Caleb White, Online Editor
When it comes to breaking into journalism, the trick to sportscaster Mike Uva’s success was his simple grit and determination.
Uva, now the Director of Digital Content at GamecockCentral.com, is a former WACH Fox 57 sports personality well-known for his reporting on collegiate sports – most notably on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. One of his favorite stories was scoring the first interview with USC’s current head coach, Shane Beamer.
“This is an old Boston journalist trick. I just drove up, I had my SC hat on, I had my sunglasses on, and the beautiful thing with COVID is that I can wear a mask,” he said. “The security guards thought I worked for USC. I was able to drive in and park on the opposite building where football is. And I was camping out for that initial soundbite, knowing the plane would be landing not too far away. Later on I was able to talk to Coach Beamer one-on-one. Talking about that soundbite was a great icebreaker.”
As an Assumption University alum, Uva didn’t need any prestigious accomplishments to begin networking. “You don’t have to go to fancy journalism schools like Syracuse or Northwestern to be successful, you can go to a small school like Assumption and make it work,” he said. “Use the resources around you. I was approached by two students and we were able to create a sports TV show from scratch called ‘Reality in the U.’”
Another factor of Uva’s success is his ability to foster a social media presence on Twitter, with a verified account and over 21 thousand followers.
“I engage people online because it shows your viewers that you care about their voice. It gives you that pulse of what they’re feeling,” he said. “Additionally, it increases engagement. Every time you have a new follower, that’s a new set of eyeballs. That’s a higher likelihood they’re gonna click on your links.”
Some of the dangers with social media also help Uva to be accountable. “Some people just want to rile you up. Nine times out of 10, the person behind that screen has nothing to lose, and you have everything to lose. I’ve had two stalkers at the station during my time there,” he said. “Always be careful, especially when you’re in the news business. Some people take things personal. If you’re at the bar, acting like an ass-hat, somebody just needs to take a video and they can post that on social media.”
The secret for Uva’s networking is his gratitude. “The number one thing in life is about relationships. About staying consistent with them. The reason why a lot of my sources trust me is because I develop a relationship and ask them how they’re doing,” he explained. “I always make sure to send out handwritten thank you cards. Those things go a long way, and it separates you from the rest of the pack.”