Aniekan Okon on Taking Sports Media from the Classroom to the Front of the Camera

For sports media and journalism double major Aniekan Okon, getting on camera to cover exciting events such as high school championships, the NBA draft, and the Patriots’ training camp is just business as usual. So far he’s been able to hone these skills inside and outside the classroom, including as a sports intern with ABC6 in Providence this past summer. “I’ve always seen myself working in front of the camera as a sports reporter/anchor, and to be able to go through the daily routine of helping Nick Coit and Ian Steele put together a 4-6 minute sportscast as well as working on stand-ups and anchoring was exhilarating and extremely rewarding for me,” Okon says. “My experience this summer at ABC6 was the most fun I’ve ever had, but more importantly, it gave me the confidence that becoming a local TV sports reporter is something that I can achieve in the future.”

Back on campus, Okon has used the skills he learned at that internship in his work as the sports editor for the The Good Five Cent Cigar, URI’s student newspaper, and as anchor and reporter for The Five Cent Cigar Newscast’s “Rhody Sports Corner,” a weekly sports segment that highlights athletes, teams, and other sports figures on campus. “The sports media and journalism majors have supplemented what I’m learning in the classroom with what I’ve learned through clubs and internships,” Okon says. “With concepts like AP style, inverted pyramid and television terminology, I can take what I’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to the Cigar and teach others.”

For prospective and current students who are interested in getting involved in sports media and journalism at URI, Okon encourages a leap of faith: “The Harrington School isn’t like other schools where you have to sit behind upperclassmen and wait to get the big opportunities. You can create those opportunities for yourself as early as your freshman year.” And while the community on campus is what attracted him to URI during his visits as a prospective student in the first place, he is even more aware of the importance of the support and networking available on campus now: “During my three years at URI, I’ve been constantly reminded that there are people who want to help you achieve your goals and will remind you how far you’ve come,” he adds. “From peers, professors, supervisors from internships or people that work in athletics, they will advocate for you as long as you commit yourself to working hard.”

-By Anna Gray