Sometimes in life, we have to Pivot to something new to grow.
Ole Miss alumnus Sudu Upadhyay, who has worked as a sports journalist in Memphis and Atlanta, has embarked on a new media adventure. He is now a content creator for Pivot Life Media, a company he founded.
“I graduated a semester early, then took a job in Memphis at WMC-TV as a sports anchor,” he said. “I did that for three years. That was a great opportunity straight out of college. Then my contract ended there, and I came to Atlanta where I worked at Fox as a sports producer.”
Upadhyay, who had childhood dreams of being on TV, has worked as a sports reporter and producer.
“I knew I wanted to be on TV reporting about sports from a young age,” he said. “I am a sports fan. That is what made me want to get into sports journalism. I came into Ole Miss with a strong foundation in journalism.”
Upadhyay later began to experience burnout from the industry, and it became a catalyst to seek a new adventure, founding Pivot Life Media.
“I founded Pivot and am using it as an experiment, using analytics to see what kind of content does well and what other people are doing that works well,” he said. “I call it a curation and storytelling brand, which people can find on Instagram through the handle @itspivotlifemedia. There is a lot of music, film, and storytelling with Pivot.”
Upadhyay’s Pivot Life Media company allows him to work from anywhere with a camera and a microphone as he spends time on Zoom calls and his computer creating content for viewers. Such content involves videos recommending top songs to listen to or topics, such as current styles and outfits worn by athletes today.
Upadhyay said he is grateful for his support system, including his parents, who have allowed him to focus on content creation. Although ambitious and passionate about Pivot Life, Upadhyay believes sports will possibly creep back into his work in the future.
Upadhyay grew up in Oxford and was on the Ole Miss campus at a young age before his collegiate career. Although he maintained an interest in the University of Mississippi, he said he also looked into other schools to advance his journalism skills. In the end, he chose Ole Miss because the university has influenced everything about him.
“I was shooting football games at Ole Miss at 15,” he said. “Another reason I came to the university was because my father worked at the school. I knew a lot of people through my dad.”
Upadhyay said Dr. Nancy Dupont, a former professor, helped him craft his ability to sound natural when delivering a script. Dupont helped him master natural delivery as he spent time at NewsWatch and during Journalism 480 with Dupont, perfecting his skills.
“Things that Nancy Dupont taught me, to this day, I receive compliments about,” he said. “When I was working in TV, people would say I had a natural delivery and would ask how I learned. I highly credit her for that.”
Upadhyay said Dr. Debora Wenger, interim dean at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, taught him and was a person who allowed him to be himself, not having to hide who he was.
“I met Sudu for the first time when he was still in high school,” Wenger said. “He struck me as someone who loved video storytelling and who had no fear of digital technology — instead, he seemed to love learning about new ways to communicate and new tools to use.”
Upadhyay, a broadcast journalism major at UM, said he used every opportunity he had at Ole Miss to create a reel. This included building his portfolio to prepare for graduation and a strong journalism career.
“He immersed himself in all the opportunities our school can offer,” Wenger said. “He got involved in student media, UM Athletics, and extracurricular work. He was also a leader within our major — he volunteered to help many of our students improve their own skills — something we value a great deal.”
Characterized as an award-winning journalist by Wenger, Upadhyay had the opportunity to travel with Dupont to produce a documentary.
Upadhyay’s advice to students is to go to the Student Media Center. He said the advice and help he received from the SMC professors helped him on his journalism journey.
“I think that is the cool thing about Ole Miss,” he said. “All of the professors are very personable and outgoing. I feel like Ole Miss is such a sociable school, and the professors add to that.”
Upadhyay said being on camera is the best way to tell a story, as radio or writing will not do it justice. He said he enjoyed a cinema class he took at UM because of this.
They believed in me, Upadhyay said, referring to the school’s faculty. Although insightful in journalism and broadcasting before college, Upadhyay believes UM’s broadcast journalism program helped sharpen his skills.