Chandler Harris ('12) | M.A. in Communication
B.S. in Broadcast Journalism, 2010
Pursuing Master's Degree in Communication
Chandler Harris has known for a long time that journalism is his calling. From editing high school videos to landing internships with prime networks ESPN and CBS, he has a feel for what it takes to succeed in a business that's all about the rush of the moment.
"Growing up, I just loved journalism," he said. "One of my talents is video editing, and that drew me to journalism."
That passion for filming and editing stories led him to a prestigious internship with ESPN in New York City in 2008. Chandler lived in New York for three months while he worked on E:60, the sports version of 60 Minutes. His favorite memory from that internship is working on a piece about David Tyree of the New York Giants.
In 2009, Chandler landed another internship with CBS 11 in the sports department, where he edited clips for the nightly news and went out on assignments with the crew to interview sports figures.
"Going out on assignment was my favorite part - getting to be in the field, balancing being a fan and being professional," he said. "I enjoyed just seeing what those people's lives are like and what they do every day."
Chandler's education in the broadcast journalism department at ACU helped him do an excellent job at both internships. It's indicative of his interests that his two favorite classes in the department both have to do with TV and studio production.
"You kind of get a feel of what it's like to be in a TV studio in those classes," he said. "And it helped me in my internships to know what equipment to use and how to work it."
Although Chandler loves the video production side of the journalism business, he also recognizes the importance of being a good writer. He credits journalism professor Dr. Kenneth Pybus with improving his writing skills - as well as being his favorite professor.
"He basically taught me how to write," Chandler said.
Four years of working for The Optimist, ACU's campus newspaper, also helped develop his writing skills. Chandler wrote for the newspaper for three years in the sports section and spent one year serving as assistant sports editor. He was the beat writer for volleyball, softball and intermural sports, which meant lots of interviews with coaches and players after games.
"It's helped me in everyday life and in grad school to be a good and talented writer," he said.
More to accomplish
When he graduated from ACU in 2010, Chandler wasn't sure that it was time to move away. The job market was still reeling from previous economic shocks, and he felt that he had something more to do at ACU.
"I love ACU, and I just wasn’t ready to leave yet,” he said.
He applied to ACU's graduate program for communication and was offered a graduate assistant position. He's been pursuing a master's degree for the last year.
"It makes me more well-rounded," he said. "And I love teaching - that's something I found out through this degree. I just love connecting with the students."
Chandler's assistanceship involves taking attendance, grading and teaching occasionally. He also works at the Speaking Center, where he'll serve as student director next semester. For him, the best part about being a graduate assistant is working with students, primarily freshmen.
"It feels good to help them," he said. "It's like an extra reward."
He's also beginning work on his thesis, which is tied to baseball and deals with themes of public memory, shame and scapegoating. He's examining how one public mistake can change the public's perception of a person forever, using examples of a fan, an umpire and a player who all made very public mistakes in the world of sports.
"I wanted to write about something that I really care about," he said. "I want something I can be proud of."
Chandler isn't sure what jobs he'll find available when he graduates in 2012, but he hopes to find something that combines his interest in sports and his talent for writing and video editing. He's already working part time for CBS sports, covering PGA golf and NFL football games. He also got to work for the NFL network during the last Super Bowl in Dallas.
"That was a great experience," he said.
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