Da’ Yon Dunlap Spotlight (‘19)

Broadcast journalism student Da’Yon Dunlap has made strides to move forward in his career by interning at Channel 2 and as a commentator for UH athletics. Dunlap had the opportunity to shadow reporters Adam Wexler and Lainie Fritz who did post-game interviews for the Houston Rockets.   

Writing and photography intern Toso Leae sits down with Dunlap to discuss his experiences and how his time at the Valenti School of Communication helped his career.

You can follow Da’Yon on Instagram @dayondlap

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Q&A

How would you describe your personality in three words to someone who doesn't know you?

I would describe my personality as a laid-back type of guy, who is also nice yet very determined.

What made you choose the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication?

After graduating with my associate’s degree from a college in New York, I began to look at the top Communication programs in Texas. The diversity of the program was a major factor that could help me grow. Also, the location of the [UH] campus was a plus for me personally because it was close to Dallas.  

How has your experience at the Valenti School been so far?

My experience has been great so far. Dr. Temple Northup has helped me tremendously. From the professors to the experience of working in the Valenti studios has prepared me for the next phase in my life. The program definitely helps prepare one for the “real world” in any field they desire.

What made you choose to pursue a career in broadcasting?

Originally I was going to pursue a career in print [journalism] because writing has always been one of my strengths. Then I started learning more about being in front of the camera. I just started to feel more comfortable and ultimately decided this was that I wanted to do. I made a list about what I was passionate about and one of the points was Sports. So then I said, “Why not pursue a career that I can get paid to talk about sports? I will enjoy going to work every day.”   

What’s your dream job?

To be a sport reporter for any Dallas station or to cover the Dallas Cowboys. I am a Dallas native and I love the Cowboys.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight has been my start here at UH. I contacted each department before I got here and when I got here I immediately started. My last story I did on Armoni Brooks for the American Athletics Conference connect was probably my best interview so far. I had to shoot it, edited and ask the questions. I received a lot of great feedback from that Interview. It was a proud moment for myself.

Tell us about your experience interning at Channel 2.

That was another life-changing experience for me. The internship gave me the experience of what it was like working in a real news station. I got to shadow sports reporters going to press conferences, going into the Rockets’ locker room and postgame interviews with coaches. I learned to edit better, tips to stay calm while on camera and to not have a “reporter voice.”

What was the most valuable thing you learned while interning at Channel 2?

One of the most valuable things I learned was being open to criticism. You have to have tough skin for this type of field. You have to be able to work in a team setting with different reporters. One thing that they kept harping on me was to stay calm on camera. The audience can tell when it’s not natural. Your body posture and the way you talk has to be pleasing to the eye. You have to be confident in what you're saying, whether it's right or wrong.

Tell us about your experience as a commentator for our Women's Basketball team?

This is my first season doing the commentating for the Women's basketball team. This experience is allowing me to be able to not just do sport reporting but play-by-play commentating. I am very grateful to be able to get this experience while being in college.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

I see myself starting a career at a news station being their sport reporter. I made great connections with Channel 2. I feel very confident with the experience I received here at UH to land a job at a news station.  

Do you have any hobbies? If so, what are they? If not, what is one thing you would like to do in your free time?

I am really good at bowling. I own my own ball and shoes. I grew up in the bowling alley because my godparents were semi professionals. I also enjoy playing pool and reading. Reading is another way for me to expand my vocabulary and different styles of writing.