Sports communication a ‘natural fit’ for Simpson


by Taia Veren, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The sports communication major and minor became a part of Simpson College’s curriculum this fall.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do for several years,” said Brian Steffen, department chair of multimedia communication. “I’ve seen similar programs become popular at other colleges on the East Coast and the West Coast where media centers are nearby.”

Steffen said the sports communication program of study is a less common program in the Midwest with no other college in Iowa offering the program.

“We had to go through the process of working with the sports science department, administration, committees and demonstrate demand for the major to approve it.” Steffen said.

The process took three to four years before it was formally proposed last fall, giving sophomore Tanner Krueger, of Waverly, a new opportunity.

Krueger is a sports communication major and a business management minor.

“I heard about the sports communication program on freshman orientation day from Brian Steffen,” Krueger said.

Krueger was looking for an area of study in his first year at Simpson, and his adviser, Steffen, helped out.

Krueger is a sports reporter for The Simpsonian, is a football player and might pick up radio show host as another activity.

Along with Krueger, there are about 10 declared sports communication majors and minors at Simpson, and Steffen sees that number growing in the future. He has visited with several prospective students this fall who have shown interest in the area of study.

“Sports communication is really a natural fit for Simpson,” Steffen said. “Many of our students are drawn here for the Division III athletic opportunities, and a lot of the athletes want to work in the sports industry.”

Krueger, who is a Kansas City Chiefs fan, said his dream job is to be the director of marketing for an NFL team.

“Working on promotions and campaigns for an NFL team or any professional team would be the dream,” he said.

The sports communication program gives students the opportunity to move from athlete to journalist, broadcaster or public relations professional in the sports industry.

“Networking, interning, creating a portfolio, showing you have a passion to tell stories and connect with audiences and understanding what’s going on in the business is crucial for students,” Steffen said.

If students aren’t sure if they want to pursue the sports communication major or minor, Steffen recommends taking the Communications 101 course in which all programs involving media are discussed.

Beginning newswriting is a central course for all multimedia communications students and is also a prerequisite course for the sports journalism course, which Mark Siebert, assistant professor of multimedia communication, will teach for May Term this year.

Steffen said graduates of the sports communication program will have the ability to work across platforms, write, produce audio, work in a digital format, know social media well and understand analytics.

To have success in any area of study, students have to take the initiative.

“Have a passion for what you want to do, an aggressiveness for seeking opportunities and a savvy to know what’s going on in the business,” Steffen said.