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Senior Tommy Valentine places in top 20 of Hearst’s national television news competition

Apr 04, 2021 |

St. Bonaventure University senior sports media major Thomas “Tommy” Valentine has been recognized for his broadcasting skills by placing in the top 20 of the 2020-21 William Randolph Hearst Foundation Television News Competition.

Tommy Valentine The winners were selected from 77 entries submitted from 48 schools nationwide in the second television competition of this academic year. The Hearst TV2 news competition was loaded with applicants from some of the top academic journalism programs in the nation.

“To be included in the conversation with students from Arizona State, Syracuse University and the University of Florida, and know that my work stacked up against theirs was a tremendous honor. I’m proud I was able to provide St. Bonaventure and the Jandoli School the recognition it deserves,” Valentine said.

Only universities with accredited undergraduate journalism programs are eligible to participate in Hearst competitions. St. Bonaventure’s Jandoli School of Communication has been accredited by the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication since 2019.

School of Communication Dean Aaron Chimbel knows Valentine will be the first of many St. Bonaventure students to earn accolades from the Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

“Our student journalists work hard to serve our campus and community with thoughtful and important journalism,” Chimbel said. “It gratifies me to see Tommy recognized on a national scale alongside students from other top journalism and communication programs.

“Tommy represents the Jandoli School with the passion, professionalism and attention to detail that makes us all proud and I am not surprised the Hearst Awards recognized his work. He continually produces excellent journalism and compelling broadcasts.”

Valentine’s dream to be a sports broadcaster has been a lifelong goal, piqued when his father instilled in him a love of sports at a young age.

During his senior year at Chittenango High School outside Syracuse, Valentine started calling his school’s sports games, from football, basketball and soccer to wrestling and bowling.

Following high school graduation, he attended Onondaga Community College, where he dove into learning the behind-the-scenes and technical skills required to orchestrate a TV production. After two years he earned an associate degree in electronic media communications and then transferred to St. Bonaventure in fall 2019.

Valentine immediately jumped in as a play-by-play broadcaster and color commentator for the university’s Division I sports streamed live on ESPN+, loving the opportunity to dive into the teams’ style of play and stories.

During his senior year, Valentine also served as sports director of SBU-TV’s weekly student-run broadcasts, as well as host of Bonnies Insider, a weekly YouTube show developed last fall by the Department of Athletics featuring profiles of student-athletes, coaches and alumni.

Tommy ValentineAmid the university’s tight knit community, Valentine developed a close relationship with men’s basketball standout Jaren Holmes through their work with SBU-TV. So providing play-by-play for Holmes’ 38-point game on Jan. 6 epitomizes Valentine’s experience at Bona’s.

“Just the fact that I was able to provide play-by-play for a televised men’s basketball game on ESPN+ was surreal. Then, to have someone whom I work with and whom I know personally steal the show during the game, it just kind of encapsulated everything St. Bonaventure offers,” Valentine said.

“St. Bonaventure provides you opportunities to succeed and thrive in ways you don’t see at other institutions across the country,” he added. 

Valentine is grateful to faculty in the Jandoli School of Communication and at Onondaga Community College for providing him with these opportunities to succeed and grow.

“In my profession, you’re only going to get better by constant repetition. I needed avenues to earn that practice and continue to try and improve my performance in the broadcasting field,” he said.

At St. Bonaventure, Valentine found those paths, particularly through ESPN+ and SBU-TV. He points to the influence of Rick Karnath, SBU’s director of broadcasting who oversees the ESPN+ sports productions in a collaboration between the Jandoli School and the Department of Athletics.

“There aren’t many students in the country calling televised, Division I men’s basketball games on a platform like ESPN+. Rick showed his trust in me and believed I could represent the athletic department well on the biggest of stages, and I will forever be thankful for him placing that trust in me,” Valentine said.

Following graduation in May, Valentine sees himself taking on a sports reporter role at a news station, ideally in the Syracuse area, close to where he grew up.

“A job as a play-by-play broadcaster is still the end goal, but I think starting as a sports reporter and biding my time until an opportunity to broadcast games full time arises is the right way to go,” he said.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program, often called “The Pulitzers of college journalism,” is in its 61st year. It consists of five writing, two photojournalism, one audio, two television and four multimedia competitions offering up to $700,000 in scholarships, matching grants and stipends.


About the University:
The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.

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