Veteran ESPN analyst Chris Berman visited USD Monday to lead several workshops and press conferences, along with being recognized for winning the 2016 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media.
To begin the day, Berman held an “On Air Talent Tips for Sportscasters” workshop with students in an introduction to mass communications class.
Berman spoke about a variety of topics, including how he began his career with ESPN in 1979, what important steps he completed to prepare before covering games and how he stuck with his decision to work with ESPN even though it had just started several months earlier.
He finished the session by answering questions from students.
Next on Berman’s schedule came a panel discussion with Gene Policinski, COO of the Newseum Institute, Erik Thorstenson, KSFY-TV Sports Director, Hailie Meyer, PR & Social Creative Strategist and Jay Elsen, Midco Sports Network play-by-play announcer.
Policinski moderated the panel and took questions from the audience. Questions included topics such as how the panelists had faced doubt early in their careers and where they believe the field of journalism is headed.
Following the panel discussion, which was only open to media & journalism students, the conference room opened up to all students to sign autographs and take pictures with Berman.
Sophomore Max Seward, a business management major, said he thought it was great to see such an iconic face come to USD.
“I think it was cool to see someone that a lot of people recognize come in and give great advice to the people that were able to take advantage of it,” Seward said. “He was very down to earth and personable, so he had a lot of good things to say to everyone as well as to each person individually.”
Later in the evening, Berman gave his speech, “He did ‘go all the way’ – for 40 years!” to a crowd about 200 people inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
The speech was open to the public and was attended by students, alumni and members of the community.
Berman spoke about how his career had begun with uncertainty, but he stuck to what he loved to do. Part of his advice for young professionals was to take advantage of opportunities as they come along, because they may be more difficult to come by in the future.
“If you don’t dream big when you are young, you may not have enough time to dream later,” Berman said during his speech.
Sophomore Trevor Carlson, an economics major, said he thought Berman’s advice was very insightful.
“I think he really gave a lot of good advice on how taking a chance on a job that may flop, but is following what you love, and could give you experience valuable to your career,” Carlson said. “He showed that following your dreams can prove all previous doubts wrong.”
In Berman’s time with ESPN, he’s covered the Super Bowl 34 times, the MLB All-Star Game 30 times and the World Series 29 times, while also hosting several shows during his 38-year career.
Berman received the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media in June at the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C.