Gene Dumont On Becoming a Broadcast Journalist
Gene Dumont didn’t plan on becoming an award-winning sports broadcaster. He was on staff for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock basketball team just a few years ago.
“It was something that just kind of happened,” Dumont said. “I was finishing up my GA-ship (Graduate Assistantship) at UALR, and I was looking at coaching jobs and finding that I would basically live out of my car just to have a job.”
Rather than coach and essentially live from his car, Dumont took another path. A family friend pestered Dumont’s mother about him going into journalism. Eventually, he gave the journalism world a chance.
“It was one of those things in the back of my mind that I went, ‘You know, after I’ve been in coaching for a while, maybe it would be fun to be an analyst,” Dumont said. “I took an internship with Channel Seven in Little Rock and just fell in love with it.”
With no prior journalism experience and a background in sports management, Dumont could only learn and improve each day.
“I jumped in with two feet. I dove in and said, ‘I don’t know anything, teach me.’”
Now, just a few short years after immersing himself in an unfamiliar line of work, Dumont is an award-winning sports journalist. He won the Murrow Award for journalism excellence as a part of Pig Trail Nation. Pig Trail Nation won the award for its coverage of the Arkansas Razorbacks Women’s basketball team kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016-2017 season.
Dumont made a couple stops after he completed his internship in Little Rock before settling down in Fayetteville and becoming a member of Pig Trail Nation. He worked at KARK in Little Rock off-air and then moved to Lubbock, Texas, where he found his way in front of the cameras.
“It [Lubbock] was needed,” Dumont said. “I was able to just focus on my craft and go to a place that allowed me to grow and figure out myself, what worked well for me, what didn’t work. I didn’t need to learn how to shoot, I didn’t need to learn how to edit because I could do all that. I needed to work on my storytelling, I needed to work on my anchoring, and I was able to do that and bring those up to a level close to or equal to my shooting and editing.”
When asked about advice to give to anyone pursuing a career in any field of journalism, Dumont said, “Get an internship and ask questions.
There’s only so much you’re going to be able to learn from the college tv station. The local stations are what is going to help you get that first job. Be prepared to go somewhere that you’re going to question where on the map it is, or who would go there. You’re going to learn things you didn’t even know you didn’t know. You’re going to learn how to be yourself. The people you work with want to help you. When you take an internship, you’re needing help, and they’re willing to do that as long as you’re willing to put in the work. The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop growing.”