NCAA corp. comm. chief
lectures in Elon classes


David 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 questions.

"I've 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."

Pickle's career 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."

Pickle said 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."

Pickle credits 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."

Pickle was 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 PBS.

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.



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Last Modified:  9/06/03
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