Meredith Sills graduated from the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media with a degree in integrated marketing communications in 2021. She now works as a media replay operator at ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
“I work on live events at ESPN,” she said. “Right now we are in the middle of the NBA and NHL season, but we do college football, college basketball, MLS… I just worked on the Australian Open in January, so I do a lot of different sports, but it’s all live events. I’m the person who is doing the instant replays on TV.”
Since she was a teenager, Sills loved sports media. She began working in the sports media field during her freshman year at the University of Mississippi, doing the replay and camera operations.
“I found my job at Ole Miss and just really liked it and said, ‘Let me see if I can get a job at ESPN’, and it just worked out,” Sills said.
Sills says she is happy with her job.
“One of my favorite things about my job here is that I get to work with a whole new set of people than I did at Ole Miss,” she said. “I was kind of working with the same few people all four years I was there.”
Although Sills really enjoys her job, she was hesitant to work for ESPN. She believed that due to the competitiveness of the field, it would be difficult to land a job. She also didn’t want to travel a lot, which is something that a lot of roles in her field require.
Luckily for Sills, when she was searching for jobs and the pandemic hit, ESPN began to hire more people for roles that did not involve traveling.
“In April of 2021, they opened a job here at ESPN headquarters,” she said. “I just applied… I really didn’t think I was going to get it, but I was like I might as well put my name out there.”
The hiring process took about four months. When Sills was hired, she trained for two and a half months. Now, she has been working there since August of 2021.
Her best career advice for students is pick something something you are interested in and stick to it. It will help grow your career.
“For a while, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said. “I really liked my job at Ole Miss…so once I decided to stick to it and take it more seriously, I got more opportunities and began to shadow people and learn about different roles.”
Learning about different roles made her job search easier and resume more attractive. She believes the experience she built in her job as a media replayer at the University of Mississippi helped her get hired at ESPN more than her actual degree did.
“Knowing all the ends and outs of it will help you get a job more so than just cruising along,” Sills said. “We used the same replay system at Ole Miss as we do here, so that was really helpful, so I knew basic replay and how to run it, but the system was so complex, so I had to train for a few months.”
Sills said she wants to get more experience in her current job.
“I just started in August up here, so I want to stay here at this company for a while longer and work my way up through the company,” she said. “I think I would like to work on bigger shows here at ESPN, like the college playoff games. I would love to work on those one day.”
Sills’s friend and former classmate, Kaylynn Buskirk agrees.
“I could see Meredith continuing to work at ESPN or even returning to Oxford to work with their sports management/filming teams,” she said. “I believe she will stay in a field surrounding sports since she is so passionate about it.”
Buskirk said she always knew what Sills’ career would look like.
“I always had a feeling Meredith would end up in sports media,” she said. “Meredith has always been very involved with sports both in high school and in college. She often enjoyed attending games in her free time, so her working in an area involving sports does not surprise me at all.”
Buskirk described Sills as hardworking, having received multiple awards for her academic excellence, such as the Chancellor’s Honor Roll several times and maintaining a 4.0 GPA for every semester of college.
For now, Meredith plans on staying in Bristol, Connecticut and gaining more experience as a media replay operator.