Since the eighth grade, Danielle King has known exactly what she wanted to study when the time came for her to further her education at the collegiate level – sports journalism. And by the time King was a junior in high school, she knew exactly where she wanted to pursue that passion – the University of Missouri.
King, who is from Chicago, toured the campus as a sophomore with a family friend, but it was a tour with her family as a junior that sealed the deal.
“When I came for my first visit I was definitely impressed, and Mizzou became one of the main campuses on my radar,” King said. “When my family came with me during the next visit, they saw why I was so interested. I just felt right at home.
“I also have a cousin who passed away, and we think about him through the monarch butterfly. At the end of our tour, there was a monarch following us around. That was a huge sign to me that Mizzou was where I needed to be.”
King said she has been a sports fan since she was young and has always loved to tell stories. She grew up watching Kelly Crull, who, at the time, was an in-game reporter for the Chicago Cubs. Crull graduated from Mizzou with a journalism degree.
“She was my role model growing up, so while I really knew I would enjoy MU, I also wanted to follow in her footsteps,” King said. “I’ve been lucky enough to actually be in touch with her, which is just amazing. She’s a big reason why I do all of this.”
King chose to double major at MU, studying journalism and parks, recreation and sport, with an emphasis in sport management. She felt those two degrees would allow her to combine her passions.
“I knew the School of Journalism was going to prepare me to be a journalist – there’s a reason why it’s one of the best journalism programs in the country,” King said. “I decided to add sport management to increase my knowledge related to sports. There was an intriguing sports law course that I thought would really benefit me. Plus, in a digital era, it was important for me to be able to show that I understand the marketing side of sports, too.”
King said the parks, recreation and sport degree program has been phenomenal, especially working with Dana Massengale and Michelle Brimecombe, both assistant teaching professors.
“I have such a close bond with my professors in the parks, recreation and sport program,” King said. “They are so supportive and encouraging. For example, I recently had a KOMU story that was posted on Twitter, and Dr. Brimecombe promoted the story. They are also so knowledgeable and willing to share their real-world experiences with us.”
King has worked with KOMU since her freshman year, starting with behind-the-scenes production, such as directing reporters and anchors in the studio, and working the cameras. She has worked her way into an on-air sports anchor role, where she shares local sports stories every Monday night.
“Learning how an entire show is put together and runs is really important,” King said. “It makes being on air that much easier because I understand what it takes and how much hard work is going on to make the show run smoothly.”
While KOMU has given King great hands-on learning opportunities, an internship with the Florence Y’alls, a professional independent baseball team that plays in the Frontier League, has furthered those experiences. She wore multiple hats during the internship, including serving as a play-by-play broadcaster, sideline reporter and helping the team with social media. It was the first time that King had ever done play-by-play before.
“I’m a baseball junkie, so this opportunity was amazing,” King said. “There were some really tough parts of the internship, such as having to do play-by-play. I would talk to the parents who were listening to the games and just tell them that I was sorry. They were so great and encouraged me to keep going and keep learning.
“I was essentially doing my dream job as an internship and I owe a ton of thanks to KOMU for preparing me for the opportunity.”
During her time at MU, King went to Honduras with the Global Brigades, was part of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM), served as the athletic chair for Zeta Tau Alpha and had a role with the Business Careers and Entertainment (BCE) club. She has continued to do play-by-play broadcasts, too, working for KCOU, a noncommercial radio station run entirely by Mizzou students.
“I’ve been very busy during my time at MU, and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing,” King said. “It’s been important for me to be around people who are going to support me through it all, and I think that’s a huge key to why I’ve been able to handle being a double major. It’s been so meaningful to be around such great friends here at MU.”
As King heads toward graduation, she said her ultimate goal is to work with a team, much like she did during her internship with the Florence Y’alls. For now, she plans to take a job with a television station to add to the experience she gained at Mizzou.
“My time here really flew by, and I know I’m going to miss MU,” King said. “This has been my home for four years. Choosing CAFNR was also one of the best decisions I could have made. The College really helped me feel like I belong here.
“I’m also excited for my next phase of life. The sports job market is incredibly competitive, but MU has prepared me to succeed.”