By Ben King
Working in the sports media industry is not a profession for every person. Sacrifices must be made when it comes to family events or holidays in order to have a career in sports journalism.
For someone with a passion for journalism and sports like Ole Miss graduate Brandon Dunn, the experiences created through the job make the sacrifices worth it, but he still manages to make time for his family.
For the last 25 years as a sports broadcaster, Dunn has worked all around the country attending events the average sports fan could only dream of watching live. The Dallas, Texas, native is the acting Sports Director for WPDE-ABC15 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and spends his days covering sports while being a married father of three.
Like many college students, he didn’t know what career to pursue when he first came to 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 graduate with a business degree and then get into my dad’s company in Dallas. I started going through business classes though and realized that this wasn’t my cup of tea.”
But then Dunn spent time back home after his freshman year and some 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 said I should consider sports broadcasting,” Dunn said. “So I went back to Ole Miss and decided to give sports broadcasting a whirl, registered for my classes, and changed my major.”
Getting in the door of the sports journalism world can be daunting and new journalists may have to cover something other than sports when starting out. While with his first news gig in college was on News Channel 12 at Ole Miss, Dunn had to work his way into the sports department.
“Sports was a big thing at the time. Everyone wanted to do sports kind of like it is now,” he said. “At the TV station I had to wait to get into sports, so I started anchoring the news. Once the sports guy left, I was able to wiggle my way into the sports position.”
After News Channel 12, Dunn got an internship at WREG, the CBS affiliate in Memphis, and explained how the experience from Channel 12 and his journalism classes prepared him for the next step.
“Everything I learned at Channel 12 and in my journalism classes, the hands-on aspect of shooting and editing videos, gave me the opportunity to freelance for WREG because their sports director trusted me enough to do it.”
Dunn is proof that if you want to be successful in sports journalism, it is important to learn as many skills as possible. Developing those skills helped Dunn seize opportunities to cover some amazing moments throughout his lengthy career, including his all-time favorite event.
“My number one favorite is the College World Series. It was 2016, when Coastal Carolina won it, and the year before I went with them to the Regional versus Texas A&M, and I got to know those guys personally on that team,” Dunn said. “They all returned the following year, so I had a great rapport with those guys. So just to be there in Omaha and watch those guys win the whole thing was by far the biggest thrill of my career.”
Dunn gave some parting advice for any student who has graduated recently and is trying to get a career started in sports journalism.
“Maintain the course. There will be a lot of bumps in the road, you’re going to hear ‘no’ more than you hear ‘yes’ in terms of jobs and opportunities, and you can’t let that get you down because it will,” Dunn said. “It’s a cutthroat business that is hard, time consuming, and stressful at times, but it is also rewarding.”
Dunn received some advice from a fortune cookie about a year ago, and he keeps the message on his computer to serve as a reminder about his career.
“I opened [the cookie], read it and decided to keep it on my computer,” Dunn said. “The fortune reads: ‘You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course’ and I see that every day. I know that if I want to obtain my goals, I have to maintain my course.”