Labor of Love

Alex Love photo

Former men’s cross country and track and field team member Alex Love, ’17, recently paid a visit to his alma mater. Love, who is originally from Pasadena, Maryland, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in mass media.

After college, he went to work as a sports reporter for KGHI Nebraska TV, an ABC affiliate station in Kearney, Nebraska. In September 2018, he joined WJTV 12, a CBS affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi, as a news reporter.

In August 2019, Love made national headlines with his breaking coverage of widespread raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at food processing plants in the state. Love’s reporting on the hundreds of arrests, and the children left temporarily homeless as a result, drew praise from MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell.

Why did you choose to attend USC Upstate?

I chose Upstate after coach Carson Blackwelder reached out to me with an opportunity to run for the cross country and track programs, which were my standout sports in high school. After I visited, I knew — since I wanted to travel out of state for school and learn new things — it was my best option. And I never regretted the decision.

How did you choose your current career path?

I was always a mass media major in the communications department. My career goals in the news field began when I was a junior in college and started announcing sports for high school games and the morning news club to my school. I never stopped to think of something else while attending USC Upstate.

What was it like getting started at USC Upstate?

I began working basketball, baseball and softball games during my freshman year, volunteering with the ESPN 3 crew as a utility boy and cameraman. It was a real revelation about how much you need to know and be willing to work when considering a job in media. But I took it all in game by game. As for announcing, that started my freshman year. At Upstate, I only did PA announcing. That, too, was a challenge that has paid off in what I do today. I started filling in at a couple of baseball games. By my senior year, I became the full-time soccer, volleyball, and even basketball announcer. It was a thrill to rock the fields and courts for fans and player. To get them pumped up and bring their highlights to the spotlight was really rewarding.

What are some of your best memories during your time at the university?

The first memory that comes to mind was from my junior year, when I filled in as the PA for women’s basketball as they took on Stetson, which was their conference rival at the time. It was the fourth quarter and senior Shelby Hicks, who I still talk to to this day, hit a buzzer beater to win the game. I screamed into the mic, “THREE POINTER!” And Upstate came from behind to win. It made the SportsCenter Top Ten later that night. You could hear me in the background, which was so cool and probably why I love to do this. Honestly, every game, whether it was a win or loss, was a special experience for me because I learned how to stay positive.

What other opportunities did you seek out while a student at USC Upstate?

I was able to take advantage of some great internships that gave me hands-on training to land my dream job reporting. First, with ESPN Upstate radio back in 2015. It was great to cover the (NFL Carolina) Panthers training camp through them, as well as learning everything about broadcasting and building shows. I got to interview coach Don Staley when they brought the conference championship to Greenville, as well as co-host a couple times with Greg McKinney and Ken Blankenship on “The Huddle.” I also became digital sports director for I got to cover high school and college sports and even got to interview Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers when he came to a celebrity golf tournament over the summer in 2017. I was also as a video reporter and covered the Gamecocks when they won their third conference championship in Greenville.

What has been your recipe for success?

Becoming a news reporter for a CBS affiliate would not have been possible without USC Upstate. In particular, all of the mentors and support that came from the people here. Upstate taught me to do what I’m doing today. The ingredients were repetition with writing, speaking, editing, filming, reporting and more. One of my biggest undertakings here was pioneering my own sports talk show, “Spartan Sports Network,” as my senior project. I would interview players and coaches, break down highlights and discuss stats after games. At the time, our athletic department and student newspaper did not have digital outlets dedicated to this kind of coverage so it mattered to the teams, the parents and me. Between the classes, internships and PA announcing, I learned all I could about the positions, both in front and behind the scenes, to report a great segment in news and sports. Now, my dream is a reality, and I wake up every morning excited and happy to go to work because I’m doing what I love!

Do you have any advice for those who might follow you?

I only hope other mass media majors at Upstate see the same path I saw despite not being at a huge school with tons of resources at your fingertips. Many times, I had to create things with what I had or go on my own ideas, but it can be made and done just like anywhere else.


Alex Love photo
Alex Love, '17, reports on an approaching tropical storm for WJTV 12, a CBS affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi.
Alex Love photo
Love, who majored in communications at Upstate, visited a few old haunts this summer while he was back on campus.
Alex Love photo
Love often reports on issues affecting immigrants in Mississippi.