Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

Thriving On New Turf As the only intern for the Arena Football League's communications coordinator, journalism major Jimmie Johnson '20 has been able to pitch and create his own multimedia content.

jimmie_johnson-800x533 Thriving On New TurfJimmie Johnson ’20 (pictured with his trademark jug of drinking water) puts his journalism skills to work for the Arena Football League.

Jimmie Johnson ’20
Hometown: Hoover, Alabama
Major: Journalism

What factors led you to choose W&L?

I choose W&L because it would prepare me for the future through rigorous classes and a robust alumni network, while also allowing me to continue my athletic career in football and track. Additionally, when I came for my visits, everyone my family and I talked to were open and genuine about the school. These interactions went a long way in my decision process and made my parents feel comfortable about sending me nine hours away from home.

What made you decide on your major/minor?

I decided on the journalism major by chance. I came into college thinking I wanted to do sports psychology, but after taking a cognition class I soon realized that was not something I could see myself doing. I don’t remember why I enrolled in my first journalism class, but the ability to communicate myself rather than memorize things intrigued me. Now, a couple credits away from the major, I’m glad I found the right path for me.

Tell us about where you’re working and what kind of work you’ve been doing this summer?

I am interning with the Arena Football League, assisting the company’s communications manager. I have done a little bit of everything when it comes to media. Some large projects I have worked on include pitching and creating a podcast named AFL All-Access, creating video content for the social media channels and writing feature stories on players. Some of the more day-to-day tasks include listening in on three to four conference calls a week, managing the weekly distribution of fan prizes and tagging game photos.

What courses have helped prepare you for this internship?

Jour 202: Intro to Digital Journalism prepared me immensely for this internship. The class exposed me to things such as video editing and podcast creation. So, it has been great to take my knowledge from that class and apply it to the Arena Football League.

Jour 258: Beat Reporting taught me how to handle pressure and how to manage multiple assignments at once. My supervisor is always checking in to make sure I’m not overwhelmed, and I always chuckle and say I thrived in Beat [Reporting], I’m A-OK!

What’s been your favorite part about working for the Arena Football League?

The freedom. I am the only intern with the communications coordinator, so I can pitch and create anything I want as long as I have her approval. This has allowed me to stretch my creative muscles and create cool football-related multimedia content for the league.

How has this work impacted your career goals?

Working with the AFL has helped me realize how much I enjoy working in sports. Watching weekend football games is part of my job!

Has anyone on campus served as a mentor to you?

I haven’t had any specific mentors but many of my teachers and coaches have been instrumental in helping me develop throughout my college years.

What would you say to a prospective W&L student who is deciding whether or not to apply or attend here?

W&L has all the resources available to allow one to make the most of their college experience while also setting one up strongly for life after college. There are a wealth of opportunities, but it’s up to the individual to decide how they want to navigate them.

More About Jimmie

What is your personal motto?

“Not throwing away my shot”- Hamilton

What’s the best place to eat in Lexington?

Napa Thai all day!

What do you order?

Chicken pad Thai with the spice tray

If you could recommend one film or book to everyone, what would it be?

“The Incredibles.” That film is elite.

Favorite W&L event?

WLU Carnival

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I was originally born in Silver Springs, Maryland. I lived in Maryland for 10 years.

Favorite class?

Intro to Political Philosophy with Professor Stuart Gray

Favorite W&L memory?

All my experiences in D-Hall

What are your post grad plans?

I want to work somewhere in the realm of sports. In what area, I am still deciding.