Alex Norris wearing OU shirt

ESPN Technical Operations Manager Alex Norris learned how to “make TV” at WOUB

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Norris graduated from Ohio University in 2011

ATHENS, OH – When Alex Norris started at Ohio University in the fall of 2007, he knew he wanted to learn how to “make TV,” but he was unclear on exactly what role he wanted to have in the television industry. Through his experience working at WOUB Public Media, he figured it out and is now a technical operations manager at ESPN.

“When I was at West Holmes High School in Millersburg, I took a broadcasting class. It was basically the morning announcements and basic TV production, and I really enjoyed it. In researching state schools in Ohio with good broadcasting programs, Ohio University kept coming up. I came for a campus visit and it felt like home.”

Norris learned about the hands-on opportunities available for students interested in broadcast careers when he was on that campus visit. He was excited to learn that he could get real-world experience at WOUB Public Media, a professional PBS television and NPR radio station, starting as a freshman.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to do news or sports and if I wanted to be involved in live television or prerecorded television,” said Norris. “The experience at WOUB and with a couple of other student-produced opportunities available in the RTV Building, like Fridays Live (sketch comedy program), helped me figure that piece of it out.”

Norris worked his way up on the production side of WOUB TV’s NewsWatch, a nightly half-hour news program, and Gridiron Glory, a weekly high school football show, learning all aspects of what it takes to put a live television program on the air. The summer before his senior year, he used that experience to land himself an internship at ESPN. And after Norris graduated from Ohio University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in video production, ESPN hired him.

“It was an entry level position,” said Norris. “I was an operations technician 1, which means I did video playback at first. But I worked my way up and eventually started editing highlights and show segments.”

Norris has been promoted several times over the years. He has worked on ESPN’s studio shows like SportsCenter and NFL Live. Then in 2019, he started working full time on replay for live events which included Monday Night Football, as well as NBA and MLB games. Now Norris is a technical operations manager where he is in charge of managing workflow development and configuring equipment.

“I make all of our technology and equipment work for the end users,” said Norris. “I communicate with vendors, test things out and make sure they are ready for ESPN to go on the air.”

Norris says he wouldn’t be where he is today without learning how to “make TV” at WOUB.

“The day-to-day actual hands-on experience and learning and feedback that you get at WOUB is so crucial,” said Norris. “Because WOUB had the latest industry technology, I was able to come in on day one at ESPN and it all made sense. Yes, it was bigger and more complicated. It was on a larger scale. But it all made sense. I understood what was happening around me because I had the professional experience, learning from mistakes and successes at WOUB.”