Disney. ESPN. Two of the most well known names in the entertainment industry. Companies as far reaching and influential as these cannot help but be on the forefront of the latest technological innovations so that they can continue delivering the best entertainment to millions of fans around the world.
Jordan Goldberg graduated from the iSchool in 2002 with his bachelor’s degree in information management and technology. He recently came back to Syracuse University to talk to students as the first speaker in the iSchool’s HINDSights Alumni Visitor Series.
While he was on campus, he spoke about his role as a Senior Account Manager of Digital Video Distribution at Disney and ESPN. He also met with a variety of classes and held a talk to speak about his experiences since he graduated, as well as changes in TV viewership and video distribution that Disney and ESPN are currently seeing.
IT in the Entertainment Industry: ESPN and Disney
After graduation, Goldberg worked at ESPN as a support analyst in the IT department. In his day-to-day role, he would fix computers and systems across all the departments at ESPN. He explained that through this role, he was able to meet a wide variety of people. This helped him network and take on bigger roles in the company, and eventually his current role. He greatly attributes being in the IT department to helping him network, because “when you fix something, people are going to like you.”
From his early days at ESPN, he worked his way up into his current role, where today his daily tasks include managing TV distribution for Disney (whose portfolio includes ESPN, ABC, Disney Channel, and FreeForm channels) as well as negotiating distribution and licensing for the different channels.
Throughout his time at Disney and ESPN, he says that he has been “fortunate to travel all over the world,” including to Germany for the 2006 World Cup, to Wimbledon in 2000 and 2004, and to the Pan American Games in Rio. Additionally, he has gotten the chance to work with great partners including Google, Spotify, and Microsoft to bring Disney and ESPN video to even more viewers.
Advice for iSchool Students
When asked if he has any advice for students who may want to go down a similar career path, he said first and foremost they should “take a diverse set of classes and explore different technology skill sets” during their time at the iSchool. Two iSchool classed he cited as being particularly helpful in his career were Computer Networking (IST 233) with Professor David Molta as well as Telecommunications Regulations (IST 453).
When Goldberg graduated, mobile was just becoming the next “big thing,” and he learned a lot about it during his early roles at ESPN. He said that learning about mobile early on helped him in his current role, since so much of television is now watched on mobile devices.
Goldberg also urges students to “take advantage of the networking opportunities on campus and in the iSchool,” given the competitiveness of the job market once you graduate. Finally, he advises students to “go into their careers with an open mind,” since technology is changing so quickly and they will want to be able to take advantage of every opportunity.