(BA, Print Journalism, '08)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
Hands down, my favorite classes at Hofstra were Swahili 1 and 2 with Dr. Robert Leonard. I was looking for a language course besides Spanish, which I took in high school, and decided to try something different. Dr. Leonard also found time to work in a little linguistics knowledge and his secret former life as a rock star in the band Sha Na Na. You won't find many professors who helped train the FBI and also performed at Woodstock.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
I landed my first job, during the start of my senior year, at AOL Black Voices as an assistant content programmer. I spent the prior two years interning at Black Voices, where they allowed me to start my own television blog called "Everybody Hates Marcus." I never expected my internship to last longer than one semester, let alone turn into a full-time job while still at Hofstra. It was my first lesson in getting rewarded for hard work. My manager noticed the job I had been doing, and I was rewarded without having to ask for a job. The cream rises to the top.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I've always had a love for sports, and once I realized there aren't a lot of 5-foot-8 shooting guards in the NBA, I turned my attention to figuring out how to get paid to watch sports for a living. I went from spending my lunch breaks in middle and high school listening to Jim Rome's radio show and reading box scores to eventually writing for the high school newspaper.
I wouldn't be in this industry if it weren't for the number of internships I landed during my time in college, including stops at AOL, ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated and The Denver Post. I was at Hofstra during the shift from print journalism to digital, and my former Hofstra professor — Mo Krochmal — helped make that transition seamless. He drilled home the importance of thinking from a digital mindset, and I will be forever grateful for his knowledge and being well ahead of the curve.
- What advice would you give to Hofstra students?
I wouldn't be at Yahoo Sports if I didn't know three employees who worked there and could vouch for my work. Two of those three people I met at internships, and I made sure to keep in touch with them long after I left. The dirty little secret my professors never told me was that you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't know the right person hiring, your résumé may never get the look it deserves. And don't wait until you graduate to start networking. Start with Hofstra alums. Nothing makes me happier than running across or connecting with a student or young professional from Hofstra.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- What is a typical day like at Yahoo Sports?
I wake up around 7 a.m. and check Twitter to make sure nothing is brewing in Major League Baseball. I'm in the office around 8 a.m., and depending on the day of the week, I likely have a story in my inbox from one of my two MLB writers waiting for an edit that normally takes 30-45 minutes to get live. The rest of my morning and early afternoon is spent going to meetings, helping colleagues edit stories, and watching Twitter for any buzzy or eye-catching stories. I leave the office around 5 p.m., but I usually try to watch a couple of hours of baseball a night so I know what's going on across the sport. If I can't watch, I'll check scores on the Yahoo Sports app on my phone.
- What is your favorite part of your job?
The people. When I got married to my wife, Shannon, last year, I kept my composure during the entire wedding ceremony until I started thanking guests for attending and got to my co-workers. I work with an amazing group of people who I'm lucky enough to call friends outside of the office. You can have the greatest job in the world, but if you aren't on the same page with your co-workers, the allure of that position will eventually fade. I've been at Yahoo Sports for four-plus years now and I still wake up excited about going to work.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your career progressing?
In 10 years, I see myself as hopefully the editor-in-chief of a major sports website. I've had the opportunity to get my managerial feet wet in the last couple of years, thanks in part to the Associated Press Sports Editors Diversity Fellowship Program. Leading up to those 10 years, I look forward to honing my skills to correspond with the ever-changing digital landscape.
Marcus Vanderberg is the MLB editor at Yahoo Sports, where he has worked since 2012. He previously worked at Hearst Digital Media as an online content producer and was an editor at Mediabistro. Marcus was an online producer for BET.com and AOL, where he worked on several properties, including sports and entertainment. While in school, Marcus interned for ESPN, Sports Illustrated, AOL and The Denver Post. He was selected as an Associated Press Sports Editors Diversity fellow in 2014 — a nine-month program for mid-career professionals interested in pursuing managerial careers. Marcus has been an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) since 2006 and helped resurrect the student chapter at Hofstra University. He currently serves as director of the NABJ Region IV.