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Published on February 13, 2020

ESPN Recruits Students for ‘NEXT’ Program

Eastern graduate Nick Aconfora ’15, program coordinator and training specialist at ESPN.

Eastern Connecticut State University hosted representatives from ESPN on Feb. 11 who informed students of a new program called ESPN NEXT. The evening included a presentation about NEXT, a review of ESPN video content and a Q&A session about the types of projects students would work on if selected for the NEXT program.

NEXT is ESPN’s premier leadership development program, based at the company’s Bristol, CT, headquarters. The program focuses on producing content for ESPN to air on its digital, linear and social platforms. Designed for college seniors and graduate students, the 13-month program is very competitive.

Eastern graduate Nick Aconfora ’15, an ESPN program coordinator and training specialist, shared the deciding factors for selecting applicants. “We do get a mass of applicants, about 500 to 600 — and we read through every single cover letter and resume," said Aconfora. "Your cover letter is what’s going to make or break you. If you write one heck of a cover letter, there’s a good chance you could get that interview.”  

Jack Petrucci ’20, who is currently the broadcasting director for Eastern’s ETV Sports television news program, started as an intern for ESPN in fall 2019 and has recently landed a job as a production assistant for the company. He shared with his peers how to build a foundation of sports broadcasting. “It all starts here with ETV Sports,” said Petrucci. “Take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of you.”

ESPN NEXT has three core principles: leadership, exploration and development. The program promises to build one’s leadership skills to position them to become the next generation of ESPN. Although ESPN NEXT is focused on producing content, the program encourages interns to explore different departments of the company, which they could eventually branch off into.

Aconfora emphasized how important it is to network in a company that offers so much. “You have so many resources,” said Aconfora. “You could meet with anyone in the company, and I mean anyone, all the way up to the president. So networking is big.”

Written by Bobbi Brown