By EmmaKate Few, Class of 2020
As a journalism student at SMU, Brooke Williamson ’13 worked hard in the classroom and on the sidelines of football games as a student reporter. She credits her time at Meadows for providing her early career opportunities to broadcast football games as an intern for the local CBS, FOX and ESPN affiliates.
At SMU, Williamson wrote for The Daily Campus and anchored SMU TV’s The Daily Update. In addition to the editing, writing and producing experience students gain during class, Williamson understood the importance of taking full advantage of extracurricular programs available in the Division of Journalism that would prepare her for the real world following graduation. Or in Williamson’s case, even before graduating.
“Meadows at SMU is the perfect size to get real experience,” Williamson said. “The professors have ridiculous connections, so if you work hard in class, you can use their real-world connections to get incredible opportunities.”
These real-world connections landed this sports enthusiast an internship at ESPN in Austin as an on-air radio personality the summer before her junior year. Williamson graduated from SMU a semester early to begin work immediately, broadcasting for ESPN radio from the sidelines of college football games, filming a pilot for her own sports TV show and traveling.
Just two weeks before her show’s premiere, ESPN’s major budget cuts revealed a shift in the industry. Options for viewing sports had expanded. With the rise of NFL RedZone and similar platforms, there were no longer just a few major media networks. Her show never aired. She considered pursuing a career in a bigger media market, but her love for Dallas and a desire for financial stability kept Williamson here. She continued working for ESPN but switched to a part-time position, and became the director of marketing for The Associates, a brokerage firm specializing in the luxury real estate industry. Her expertise in television production, sports and the entertainment industry translated into the communication skills she would need to succeed in marketing.
“It all comes down to being a solid communicator that a wide audience can understand,” Williamson said.
As a part-time sideline reporter for ESPN, Williamson’s role is to explain and give context to the plays and players of the game to make them clear to even the most novice sports fan. She uses these same skills in her full-time job as director of marketing for The Associates, making the brand relatable to a wide range of demographics.
At SMU, Williamson focused her studies on broadcast journalism. However, the Journalism Division’s initiative to prepare students to work in both digital and broadcast is a part of what made her marketable as a young journalist.
“Writing is the basis of all communications,” Williamson said.
The core curriculum’s writing and editing lab may not have been one of Williamson’s favorites while studying at SMU, but she now acknowledges the necessity of being an effective writer as a broadcaster. She also sees the benefit of the ethics class taught by the division’s chair, Tony Pederson, in her advertising career. Advertising, unlike journalism, allows for the enhancement of images. Williamson believes she has an advantage with her understanding of the historical events that shaped the ethical standards of convergent media.
These days, Williamson returns to the sidelines at SMU for many major sporting events where fans can spot her on the video board as one of the faces of SMU Athletics.