Communications director helps shape Cal’s image

Kyle McRae, associate athletic communications director, talked to sports journalists today about the new world of departments such as his, which used to be called media relations.

Today, McRae’s job is not only about helping to arrange media interviews or answering reporters’ questions, but also about shaping the image of the Cal football team his own — through social media, including email, Twitter, Facebook, and also through his own writing, including stories and press releases. “Now, we have our own power to … shape our image,” McRae said.

McRae talked to students in our sportswriting and broadcasting workshop here at UC-Berkeley at the renovated Memorial Stadium, which includes a state-of-the-art practice facility and training center.

He stressed the importance of relationship-building with the Cal team, which opens its new season Sept. 1. He gets to know the players well in order to work with them and prepare them for interviews. Equally important: writing skills.

He also told students to remember to “get involved. … be there. Because you’ve got to be around. You’re never too far above doing any job,” he said, adding that another important skill for young people is to learn to “be humble. Don’t act like you know everything.”