Monday, May 27, 2024

Athlete on the track to a future in sports broadcasting

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Sam Graham’s tenure at the University of Lynchburg exemplifies a balanced pursuit of academic excellence and athletic commitment. During his collegiate years, the Lewisville, North Carolina, native and member of Lynchburg’s Class of 2024 has navigated a diverse array of academic and extracurricular avenues.

Graham’s degree is in communication studies, with an emphasis in convergent journalism, complemented by a minor in English. Throughout his academic journey, he says he has been guided by dedicated faculty members, notably Dr. Ghislaine Lewis, whose mentorship has contributed to his professional development.

“Dr. Lewis has had the largest impact on me, as I have taken numerous classes with her as she has guided me through my convergent journalism emphasis,” Graham said. “She has fostered my interest in reporting and journalism.”

Sam Graham ’24 (below) and teammate Chasen Hunt ’26 (above) pose for a media day picture.

Likewise, Lewis shared her own experience with Graham in her classroom. “He was always a joy to have in the classroom. He was inquisitive, always prepared, and genuinely enjoyed the work of being a student journalist,” she said.

In addition to his communication studies major, Graham is a Westover Honors Fellow. Recently, he completed his thesis on journalistic integrity in podcasting. As he puts it, it gave him the chance and ability to “fully develop the thesis into something I was happy with and I was able to get a little further than the surface level.”

With his future plans, internship experience, and classroom research, journalistic integrity was the natural subject for his thesis.

“As a newer medium, there are still many who don’t take podcasting seriously from a critical perspective, which combined with low barriers of entry and sparse fact-checking and regulation, can become a breeding ground for misinformation in certain genres,” he said.

Graham’s commitment to Lynchburg doesn’t end there. Along with being an honors student, he was a member of Lynchburg’s cross country and track and field teams.

“I’ve met a lot of my best friends, seen some awesome places, and gotten to take place in a lot of unexpected experiences,” he said. “Our team is incredibly close and Jake Reed is the best coach I’ve ever had, across all sports.”

Graham’s love for sports guided him throughout his time at Lynchburg. In addition to competing in cross country and track, he also was involved in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. He even became its president his senior year.

Athletics also led him to join the Lynchburg Hornets Sports Network and work as a reporter and analyst. The job entailed “writing assignments, such as recaps, previews, and blogs,” he said recently. “So, balancing those responsibilities with my academic load has been tough at times but incredibly rewarding.”

He added he is grateful for the opportunity to work for LHSN, as it has given him many friends and the experience “to travel around the state and country to see new things, meet new people, and gain valuable and applicable experience that I will take with me as I leave school this month.”

After graduating this week, Graham will go to Roanoke to work as a news reporter for WFXR, the local Fox station in the Roanoke/Lynchburg/Danville area. In addition, he plans to explore play-by-play broadcasting opportunities on the side.

His advice to future Hornets: “Don’t waste a second sitting on your hands and get out there and get active, in whatever form interests or sounds right to you. Be present where your feet are.”

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