Adam Moussa is a recent graduate of the College of Communication and Information. He entered the master’s program with a concentration in journalism and electronic media in the fall of 2012 with a passion for sports journalism and feature writing. He graduated the following summer with a master’s degree and a job lined up as a digital media associate at ESPN. He began his career in August.
Hear from Moussa why UTK was a good fit for his academic and professional ambitions.
Why did you select the University of Tennessee, Knoxville for your graduate studies?
At UT you have the coalescence of one of the nation’s premier academic brands along with an athletics program that competes in the NCAA’s top sports conference. For aspiring sports journalists, that combination presents a number of opportunities to cover athletes, coaches, and events without ever leaving campus. Judging from the program’s alumni— Paul Finebaum, Ryan McGee, Woody Paige, and Gene Wojciechowski— I knew Tennessee’s journalism program put an emphasis on producing top-notch sports journalists.
CCI’s master’s program offers two tracks: professional and research. Which did you choose and why?
For me, one of the most attractive aspects of pursuing a master’s degree within UT’s CCI program was the ability to earn an advanced degree in one calendar year. The self-paced professional track allowed me to refine my skills in an expedited manner, while simultaneously gaining invaluable work experience with the two official game day programs of the Tennessee Athletic Department, Tennessee Insider and Tennessee Playbook, as well as UTSports.com.
What was your project for the professional track?
For my project, I assembled an online portfolio that features the majority of my writing samples, and essentially serves as an online résumé. This gave me the chance to provide practical, “real world” examples of how my skills translate to professional settings, and present that content to potential employers. Along the way, I learned a tremendous amount about web design and HTML coding. The project transcended its original purpose, and has become a portfolio that I will continue to maintain and update throughout my career.
How did the JEM program prepare you for becoming a digital media associate at ESPN?
During my time on Rocky Top, I developed an increased understanding of the environment and culture that exists in sports media today. There is a demand for journalists who can tell a great story, but do so in a more concise and clear manner with emerging technology. At Tennessee I was able to work towards becoming the best storyteller I can be.
What advice do you have for journalists considering graduate school?
I urge students to clearly define their goals in earning a graduate degree prior to enrolling in classes. Identify how those goals and your personal values align with the institutions and programs that you are considering. Also, understand that no one person’s path is quite like another. Everyone, and every program, is unique.