SOC Ramblers in the Major Leagues, featuring Gabbi Lumma
Welcome to SOC Ramblers in the Major Leagues, where we highlight various media, marketing, and communications careers in action. Last month, we sat down for an interview with SOC’s very own Gabbi Lumma, a Mulitmedia Journalism major minoring in Spanish who also serves as a producer for one of the school’s hit shows, Rambler Sports Locker (RSL).
As a senior classman approaching graduation, Lumma reflected on the beginnings of her journey at Loyola University Chicago. "Being from Kansas City, I went to school in New York my freshman year. Impacted by my experience at Marymount Manhattan College, I wanted to stay in a big city that was surrounded by opportunities. When I learned about Loyola, I was strongly attracted to all the opportunities here in Chicago and the ability to balance suburbia with city life.”
Freely charting her own path, Gabbi’s academic career in journalism came about in an unexpected way. “While at Marymount Manhattan,” she recalled, “it just so happened that I went to a journalism seminar that year that ignited my interest in the subject. The professor of the seminar, Dr. Laura Tropp, said I was such a good writer that she urged me to change my major and write more. I got A’s and was unexpectantly praised as being one of the best writers in the class from the articles I wrote! These experiences strongly encouraged me to take my professor’s advice and explore a career in writing and journalism.”
Read on to enjoy our interview with Lumma, as she shares what it is like wearing a producer’s hat for a high-energy sports show at Loyola University Chicago.
What drew you to your area of study? How have you grown from it and how do you see yourself becoming a change-maker in this field?
Initially, I only wanted to work with journalism in print because that was what I had experience in. Broadcasting and being in front of a camera didn’t appeal to me. But when I came to Loyola, I began to reconsider exploring broadcasting. RSL is where I got my start in that arena; it was my first time being on camera.
Even though I was nervous, I honestly loved the experience. Talking to athletes can be intimidating because they are so focused and passionate, and obviously strong. But having to interview these amazing athletes and talk to them about who they are and the things they care about, it helped me grow my confidence! I just felt like, “If I can talk to this athlete then I can talk in front of the camera.” Being exposed to this and having these kinds of experiences under my belt has contributed to me feeling more comfortable in myself, as a journalist, as a broadcaster and as a producer.
The thing I love the most about being a producer for a sports show is being able to show people who these players are other than “just an athlete.” You see, all throughout high school, I was good friends with many athletes that went on to play at the collegiate level. Because of my relationships with them, I got to see how they lived their day-to-day lives and how it transitioned into college. Seeing how different their lives look on the outside to other people, it can look like their sport is the only thing they have going for them. The truth is, though, that much more goes on behind the scenes; so much more goes into what they do. I love being able to expose that truth by giving them a voice as a producer and journalist.
I understand you are one of the producers of SOC's Rambler Sports Locker (RSL). In your own words, how would you describe the show, and how would you describe the role you play?
We are Loyola’s student-run sports broadcasters. We have other students from Quinlan School of Business and so many other schools, majors, and backgrounds as part of our team. Because of this, there is a level of exposure and experience we all get to broadcast journalism and insight into what it is like working in a studio. We film segments with anchors and other team members in the back of SOC’s Convergence Studio.
I serve as the executive producer of the show. Initially I felt imposter syndrome taking on this role, especially as a woman tackling sports in this way. Amelia Ickes was the Executive producer last year and she continues to help and mentor me in this new role. I am so grateful.
I'm sure being a producer is a fascinating job to have. What do you love most about the role you play? As a producer, I get the privilege of helping people on my team achieve their goals. It's really about mentorship; everyone has different goals and aspirations in life, and it's mind-blowing to me that I'm the one who gets to help my teammates in RSL get to that next level in their careers by becoming more comfortable and confident in themselves. There are no stupid questions or stupid problems. I love being able to build a culture of help, full of soft places where people can safely grow.
What makes sports media unique? A lot of times people think you have to know everything there is to know about sports in order to be a sports broadcaster, but that is not true. Yes, it is a very male-dominated space and because of that it can feel a little intimidating at times. But you move past the nervousness and broadcast anyway. For me, sports media puts you in a place where you are always learning, keeping you on your toes because at any time, anything can happen.
What have you learned from the athletes you’ve interviewed? How have they motivated you?
Every time I interview an athlete, I learn something new. After a press conference or something, you usually don’t get much insight into things. But in more intimate interviews, you can learn a great deal about what it takes to be an athlete. They go through so much: injuries, a hard week, and so on. But their motivation and winner’s spirit cause them to overcome these adversities.
Do you have any favorite moments or favorite episodes?
Man, I have so many that it is tough to pick. I think one of my all-time favorite moments would have to be last year during March Madness. We won the tournament, and everyone was awed by the victory. It was definitely a moment to remember. My favorite episode so far is probably one that happened this year; when we got out new intro for RSL! Seeing all our ideas spring to life was awesome.
There is something immensely powerful about community. From the players to the coaches and the fans, community and teamwork are two of the most legendary earmarks of the sports arena. When you think about the team you work with at RSL, how would you describe them? What stands out to you the most about them?
I would describe them as incredibly hard-working, creative, not afraid to try new things, and eager [to learn and grow]. Everyone has a close bond. Even last year, sometimes we just sat around together, told jokes, and laughed. There is an extraordinary bond among the team here at RSL. I would tell prospective students not to be afraid. Everyone here was once in your shoes. Don’t be afraid, no one will judge you. If anything, we will commend you for being brave and trying something new.
So, what’s next for you, Gabbi?
Well, after graduation, I want to begin work doing reporting for football or basketball. In the meantime, right now I am embracing my last moments as a student; the youth of it all. I’ve had a lot of weird moments during these last few months of senior year, realizing that I am nearing the real world. So, I am enjoying being present and taking in every moment.