ASU Broadcast Journalism School names ESPN presenter to Hall of Fame
Laura Latzko • College hours
Mall graduates of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication continue to make their mark in broadcast journalism.
Former student Matt Barrie did so as a presenter and host of top sports news channel ESPN.
Barrie recently became the most recent member of the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
He is the 50th person to be inducted into the Cronkite Hall of Fame and joins Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julie Cart, Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall and CNN International presenter Becky Anderson.
The Cronkite School will be holding an induction ceremony later in the spring.
Barrie says being inducted into the Cronkite Hall of Fame is a great honor for him because of the value he places on his education.
“It makes more sense than you might think to be recognized by my alma mater among the greats that have come out of this school,” said Barrie.
“Being in the same hall of fame as them is really something I never expected at this point in my career. It means a lot because I hold the university in high regard. The fact that it is mutual is something special for me.
A graduate of Saguaro High School, Barrie continues to be very proud of his alma mater and strives to uphold the values imposed on him as a student.
“I am very proud to be originally from Arizona, very proud to have graduated from Arizona State University and very proud to have graduated from a school like Cronkite because of the reputation that it has in the industry and also has the name attached to it, “says Barrie.
Barrie, who works as a college football studio presenter and host for ESPN, graduated from ASU in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.
He was an athlete himself, playing football and baseball in his youth, and his love of the sport inspired him to work in the industry.
“I stopped growing up in high school. I wasn’t going to be one of those great athletes, but I knew I loved being around the sport. I watched the local Phoenix news while growing up. I said, “It’s a cool job to be able to cover local news and local teams and sports.” So I always wanted to do that, ”says Barrie.
Working at ESPN often involves long days, but Barrie loves what he does.
A typical day for him when he’s on “SportsCenter: AM” starts around 3:15 am During college football season, he often works from 11:00 am to 2:30 am the next day, Saturdays.
For ESPN, he covers different sports but specializes in college football and golf.
Focusing on two sports allows him to deepen the stories, especially for a niche sport like golf. He also gets to know athletes and coaches on a deeper level.
He tries to take a more personalized approach to covering the sport.
“I like to think of them as people first, professional athletes second. I think you understand better who they are as individuals and separate them a bit from their careers when you get to know them, ”said Barrie.
At ESPN, he takes on different roles: hosting in the studio for college football coverage, calling college football games, serving as an anchor for “SportsCenter: AM”, hosting “SportsCenter on the Road” and co-hosting the podcast of golf “Matty and The Caddy.”
He won 11 Emmy Awards and three Edward R. Murrow Journalism Awards.
He joined ESPN in March 2013 after working as a presenter and reporter in Dallas; Colombia, South Carolina; Wausau, Wisconsin; and Lawton, Oklahoma.
Throughout his career he has covered college and professional football teams and attended major sporting events such as the Big 12 Championship Game, the BCS National Championship and the Independence and Liberty Bowls.
Barrie also covers major golf events such as the Masters Tournament for ESPN.
Most recently, he covered the National College Football Playoff Championship between the LSU Tigers and the Clemson Tigers.
He says covering major college football games has allowed him to see just how much those wins mean, not just for teams, but for entire cities and states.
“You understand how passionate people are about sport and what a particular team means to a community and what a particular team means to a state. What LSU just did and what it meant for the state of Louisiana, you would be amazed. It’s a football team, but a football team is a whole state, ”says Barrie.
Plant a seed
ASU helped give a foundation in Barrie. He gained valuable experience at ASU, as an intern covering local teams such as the Phoenix Suns.
“It taught you what it’s like to be in a locker room after a game and you’re trying to get a post-game story and a post-game interview. You have to see the hustle and bustle of covering a professional sports team, ”says Barrie.
He says this hands-on experience helped him prepare for a career in broadcast journalism.
“I felt upon leaving Arizona State that I was ready to begin a career based on the opportunities that were offered to me in college. When I was given this first job, it didn’t seem too overwhelming, ”says Barrie.
With ESPN, he traveled to Arizona a few times for bowl games and spring baseball training.
He returned to give a speech at the Cronkite School graduation ceremony and to participate in the school’s Must-see Monday speaker series.
Brett Kurland, director of sports programs for ASU and the Cronkite News-Phoenix Sports Bureau, got to know Barrie.
Emmy Award-winning sports producer Kurland says Barrie is a strong role model for ASU students because of his accomplishments.
When he visited ASU for Must-see Mondays, Barrie spent several days at Cronkite School, visiting classrooms and working with students.
“He’s really determined to help mentor people and share all the wisdom he can. He is really very committed and is an incredible role model for our students. He really sets an example for them and helps show our students what is possible, ”says Kurland.
Barrie has also mentored ASU students who have interned at ESPN, teaching them the importance of being professional and prepared and having a strong work ethic.
“There is a lot of preparation to be done. There’s a lot of research going into it, and there’s a lot of work going into it, ”says Barrie.
At Cronkite School, Barrie learned to be responsible for his work, to be a responsible journalist, to make strong contacts and to maintain a good reputation.
Kurland says that like Barrie, the other students at the school are learning to become skilled journalists. They learn valuable skills such as how to write well, conduct good interviews, identify good sources, and write compelling stories.
“You have to be able to engage your audience, come up with interesting story ideas, and not just make the same story as everyone else,” says Kurland.
Barrie is a testament to how the school’s hands-on learning approach enables graduates to be successful in fields of their choice, Kurland said. He says it also takes hard work, dedication to the craft and joy in his job, which he sees in Barrie.
“We are very proud of what we do at Cronkite School, and we are so proud of Matt, to see what he has accomplished,” said Kurland. “It’s so exciting for us to welcome someone like Matt to the Hall of Fame.” CT