Grady InternViews: Harper Lawson

Journalism student Harper Lawson is a social and digital marketing intern for the WNBA team Dallas Wings. (Photo submitted / Graphics: Morgan Jones)

Grady InternViews: Harper Lawson

July 06, 2023

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.  

Harper Lawson is a fourth-year journalism student working with the WNBA Dallas Wings team as a social and digital marketing intern. Read on as she provides insight into what this internship looks like.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

As a social and digital marketing intern, my responsibilities include:
• Updating the team website with game photos, press conferences, and game highlights
• Research influencers to help boost fan engagement and promote theme nights
• Gathering and organizing photos, videos and tracking materials for recaps
• Going over social media analytics
• Filming, facilitating and editing Instagram reels
• Monitoring player stats for stat graphics
•Brainstorming captions, interview questions, and potential posts

What does the structure of your internship look like?
Photo of a person standing in front of a DSLR camera
Lawson works on her on-camera skills during her internship (Photo: Submitted)

I am in the office 4 days a week from 10-5. We work out of a main office and then commute during the day to basketball practice to record content, take pictures, mic players up, etc. Normally, every Tuesday after practice, I ask the players a “whiteboard question of the week.” I then record their answers, and we post a Reel. We usually have 4 games a week, but I only attend the home games. During home games, I record content during the game, monitor stats, and get prepared for post-game press conferences with the players and coach.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

So far, the biggest challenge I have faced is talking on camera. I have been practicing making pregame videos and scripts. It’s hard memorizing a script and then being able to recite it on camera. I’ve been practicing in hopes of building my portfolio and discovering what I want to do in my professional career.

What has been your favorite part about your internship so far? Tell us a story if you have one!

My favorite part of my internship has been the people I work with and the players on the basketball team. My supervisors are so knowledgeable, and I enjoy getting to make content with them. I can remember one week I was doing the whiteboard question of the week and I was talking to the players. Our franchise player Arike Ogunbowale answered my question for the video and then asked me what my name was. It was such a small simple thing but being acknowledged and getting to talk to the players is so motivating for me as an intern. I was also a little star-struck because Arike isn’t normally one to initiate conversation after practice.

How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?

My classes at Grady have prepared me in terms of software experience. By learning Adobe Premiere Pro and WordPress, I have been able to apply those skills to my internship. I have learned the WNBA’s template for WordPress and how to better navigate the software. My understanding of Premiere Pro has also helped me tremendously because we use it to cut my pregame videos together with press conference audio, highlights and b-roll.

What’s your advice to other students looking for a similar opportunity?

Don’t ever think your goals are too lofty to accomplish. If you put in enough work, you can do anything. You just have to advocate for yourself and put yourself out there. Networking is everything.

How will this role guide your future career path?
Photo of a basketball court with people sitting in a booth on their laptops
Lawson works during gamedays to produce social content for the Dallas Wings. (Photo: Submitted)

This role will hopefully help me narrow down what I specifically want to do when I graduate. That role could be sideline reporting, social media marketing/content or internal team reporter. The repetitions I am getting in front of the camera are invaluable in helping me gain confidence on camera and allowing me to build my portfolio. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, I will have more connections and a more solidified idea of where I want to go next.

What’s your career goal?

I’ve always wanted to be an ESPN sideline reporter. That dream has morphed into my end goal of being an internal reporter for a sports team. However, I am really open to doing any kind of reporting for sports teams. As long as I end up working in the sports industry, I will be happy. The work environment in the sports industry is unmatched. The hours can be long but the people in the industry are the most hard-working and enthusiastic coworkers I have had the pleasure to know.

What lessons will you take back with you to the classroom in the fall?

I will definitely take my knowledge of interview questions with me. Questions are the key to a successful interview. I have the opportunity to attend press conferences while news stations and reporters ask post-game questions, and it has helped me to learn what questions to ask. I will also bring back some new Premiere Pro skills that I have been learning. Premiere’s software is very useful, and I feel that I can produce even better content by better understanding some of its tools.

How has this role helped you discover what you are passionate about?

I have always known I was passionate about sports but I think this internship has solidified how much I enjoy Texas and has really helped me start planning for my future after UGA. It has also made me realize how many different roles I could potentially play in a pro sports team’s organization. I feel like I don’t have a set job I am striving for but it is exciting to see all the directions I could go.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Honestly, I thought about this question for a long time and then I realized why it was so difficult for me to answer. If I was younger, I would not have listened to advice from anyone. I was too hard-headed. But that stubborn quality is where I get my work ethic from. So if I had to give my younger self advice, I would say never stop working hard and never let anyone discourage you. Your dreams can come true if you make them.