Alumni Q & A: Nery Rodriguez, Multimedia Journalist at Jersey Sports Zone

Nery Rodriguez is currently a multimedia journalist for Jersey Sports Zone. He graduated from Rowan in 2017 with a B.A. in Journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @RUneryrodriguez

NeryWhat’s something you love about your job?
I go somewhere different each day. The fact that I don’t punch in or sit in an office, and I get to work from home is a plus to my job. But I really enjoy that every day I will be interviewing someone new, seeing different scenery and I get to interact with players and coaches from different communities. The other part of my job that I love is I get to see high school talents that are committed to big time college programs. It’s great to watch them grow in terms of their athletic careers and people as they start a whole new chapter of their life.

What skill(s) have you learned at your job that you believe will help you or has helped you in the field you are in?
I’ve learned how to be a better video journalist — camera positioning, where to stand, head room, etc. But some of the most useful information is common sense and learning to not get overwhelmed such as if something doesn’t go your way. If you miss a shot or you don’t have a great standup, you have to keep going. Aim to do a great job every time, but if it’s not your day don’t be discouraged and hang your head.

What is your biggest challenge at your job?
The biggest challenge I have at my job is trying to educate people on our site and what we do. Jersey Sports Zone is a company that started out just filming high school sports in Monmouth and Ocean County as “Shore Sports Zone.” This year the company went state wide, and I was hired as one of their first employees.

How has Rowan’s journalism curriculum prepared you for this job?
I love Rowan. I owe my talent and everything I have received from this job to my many professors. The curriculum prepared me for real life scenarios and helps me at my job every day. You can’t teach experience, but everyone at Rowan makes sure you have a good understanding of what to do when those key situations arise.

Has social media played a large role in your career so far? How has it helped/hurt you?
Social media for me used to be posting where you are, what you’re doing and activities you enjoy. It is still very much the same, but I’ve learned it’s more about selling yourself. I want to gain more followers so people can become more familiar with me so I created a professional Instagram where my friends, coaches, players and parents can interact. It’s easy to get in trouble with social media so I’m very cautious of what I put out there. Also I learned the power it has in terms of sharing content and our stories have reached a lot of people thanks to our dedication on social media.

Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists/journalism majors?
First, if you want something in this career field, you can’t be consumed by fear. We all get nervous or scared of failing, but don’t let that get in the way of what you are capable of. My first time going on live TV for Fox 29 I was terrified, the girl who put on my mic asked me, “Have you ever been on TV before?” I said, “No.” And she said, “Well, when that red light goes on in about 15 seconds you’ll be live.” That in itself made me perform under pressure and ease my thoughts.

Second, work hard. Don’t lose your opportunity to someone else because you didn’t prepare enough or didn’t take your assignment seriously.

Finally, don’t listen to the naysayers. People will always tell you what you can and can’t do, but if you have a vision, stay focused and work hard you can achieve that goal. I had a person I interned under say it would be too hard to break into sports after graduation, especially on camera and to not get my hopes up. I appreciate everything they did for me, but I think I’m doing all right.


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