Sports Enthusiast Aims for Broadcast Journalism Career

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Take a good look at this face and remember it. Then, someday in the not-so-distant future, when you see Michael Counos ’13 (journalism) giving the daily sports wrap-up on a major television station, you’ll remember seeing him here first! “I dream of getting a job at a big sports network after graduation,” Counos says, noting that he intends to make that happen by using all of the contacts he’s made while at UMass and continuing to hone his skills both in the classroom and through internships.

Standing out among his journalism peers is a matter of pride to Counos. The fact that he was this year’s SBS Bacherman Internship award recipient certainly was an outstanding accomplishment. This competitive award recognizes a love of broadcasting, drive to seek out new opportunities, and potential for achievement, and for Counos it supported an internship with ABC 40 News in Springfield this past summer.

“I learned a lot of ins and outs of a news station and got hands-on experience with on-air reporting, production, video shooting and video editing,” Counos says. Besides teaching me many little tricks of the trade, this internship will be really helpful as I pursue other opportunities down the road.”

Counos, who grew up in Agawam, MA, is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers, Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics fan. He was sports editor of his high school newspaper for three years, is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo, is an avid golfer, and enjoys pick-up games of basketball and wiffle ball. “I love watching and playing sports,” Counos says.

In 9th grade Counos’ parents encouraged him to start thinking about his interests and what he might want as a career. “I had no idea,” he says. “All I cared about was playing sports and video games—and watching different sports shows on ESPN. One day my mom said, ‘Michael, did you ever think about doing that as a career? Those people get paid to go on TV everyday to talk about sports.’ It was a light-bulb moment. So much of my daily dialogue was (and is) committed to sports. That was when I realized that journalism was for me.”

Writing has always come easily to Counos. In high school he landed his first internship with the Agawam Advertiser. “I felt a sense of accomplishment, seeing my work printed for thousands of people to read,” he says. “I knew math and science weren’t my thing. I hated the thought of crunching numbers all day. The thing that intrigues me about journalism is that it is something new everyday. One day you have a groundbreaking story about Tiger Woods and the next it’s reporting on the Super Bowl or World Series. It never gets old to say the least.”

Counos was accepted into four journalism programs: Hofstra, Ithaca, Westfield State, and UMass. “UMass was the most affordable, had a lot to offer and was still far enough from home at the same time,” he says. “UMass also had the Division I sports, something that definitely interested me. I was a little nervous about how big UMass is because I kind of liked the smaller school feeling. Believe me, that has certainly changed. I couldn’t imagine going to a small school now.”

To date Counos says his journalism classes and teachers have been great. “They excite me, and I feel like I am good at what I’m doing, which motivates me even more. I really enjoyed [ABC 40 News anchor] Dave Madsen’s broadcast journalism class last spring, and I’d suggest it to anyone who wants to enter the field. “

The opportunities at UMass, Counos says, are endless, no matter what your major is. “I participate in the student-run television station, UVC-TV 19, where I am featured as an on-camera analyst on ‘UMass Sports Weekly.’ I’m also the sports beat reporter for the Daily Collegian and have covered track, basketball, soccer and baseball and this fall field hockey.” Counos is also in the National Society of Leadership and Success as well as a second-year resident assistant in Emerson/Southwest.

Offering some pointers to prospective students, Counos says, “If you are nervous about the big campus, don’t worry. It becomes quite small as soon as you acclimate. The diversity has given me different outlooks on life, and I have made friends with people from all over the country. The key to UMass is that you must be able to balance work and play. It’s fun to go to college as long as you keep your head on straight and get good grades.”