Pickle, the director of communications for the National Collegiate
Athletic Association, was a special guest at the School of Communications
Sept. 5. He visited several classes to share his knowledge and answer
come to believe there is a tremendous future for those of you who
are interested in journalism who also want to pursue corporate communications
careers," he said. "Journalistic skills are always in
demand. You would be amazed at how valuable it is to be able to
write well and write quickly."
began at the Corpus Christi and Waco, Texas, daily newspapers. After
he had logged some years as a sports journalist and had become a
veteran reporter, he was approached by the NCAA's PR director at
the time and was recruited to edit The NCAA News. He took the editorship
on for a few years, then took that experience and returned to newspapering
as sports editor for the Houston Chronicle. "Later, the NCAA
called again," he said. "They wanted me to come back,
to take over this position, and I have never regretted it."
He said he
can do good journalism and fulfill the vital role of informing a
community in his work as a corporate communicator. "We look
at the NCAA warts and all in our work," he said. "Look
at the stories we have covered in The NCAA News. We know there are
problems, and we believe it is best to address those problems. For
instance, the NCAA bureaucracy is a whopper. We covered this and
our efforts to make things better. This can be done anywhere you
go as a corporate communicator - in the auto industry, in law, you
name it - as long as the organization is willing to commit to introspection."
he sees his duty as working to help his constituency find ways to
improve. "We are working to be better," he said. "We
are persuading our membership through journalism. Don't think you
can't be a journalist in organizational communications. There is
a need for people who can do this."
He said when
he hires communications professionals he looks for three key things:
organizational skills, the ability to write and "a quality
person, a person who can suport the enterprise through excellence."
his work at daily newspapers with building in him the capability
to perform quality work and turn it around quickly. "Working
at a paper hardens your discipline," he said. "It's relentless.
You have to constantly come up with ideas and go out daily and produce
on those ideas. If you can survive that and grow, you can do any
work in the field of communications."
at Elon University in conjunction with a visit by his boss, Myles
Brand, the NCAA president. Brand and a panel including Wake Forest
president Thomas Hearn, Southern Conference president Danny Morrison,
ESPN basketball expert Len Elmore, North Carolina State University
basketball coach Kay Yow and University of North Carolina president
emeritus William Friday discussed issues surrounding NCAA reform
in a public meeting that was taped for distribution on UNC-TV and
He also came
to Elon to visit his old roommate. Paul Parsons, dean of the School
of Communications, roomed with Pickle for several years when they
were undergraduates at Baylor University.