It’s all about making connections. This is a lesson EC Alumna Cali Jones ’18 learned early on during her time at Emmanuel College. That piece of advice is what she believes led her to her current role as a Live Content Correspondent for the National Football League.
Originally from Fernandina Beach, Fla. Cali’s family moved around a bit as her father served in the Navy.
She lived in Guam for the majority of her life, crediting it as the place where she grew up and got into sports. One specific sport Cali enjoyed was Volleyball, which led her to Emmanuel College in 2013 on a Volleyball scholarship.
“I remember we almost didn’t visit Emmanuel because I had a few other offers, but I had a good feeling about it,” Cali said. “We took a campus tour and I immediately fell in love with it and had a feeling this was where I needed to be.”
Cali’s interest in photography and videography began at Emmanuel.
“I originally was a Sports Management major,” she said. “When I found out about the Communication Department and the Digital Media Production pathway, I decided to make the switch. I’ve always been a fan of movies and sports, so I was drawn to that area.”
Immediately, Cali felt at home.
The Communication faculty, Jennifer Benson, Dr. Terilyn Goins, Paula Dixon, Anna Shelton and Clint Ross not only taught Cali the skills she would need to have a successful career in Sports Communication but acted as mentors to her by answering her questions about what she could do to stand out among the crowd.
One question Cali continued to ask of her professors is what type of internships she should be applying for, and when she should start looking.
“I took Mr. Ross’s “Go and Get It” attitude back home with me to Jacksonville, FL,” Cali remembers. “I went out and asked questions, emailed people, and hounded them.”
Cali eventually found her place with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, where she interned in the summer of 2017.
“It was such a cool experience to be gathering videos and photos of players, the stadium, anything they wanted each game to be used for their social media to help them gain exposure,” Cali said. “You’re helping them and are a part of that whole industry there. I came back after that summer with more knowledge and a better idea of what’s involved in sports communication.”
After graduation, Cali moved back to Jacksonville, taking the skills and advice she had gained at Emmanuel with her.
After only a month, Cali received an email from her internship coordinator at the Jumbo Shrimp, with an opportunity she couldn’t turn down.
“He said that someone from NFL had emailed him looking for people to fill a position,” Cali remembers. “He asked if it would be okay if he mentioned me, and I said go right ahead! The job wasn’t listed anywhere, it was based strictly off recommendations.”
That month, Cali was hired as a Live Content Correspondent. Although she works directly for the National Football League, she spends most of her time covering the Jacksonville Jaguars and their opponents.
“We have two bosses from the NFL who communicate with us before every game on what the teams are looking for that day,” Cali said. “We send whatever they need in live action, as soon as possible to them so that the Jaguars, the opposing team, and the NFL can post the content on their social media platforms.”
Cali’s work has even made it on ESPN and NFL Network in the form of highlight/promotional videos.
Although she arrived at Emmanuel knowing how to operate a camera, Cali credits her time in the EC Communication Department for helping her understand the technology behind videography and photography.
“I wasn’t sure how to use the software, or how to edit videos or photos,” Cali remembers. “My professors taught me how to do that and it really has helped. In my job, we’re having to edit photos and videos, we have to know how to use these cameras correctly, edit sound and footage, and know how to upload our footage. I didn’t know how to do these things until I arrived at EC.”
What advice would she give students looking to enter the Sports Communication field?
“While you’re in college, get involved in as many internships as you can,” she said. “Even now, I’m on phone with people from the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, and Carolina Panthers, asking questions on how they got to where they are and what steps I should take.”
Make connections. That is the greatest piece of advice Cali Jones has received in her short career, and for her, this focused attitude began with a professor who urged her to go and get it. Her time at Emmanuel led Cali to believe there’s no dream too big, and she’s just getting started.
To view Cali’s work visit her website at http://calibrookejones.wixsite.coom/mysite