Mason Niese

JDM Department brings student closer to his longtime career goal of sports camera operator

Published on June 20, 2024
Ashland University

While at Shelby Middle School, Mason Niese was asked by the school’s football coach if he would be interested in filming their games.

“I said, ‘Sure, why not,’ and I ended up enjoying it so much that I decided that this is the career that I wanted to pursue,” said Niese, who plans to work as a camera operator and continue video editing for marketing and advertising agency New Day Creative in Mansfield after he graduates from Ashland University in December.

Niese said he chose to attend Ashland because of the strong reputation of its Journalism and Digital Media (JDM) Department and the connections that the chair of the department, Dave McCoy, Ph.D., and John Skrada, director of broadcasting and operations at the university, have.

“I have enjoyed my time in the JDM department at AU,” Niese said. “I have met so many amazing people that have changed my life, and I have learned so many things through hands-on experience that will help me throughout my career.”

McCoy has taught him a lot about the media field and has offered him advice on life, while Skrada has helped him get his foot into the media business and quickly get hands-on experience, Niese said.

Skrada co-owns S&S Video Productions with Dan Sevic, director of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball for Bally Sports, which also does Cleveland Guardians and Ashland University games, as well as other Ohio sports.

“I’ve had the privilege to work Cleveland Cavalier games, Cleveland Guardians games, Ohio State athletics, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew and more,” Niese said.

He said he will never forget working his first Cavs game, walking around the court and tunnels before the game started, just thinking that he had finally made it to the professional level.

Working the MLS Cup, Major League Soccer’s championship game, in Columbus was another unforgettable experience.

“We were there for three days straight, and the amount of people that were a part of producing that was insane to me,” he said. “I am forever grateful that I was a part of that.”

Before coming to AU, Niese had his fair share of experience operating a camera.

After middle school, he continued to record high school football games at Shelby as a freshman and sophomore.

For his junior and senior years of high school, Niese attended Pioneer Career and Technology Center in Shelby for its media communications program.

“Through that I was able to get an internship through a local media company called the OH Report,” he said. “The OH Report allowed me to help operate and live stream high school football and basketball athletics throughout the area, not just Shelby.

“I was working in so many different high schools in the area that I can’t even name all of them,” he added. “When I arrived at Ashland, John Skrada asked if I’d like to work the AU football games as a camera operator and, obviously, I said ‘Yes.’ Within the first week of me being at Ashland, I was running a camera for football.”

Ever since his first week at AU, Niese has worked as a camera operator for every AU football game, as well as all the home men’s and women’s basketball games.

“I just love being a part of it all,” Niese said when asked what he most likes about working a camera at sporting events and why he wants to keep doing it beyond AU. “Knowing what we’re doing is being shown on thousands of different TVs in so many different places, is incredibly humbling and it makes me just want to do a better job at everything that I do.”