Centennial Journalism Student Becomes the Social Media Voice of the Blue Jays
How does it feel to land a job with a major league baseball team before graduation? Ask Richard Lee-Sam, a recent Centennial College Journalism alum and the new social media correspondent for the Toronto Blue Jays.
This is not Lee-Sam’s first experience with baseball media. Before his job with the Blue Jays, he worked for the baseball sites Jays From the Couch, Baseball Prospectus, and Blue Jays Nation, where he learned how to tweet for a broad audience of Jays fans. In his new job, Lee-Sam covers games on social media, monitoring channels and posting content appropriate to the team’s voice and brand.
Thank you to our veterans for their bravery and sacrifice.— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 7, 2019
We're proud to honour them on the 75th anniversary of D-Day 🇨🇦<ahref="https://t.co/NQbZeQDGUn">pic.twitter.com/NQbZeQDGUn
While Lee-Sam’s baseball experience equipped him with knowledge of sports media, Centennial’s Journalism program helped him hone his ability to write for a range of outlets. Tim Doyle, the Journalism Program Coordinator, instilled in his students the value of effective short-form writing. “[Tim’s] love for keeping writing concise is something I think about all the time because it’s my job now,” says Lee-Sam.
The program also prepared Lee-Sam for the professional aspects of sports journalism. “They call you journalists, and they treat you like it,” he says. Professors are generous with advice and encourage students to pitch their work to real publications. In fact, Lee-Sam credits conversations with professors Ellin Bessner and Tim Doyle as key sources of inspiration in his professional journey. “Every time I questioned myself because of a real barrier I had,” he says, “I would often get a kick in the pants and words of encouragement.”
On his last day of class, Lee-Sam saw the job posting for the Blue Jays social media position. Intrigued, he reached out to a baseball contact who had worked with the team. After a long Twitter conversation, Lee-Sam realized that he would be the perfect fit for the job. He took the plunge and applied. After a series of three interviews, he was welcomed to the Major League Baseball social media team. “Without that one conversation,” says Lee-Sam, “I would have probably told myself that I wasn't ready and to wait another year. Thankfully, because of that, I now have both a career and a new friend.”
When he received his job offer, one of the first things Lee-Sam did was to draft a thank-you email to his professors. For students who wish to pursue a similar career, Lee-Sam has these words of wisdom: “I would say find something you love so much that you never get sick of it. The field does look scary, but there will always be jobs if you get creative, look hard enough and are determined to be different.”
By Gabriel Holt