Local Athletic Communications Departments Get Creative During Pandemic
Without live sports every day, athletic communications departments at CSS and UWS are getting creative to keep their content fresh and keep their communities engaged.
DULUTH, Minn. – As athletes and coaches have had their seasons taken away over the past few months, athletic communications departments have been the ones to tell the public.
“It’s absolutely terrible. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to put together. It’s something that can be a very short release and a very short post but I sat at there and I think I stared at the computer screen because there’s no good way to write it,” UWS Athletic Communications and External Relations Manager Jon Garver said.
Sports information departments have come a long way over the years.
“It’s definitely taken us from a position of just doing statistics and writing press releases to having to be able to be a little more versatile, a little more flexible and a little more complete, I guess, in what we put out to people,” Garver said.
“Writing the stories and setting up all of the webcasts and taking all the pictures and writing all of the bios and doing all the stats and all that stuff; it’s kind of the nucleus of an athletics department when it comes for information,” St. Scholastica Assistant Athletic Director for Communications and Game Management Jesse Robinson added.
Last week, the UMAC announced they’re suspending competition for the rest of 2020, so the daily jobs of SIDs have changed even more, as the departments at CSS and UWS are now getting creative.
“We’ll probably do more player profiles, maybe more marketing/recruiting material for perspective student-athletes,” Robinson said.
“Everyone in the athletic communications field has a wish list of projects that they’d like to do or stories that they’d like to do and this gives you the license to do that more or less,” Garver added.
And they’re doing all of this to keep student-athletes, alums and their communities engaged.
“This isn’t a time to be cutting in the communications field, this a time where I think you need to be investing in it. We don’t know when the end date is; this could keep going for another year and that investment we made here is going to pay dividends down the line because we’re going to be able to keep generating that content with the people that we have in place and some other places might not be because they only have one person in that shop,” Garver said.
Both SIDs are anxious for the tasks at hand but just like their athletes, they’ll be ready when sports return.
“It’s so exciting to think of that day when you’re going to get to see your student-athletes again doing what they came here to do, what they’re good at, what they’re passionate about and then give us that opportunity to do what we’re good at and what we’re passionate about,” Garver said.
“If it’s crazy busy and there’s game days every day from mid-February to mid-May, then it’s fine. It’s something where you take the down time now on some of these side projects that we’re doing but if it gets into January, February, March, April, May and we get to go-ahead to compete, then let’s do it, and we’ll be ready for it,” Robinson added.