High Point University students had the opportunity to hear from communication industry leaders, briefly experience what it would be like to lose their first amendment rights and received insights into their future careers during HPU’s Communication Week.
One of the week’s highlights was a visit from David Neal, the recently appointed Coordinating Producer for Super Bowl XLVIII.
The High Point native is a serial Emmy award-winner and sports producer, executive producer of FOX Sports’ World Cup coverage and CONCACAF Gold Cup coverage. Neal worked at NBC for 30 years where he produced nine Olympics, four NBA Finals, two World Series and a Super Bowl pregame show. This work and more garnered his 34 Emmy Awards.
Neal discussed the changes in the television industry over his 30 plus year career, and what he sees as the future of television.
“Live television terrifies Hollywood,” said Neal. “It is such a rare commodity that so few people are comfortable with that if that’s something you have an affinity for you can succeed.”
He went on to argue that with DVRs and Netflix, live sports television is growing because it is one of the few things people will actually make time to watch.
“You watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it. Live sports are the one thing that breaks that equation,” said Neal.
Neal also said that the Latin-American population is not one that can be ignored.
“One in six Americans speaks Spanish,” said Neal. “Univision is currently beating my former employer, NBC, in prime-time.”
In addition to the advice, Neal gave students insights into what it was like to produce major sporting events including the Beijing Olympics, which involved years of rehearsals just for the opening ceremonies.
Neal is chairman of the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication Advisory Board, and says he is proud of his affiliation with HPU and its students.
In addition to inspiring guests, HPU communication students brought additional perspective to campus.
They hosted a “First Amendment Festival” on Friday, which gave students free lunch, if they gave up their first amendment rights.
Mayeesa Mitchell acted as a silent protester during the lunch.
“It was really hard not being able to talk for an hour but I’m glad I did it because I could tell the impact my image had on the people that passed by,” said Mitchell. “The whole event was pretty eerie but it reminded me just how blessed I am to live in a country where my rights are honored.”
Communication Week included other presentations from industry leaders, a video game tournament and wrapped up Monday with the River Run Film Festival.