Jarrel Harris '14
NBA Editor, Sports Illustrated
Hometown: New York City
Studied while at Siena: English major with a minor in Writing and Communication
In addition to serving as the NBA editor at Sports Illustrated, I also co-host a sneaker show (Laces Out) at the company. On the weekends, I manage my own media basketball run called Sunday Washed Club. The pandemic has been tough for everyone and I wanted to create something that brought my peers in the media business back together.
Involvement while at Siena:
I was the sports editor of The Promethean, I interned for the athletic department, I was involved with the Black and Latino Student Union (BLSU), and the mentorship program. I am also a two-time intramural basketball champion. I was also part of HEOP, which gave me all the support and resources I needed to be a successful student.
How do you involve yourself in your community?
Siena’s HEOP has a special place in my heart, so whenever I receive a message to come back and talk to the students, I will try to find time and chat. The same goes for two classes that helped me professionally: Dr. Snyder’s Oral Communication class and Professor O’Donnell’s sporting reporting class. I have spoken to both classes in recent years about my journey in the sports media space.
Describe a typical day in your life:
No two days are the same in the sports industry and I love it. Things have slowed down quite a bit due to the pandemic, but a typical day might be waking up around 6 a.m. and logging onto work at 7. I edit and produce our stories for the day. I am also catching up on emails and surfing Twitter/Instagram to see if any breaking news happened overnight. The late morning and afternoon is full of meetings going over future projects and connecting with our NBA writers. Towards the end of the day, I might have an interview scheduled with an athlete or an event to attend.
On the weekends, I love going to different museums, restaurants, parks, catching up on TV shows and playing basketball.
How did your Siena education prepare you for the work you’re doing today?
My educational experience at Siena was pretty diverse.
Dr. Snyder’s Oral Communication class really changed my outlook on everything and gave me the confidence I needed to work in the journalism space. I was so afraid of public speaking before this class and now I am interviewing athletes and hosting my own show.
Dr. Munir’s Malcolm X class was an eye-opening experience and I recommend taking the class if he ever offers it again.
Describe your professional progression since leaving Siena.
I took on several internships while at Siena with Dime Magazine and SportsNet New York. After I graduated, I interned at Complex Magazine for a bit, Sports Video Group, and freelanced at HOOP Magazine. In 2015, I landed an entry-level position at Sports Illustrated and I have been there ever since. I now serve as the NBA editor. I manage our content budget, assign stories, edit, handle our social media feeds, and I also write about sneakers and culture for the website. I have a lot of fun assignments like going undercover and trying out for the NBA G League, wear testing sneakers before they release to the public and have covered several NBA All-Star weekends. I have interviewed players such as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo and more.
Advice for current Saints:
Enjoy it because time goes by so fast. I miss my time at Siena almost every week. Enjoy the little things like Saga sitting. Get involved in different clubs and meet new people.
Career advice for current students:
Network! Network! Network! It is so important to reach out and talk to people. Don’t wait until your senior year. My junior and senior years were full of cold emailing different people from media companies to learn about the business or inquire about internships. Some people were really helpful and it helped me land a couple gigs that helped me in the long run. I visited the career center on campus so many times! They were really helpful and made sure my resume was polished.
Find your niche! Siena did not have a journalism program during my time, but I knew I wanted to be in this field. I took on classes, activities and projects that helped me build a resume that attracted companies in the sports media industry.