Christiana Johns, an alumna from the graduate Journalism program
here in the College of Communication, has been making an end run to
success in the field of sports media relations. After graduation, she
found employment in New Orleans with the Sun Belt Conference
Alongside her work with Sun Belt, Johns has spent time working in the
press boxes at both the BCS National Championship held at the Superdome
and the Sugar Bowl.
For this Alumni Spotlight, Johns
shares memories of her experience here at DePaul, while also offering
students valuable advice for working in media relations.
How did you find your way toward the work you're doing in athletics media and press relations?
By chance. I came to Chicago to explore my options and to gain
experience wherever possible, so when I had the opportunity to work with
the United States Olympic Committee, I jumped on it. I was invited to
Vancouver along with six other DePaul graduate students to work with the
USOC during the 2010 Winter Olympics, and I loved all of the behind the
scenes work to make sports events happen and promote them through the
media. The experience led me to working in college athletics.
What professional insight did you gain from working on the Winter Olympic crew?
We worked with the USOC staff for three weeks helping write feature
stories, acquiring quotes, editing copy and managing the online press
box and breaking news feed on Twitter. Just being there and networking,
seeing how these large sporting events work and what goes into them was a
You originally had a goal of working as a journalist. What led you from that to public relations?
More opportunities. I enjoy being a part of the event-planning process more (for example, planning conference championships).
One of the greater concerns for students
on the verge of graduation is how to achieve to their professional
goals. They're armed with the knowledge, practical experience and a
diploma, but how does one use all these to a professional end in your
Good grades and classes only take you so far. The more "real world"
experience you have in communications, the better you're equipped to
prepare for events, a crisis, etc. Graduate school is really what you
make of it, and if you're willing to put in the work and take advantage
of the opportunities presented to you, you'll be better off when it
comes time for not only finding a job, but doing it well. Taking
advantage of internships and making the sacrifices to get as much
experience as you can will make you better off in the long run. I can't
stress enough how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity