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Sparkling debut during NBA All-Star Weekend

Derryl Barnes, a senior journalism major at the University of Miami School of Communication, was selected as this year’s Oscar Pope Lift Every Voice Fellow.
Derryl Barnes

Senior Derryl Barnes was thrilled to be part of the broadcast team during the NBA All-Star Weekend. Photos: Courtesy of John Nowak/TNT

The top NBA players gathered in Indianapolis, Indiana, last week for the 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend. Among those personalities was a face many at the University of Miami might recognize—Derryl Barnes Jr., a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. 

Barnes was selected as this year’s Oscar Pope Lift Every Voice Fellow, a program that provides one minority undergraduate student journalist an opportunity to work with TNT and NBA TV during exclusive events. 

Despite being rejected three times in the past for the fellowship, Barnes said he didn’t give up on what he considered the opportunity of a lifetime. Instead, he kept persevering to prove not only to others, but to himself, that he was worthy to be a part of the broadcasting journalism industry. 

In December, after wrapping up an internship with ESPN’s YouTube team, he shared the statistics of what his video content produced on Instagram. Within 48 hours, he was contacted by TNT Sports offering him the fellowship. 

“This opportunity reinforced the idea that I do want to pursue a career in broadcast television, and I do want to work in sports,” said Barnes, who is also the treasurer for the University’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. “This also reaffirmed that I am good enough and that I do belong in this industry.”

Barnes appeared on TNT and NBA TV broadcasts throughout the weekend. He conducted interviews with Portland Trail Blazers’ point guard Sterling “Scoot” Henderson; Anthony Graham, interim chancellor of Winston-Salem State University; and Philadelphia 76ers’ point guard Tyrese Maxey. 

“My dad always says that stuff doesn’t always happen when you want it to, but it always happens right on time,” said Barnes. “And this definitely happened right on time because I am starting to look for my first job after college, and I’ve been really unsure whether I wanted to do news or sports. This really boosted my confidence and made me realize sports is where I want to be.” 

Ben Ezzy, the manager of broadcast operations and faculty advisor for UMTV, the University’s student-run television station, said getting to see Barnes as part of the All-Star Weekend talent is a testament of how one can develop and grow by working hard both on- and off-camera. 

“Derryl works really hard and does so many different things. He works on camera, he’s helped design graphics, he helps mentor younger students of UMTV, and he’s just a really well-rounded person who is a great representative of UMTV,” said Ezzy. “Seeing him represent the University on a national stage and accomplish something he has been working hard at for years is amazing to see.” 

Earlier this month, Barnes was awarded first place in the Television Anchor Category at the 2024 Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts. 

“It’s like all the dots are connecting and it's crazy because I am still wondering how it happened to me,” said Barnes. “I just feel extremely grateful that all of these things are finding me at the right time.”