Megan Crain enjoys toeing the line and keeping everything organized.
A planner she takes everywhere, the calendar app on her phone and computer, a digital content calendar of when posts need to go out on social media.
This type of devoted organization and forward-thinking is essential in the modern era of content production. Megan Crain has those things with her at all times in order to stay on top of her life.
Crain is a senior sports media and communication and journalism double-major with a minor in sociology. While she has a major with “sports” in the name and technically will have a journalism degree when she graduates in December, these majors are more of the means than the ends. She strives to create social media content in any form. The best way she saw to do that at a university in a state that worships football was of course through sports.
This semester, the Springfield, Ill. native is enrolled in a capstone course for her major in sports media and communication. She works as the social media manager for UNLimited Sports, which is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s first online student-run publication.
She isn’t working on any specific story or project but rather organizing all of her classmates’ stories and projects and putting them out on social media and promoting the brand. She has a content calendar ready to go and set up social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and SoundCloud for the class.
But sports wasn’t something that came naturally to Crain early on. She played some growing up, which was mostly fueled by parental influence. She didn’t have much interest in it. Crain mentioned how the stereotypes of sports not being for girls while she was growing up played a role.
“Sports are labeled as more of a ‘boy thing,’ so it didn’t hold my interest at first,” Crain said.
But there was a time and place where she remembers things started to change. Nov. 20, 2012, in Evanston, Ill., to be exact. After a bitter defeat at the hands of Ohio State the previous weekend, the Nebraska Huskers football team was set to play Northwestern. It was Crain’s first game, and she remembers it well.
“There were more Husker fans than Wildcat fans, or at least it felt like it. Just a cool environment to see your first game in,” Crain said.
In that game, Nebraska won in dramatic fashion, overcoming a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge Northwestern 29-28. That was the moment that Crain said sports started to feel like it was something cool.
As for the journalism major?
“I don’t really want to be a traditional print journalist, but I felt I needed those baseline writing skills,” Crain said.
In a high school without a newspaper, Crain worked instead at The State Journal-Register, a Springfield, Ill. newspaper through her high school years. Her senior year she earned the opportunity to intern with the newspaper where she wrote a story each week. She pitched ideas in conjunction with her editor, depending on studies that had been released and hot-button issues at the time.
“I did more of the controversial stories. I was comfortable doing them, and it didn’t bother me,” Crain said.
While she notes that the current interns at The Journal-Register tend to shy away from the controversial topics in favor of more neutral, feel-good profile stories, she instead wrote stories on traditionally divisive subjects such as teen pregnancy and teens taking fewer dangerous risks now than in previous generations.
Now in college, Crain is a social media intern at Hudl, a sports software company headquartered in Lincoln, Neb., as well as a Digital Media Intern for UNL’s Athletic Department. She is trusted to do a number of things that would likely be shocking to most for an intern. In regard to how much of the social media responsibility Hudl puts on her plate, Crain said, “I pretty much run it.”
With the athletic department, Crain primarily works with the softball team to organize its content calendar and make sure everything goes out on time.
“You have to be on top of things. If something that is supposed to go out doesn’t, then it reflects poorly on you and your employer,” she said.
A content calendar is exactly what it sounds like—a schedule of when all content for social media needs to be published. Without this, certain media postings can be overlooked, forgotten or delayed.
Crain has been trusted with heavy responsibility at every level she has been at. But maybe that is the wrong way to word it. Being trusted with deadline responsibility in high school, university classes and two internships is no coincidence. Crain seeks it out and relishes being the one to keep things organized.