Students had the opportunity to hear Jack McCallum as a keynote speaker at Bloomsburg University’s College of Liberal Arts Symposium on Friday, Oct. 25. McCallum has been a successful Sport’s Illustrated writer since the 1980’s and shared with students just how he rose up to the top of the sports reporting world.
McCallum reassured Liberal Arts students the value of their own, often-scrutinized, educational path and praised his education, stating, “English literature weaves through my writing”.
McCallum attended Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor’s degree in English and graduated from Lehigh University with a Master of Arts degree in English Literature. After graduating college, he began writing for a small newspaper and eventually started freelancing stories for Sports Illustrated. The rest was history. Throughout his career, he wrote stories covering some of NBA’s most renowned players such as Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird. He was able to find success as a journalist even though he had only taken one journalism class throughout his entire academic career.
McCallum was asked how he was able to transition so effectively from a student to a professional writer. McCallum discussed how his liberal arts background equipped him with a variety of skills to be a professional. However, he also acknowledged that the world today is different than the one he became successful in.
“What I needed was the ability to write,” said McCallum.
Nowadays, students need a larger set of skills in order to be taken seriously in the professional world. It is up to students to identify these skills and take the time to become proficient in them.
McCallum also spent some time addressing how the internet drastically changed his job. After the internet become popularized, readers began wanting information instantaneously and they could no longer wait for the weekly Sports Illustrated to be published.
Changes like these happen in professions and McCallum’s message to students was clear: We must learn to adapt to changes if we are to prosper in the professional world.