Social media changes Parks’ responsibilities
By Greg Gulas
Currently in his 13th year as YSU sports information director, Trevor Parks is charged with managing all aspects of media relations for the school’s 18 men’s and women’s athletics programs.
He oversees a five-person staff, handles all media relations for its 7-1 football team, coordinates the department’s Horizon League Network broadcasts and assists with the department’s day-to-day social media efforts.
Yet while things continually change and new technology is added, the one thing that hasn’t changed is accommodating the media with their many requests, while making sure his department is accessible and available when needed.
“Things continually change in the profession but I still handle the releases, advances, research and records just like before,” Parks said at the Curbstone Coaches’ weekly luncheon at Luciano’s Restaurant. “The way we get that information out and what people see as our role, however, is what has changed.
“We still get phone calls and emails regarding statistics and history inquiries from fans and still provide weekly and game day releases for football and men’s and women’s basketball. Our task now is to get positive and fun information out to fans while keeping the information respectful and helpful to the media and die-hard fans.”
Social media has come a long way the last several years and Penguin athletics currently has more than 4,000 Twitter followers and some 14,700 Facebook fans.
“We also have Instagram, which is a photo-oriented site, a Pinterest page and send out text alerts,” he said. “All of our social sites work to inform and have fun with our many fans. You can tweet or post on Facebook from anywhere at any time and take a photo and post or do a video chat.”
Parks’ football game day programs have consistently been judged “Best in the Nation” while his media guide is ranked in the top 10 in the nation annually, according to the College Sports Information Directors of America.
The addition of the Horizon League Network has assisted in recruiting efforts in all sports and has given the schools’ telecommunications students valuable hands-on experience when working with the network.
“Student-athletes come from all over so the Horizon League Network has given us valuable exposure,” he said. “Parents and families can watch their sons or daughters play from home if they can’t make it to an event so it remains a very important recruiting tool.
“We count on students to do the production and work hand-in-hand with YSU’s telecommunications department so our students gain valuable hands-on production experience. I just heard from one of our former students the other day, who now does work with the NBA and he had just spent the last three weeks overseeing production in China and other places. He said the experience that he gained while working with us was invaluable.”
Parks has also been impressed with YSU’s facility upgrades over the last 13 years.
“Where the campus was when I arrived to where it is now is truly amazing,” he said. “New athletic facilities and academic buildings have made campus a very special place for both students and employees. You cannot help but be impressed because it’s a place that is definitely moving forward in many positive ways.”
Next week, ScoutingOhio.com director Mark Porter will serve as guest speaker.