between my freshman and sophomore year and tried to figure out what I wanted to do. I was with some friends and they told me I should consider streaming sports,” Dunn said. “So I went back to Ole Miss and decided to give sports broadcasting a whirlwind, signed up for my classes and changed majors.”
Entering the world of sports journalism can be daunting and new journalists may have to cover more than just sports when they first start out. While her first college news gig was on News Channel 12 at Ole Miss, Dunn had to work her way through the athletic department.
“Sport was a big thing back then. Everyone wanted to do some sport a bit like they do now,” he said. “At the TV channel, I had to wait to play sports, so I started to anchor the news. Once the sportsman left, I was able to work my way up to the sports position.
After News Channel 12, Dunn got an internship at CBS’ Memphis affiliate WREG and explained how the Channel 12 experience and his journalism lessons prepared him for the next step.
“Everything I learned at Channel 12 and in my journalism classes, the practicality of filming and editing videos, gave me the opportunity to freelance for WREG because their sports director trusted enough to do so.”
Dunn is proof that if you want to succeed in sports journalism, it’s important to learn as many skills as possible. Developing these skills has helped Dunn seize opportunities to cover incredible moments throughout his long career, including his all-time favorite event.
“My favorite is the College World Series. It was 2016 when Coastal Carolina won it, and the year before I went with them to regional against Texas A&M, and I got to know these guys personally. of that team,” Dunn said. “They all came back the following year, so I had a great relationship with those guys. So just being there in Omaha and seeing these guys win all of this was by far the greatest thrill of my career.
Dunn gave some starting tips for any recently graduated student trying to start a career in sports journalism.
” Keep the direction. There will be a lot of hurdles in the road, you’ll hear more ‘no’s than ‘yes’ in terms of jobs and opportunities, and you can’t let that get you down because you will,” Dunn said. “It’s a hard work that is difficult, time consuming and stressful at times, but also rewarding.”
Dunn received advice from a fortune cookie about a year ago, and he keeps the message on his computer as a reminder of his career.
“I opened [the cookie], read it and decided to keep it on my computer,” Dunn said. “Fortune says, ‘You will reach your goal if you stay the course,’ and I see that every day. I know that if I want to achieve my goals, I have to stay the course.