HAMPTON, Va. (July 20, 2021) — Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications 2020 graduates Roderick McLean and LeVord (Lee) Burns II have been named members of the 2021 ESPN NEXT production cohort. ESPN NEXT is the 18-month leadership development program for young professionals at the worldwide leader in sports. The program is designed to develop production assistants into ESPN's next generation of leaders.
“Hampton University continues to produce the best and the brightest students. We look forward to the success of Mr. McLean and Mr. Burns II as recent graduates of our ‘Home by the Sea,’” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “The Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications continues to produce ethical and competitive leaders who are equipped to practice excellence and innovation in multimedia technology while adhering to the core principles of journalism and communications.”
The program is based upon three pillars: leadership, exploration, and diversity. It provides employees a chance to network with leaders, lead in their everyday assignments, explore different areas of ESPN, and work with a diverse group of people to ensure inclusivity.
“This program is the first step toward me reaching my dream job,” said McLean. “I always had this picture of what and where I wanted to be. Even though the job title may have evolved over time, the where has always been ESPN!”
“Being accepted into the ESPN Next program means the world to me,” said Burns II. “Seeing Stan Verrett and Stephen A. Smith and the late great Stuart Scott on ESPN has always given me a passion to work in sports media. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to work at ESPN. Seeing all of my hard work over the years pay off early in my career is truly a blessing!”
The program will expose production assistants to different areas of content through two rotations in the program’s seven pods (listed below). Each pod is home to various studio shows and live events. Production assistants will learn everything they need to know in order to grow as storytellers and leaders. In addition, they will be exposed to the larger business through workshops and a project focusing on ESPN priorities.
ESPN NEXT Pods:
- College Sports
- Daytime Entertainment
- International & Deportes
- SportsCenter at Night
ESPN NEXT is located in Bristol, CT. Participants have the potential to move to other offices after completing the program. Those locations include the SEC/ACC Network in Charlotte, NC; Longhorn Network in Austin TX and ESPN LA Production Center in Los Angeles CA. Although this is a program based on content, ESPN Next has also seen its employees move into other areas of ESPN as well as join the Walt Disney Company.
“The Scripps Howard family is very grateful to ESPN NEXT for availing this extraordinary production opportunity to Roderick and Lee,” said B. Da'Vida Plummer, Dean of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. “Roderick and Lee are top media content creators who will shine as ESPN NEXT 'fellows' generating content that will be viewed across the globe.”