Ever since its inception, Montclair State University’s Red Hawk Sports Network (RHSN) has usually had male figures in front of the camera, whether it is the on-camera talent covering a basketball game, or a player from the football team being interviewed for a feature story by a broadcasting intern.
While women’s sports do get their time on social media and the weekly show “Inside the Nest,” we never get to see the women that put in the work behind the scenes, and now, in front of the camera as well.
The camera work done at a multitude of sports games throughout each semester, the detailed setup of certain segments of the weekly show and the social media posts promoting the content — all of this is mainly done by Emily Struble, a senior television and digital media major, Meghan O’Neill, a senior communication and media arts major and Gianna Daginis, a freshman film and television major.
Struble spoke on the importance of the RHSN structure and how that helps get everyone involved.
“The program throws you right into the action and gives you the creative freedom to make pieces in your own style,” Struble said. “Everybody involved is there to help and it creates a welcoming and encouraging environment.”
Struble is known to always be behind a camera shooting game footage, making sure shoots for features and interviews go as smoothly as possible and also helping flesh out ideas for “Inside the Nest.” A lot of what is done for that and the network would not be possible without her assistance along with the other key producers and members.
Struble explained the impact women can have in sports media and spoke about who she specifically looks up to here at Montclair State.
“I look at professors [Kelly] Whiteside and [Stacy] Gitlin as role models,” Struble said. “Their long list of achievements and work in the field pushes me to pursue my goals. Honestly, without all of their hard work and encouragement, this program would not be what it has grown to become.”
Like Struble said, having two female professors help to run the whole program only emphasizes the importance of how much women mean to sports media here on campus.
O’Neill also means a lot to the RHSN, not only because of her hard work behind the scenes but because she will also be featured as a studio host in the next iteration of “Inside the Nest” in honor of Women’s History Month.
O’Neill spoke about the message being sent out during this month and how the RHSN is helping to spread that message.
“I think the women that are a part of [RHSN] are giving it a chance to show that it is not only a male-run network,” O’Neill said. “Women are a part of it as well and we are going to show younger girls out there that they can do this, too.”
O’Neill also recently did studio hosting for Montclair State’s radio station 90.3 WMSC alongside freshman Emily Sznurkowski. She also helped handle the madness of the recent RHSN live show as the stage manager and shoots social media for the program.
She even has some close people in her life who want to follow in her footsteps.
“Ever since coming into [RHSN], I’ve had so many young girls including my nieces ask me about this and wanting to be involved when they are old enough,” O’Neill said. “That’s been my goal since joining the network. I want to help young women and girls to show that we can talk sports, too.”
One of these women who have been doing a lot in sports media ever since coming to Montclair State is Gianna Daginis. Whether commentating on games alongside fellow interns and members or shooting social media posts, Daginis is proving she is the future of the sports media program.
Daginis talked about the chemistry she has with the RHSN members and how that helps her in the work she does.
“The best part about being on a call is that you tend to forget you have viewers listening to you,” Daginis said. “Because of the connections I have formed with other members of [RHSN], it feels like you’re talking to a friend about sports, which makes the pre-game nerves and the awkwardness disappear.”
Daginis also is involved in different films with other students within her major, and the productions are similar to something out of Hollywood. To her, it’s great to see women break through barriers and stereotypes in this field.
“I have so much respect and admiration for the women who have made it to the top,” Daginis said. “I love seeing female reporters or hearing that a woman is ‘the first woman to ever’ do something. Sometimes outside noise can mess with your head, but these women haven’t let the doubt or disrespect interrupt their hard work and success.”
With the spring 2022 semester quickly flying by, Struble and O’Neill will be graduating at the end of it, while Daginis will go into her second year. The program will be losing a lot of its key members but with the future being bright and more women being accepted into sports media, there is no stopping these inspiring women and those in the future from doing great things in and out of Montclair State.