Emmy Award-winning ESPN producer Bryan Jaroch ’97 stopped by his alma mater on his way to up to Syracuse to cover the Jan. 28 Syracuse University vs. Notre Dame basketball game. In a talk hosted by the Career and Life Outcomes Center and Hamilton’s New York Film & Television Student Alliance, Jaroch described his journey from the Hill to ESPN studios, and gave advice to students interested in pursuing similar careers.
Jaroch, who majored in psychology, said that he thought it would be pretty easy to get a job coming out of Hamilton. Unfortunately, after graduation he realized that wasn’t the case. Hoping to find his dream career in TV production, Jaroch said he “took whatever job I could,” working freelance in Boston. Jaroch admitted that he had begun to lose faith that he would end up on his imagined career path when he took a full time job in advertising on Cape Cod. It wasn’t until he was literally in the car driving to the Cape that he got a call from CBS Sports, offering him a one-month position that included no guarantee of being hired full time. Jaroch decided to take the risk, and chose the temporary position at CBS over the secure job in advertising.
That decision paid off, as Jaroch was soon hired full time by CBS Sports, and then offered a job by a contact he had made at ESPN. Enticed by the upward mobility of jobs at ESPN, Jaroch decided to accept the offer and began at the “lowest rung, a temp production assistant” in 1999. He quickly worked his way up the ladder at ESPN to his current position as a producer, covering such events as the FIFA World Cup, the Masters, college football, college basketball, and more.
Jaroch explained that “My job, whatever sport I’m on, is to drive the content for that telecast. Execute that telecast.” This includes making many decisions and having responsibilities such as whether to go to replays, run a graphic or set up interviews and handle situations when something goes wrong.
Jaroch then turned his focus to the students in the room, asking, “Why are you guys here?” As students answered, a theme became clear; everyone wanted to know about the path to get into production, reporting and broadcast television.
esponding to these queries, Jaroch said, “I meandered my way into this job, there’s no set road, everyone took a different path,” referring to the eight Hamilton alumni working at ESPN. The Hamilton graduates had a variety of majors and, now work in jobs ranging from business analysts, to editors, writers, producers and directors.
“How do you get a job? Just try and get in the door and make an impression. Every opportunity you can, make yourself known,” advised Jaroch, adding, “initiative and drive, that’s what separates people.” He added, “It’s the same as how you get into Hamilton. You separate yourself.”
Emphasizing the importance of experiences, Jaroch advised students to take any opportunity they could to get involved in their interests, as he did in his time at Hamilton working as an unpaid intern at local TV and radio stations. “The biggest thing is building those relationships, making those connections. It’s you …don’t rely on your parents or anyone else,” he urged.
Jaroch advised that even if a job is not exactly what one wants, it should be done to the best of one’s ability. Using evidence from his own experience, Jaroch recounted his time logging tape. Though far from his dream job of producing live events, “I told myself I’m going to log this tape better than anyone else,” he recalled. That made an impression on his boss who quickly came to Jaroch with more opportunities. “You don’t need to know what you want to do” Jaroch assured the audience. “You’ll learn those other skills on the job” he claimed, “just remember, each step of the way, separate yourself.”