Take advantage of opportunities in a growing sports city

With so many games to cover each season, the young reporters at Rebel Report—UNLV’s student-run sports broadcast and social media outlet—definitely make their mark. Junior Dominic Lavoie is one of the UNLV students making his mark in the world of sports journalism.

What inspired you to get into sports journalism?

One random day when I was thirteen I was playing an NHL video game with one of my friends and we made our own teams. I just put them against each other and just let the PCs play against each other. I looked at it as a simulation game and started doing play-by-play and thought, “This is a lot of fun. I love doing it.’ Then it occurred to me – I want to do this for the rest of my life.

So I started chasing him. I was on the school newspaper at my high school and started writing articles for them. And in 2021 I started doing video and editing. And since then I’ve just been doing my thing [sports coverage] camera on.

When did you first get involved with Rebel Report?

I joined in the spring of 2021 — I wrote articles throughout 2021 and then at the end of 2021 I started transitioning to video. I realized that I write my articles the same way I write my screenplays. I already had the mindset to write for broadcast, so I wanted to do more of that.

It was hard to get into video at first, but the thing that raised my game to where I am now was when I started working at a news station and talking to people in the TV industry and getting their brains on everything. It was a tough transition, learning how to be in front of a camera – you’re your own worst critic, looking at yourself in front of a camera and thinking, “Why did you move like that?” Over time, I got used to looking at myself and hearing my own voice and accepting that if I didn’t do a good job, there would be another game to cover that would be better.

What tips did you get that helped you feel more comfortable in front of the camera?

You want to be really excited because sports are fun and you have to act like you’re talking to your friend and telling them what happened at the UNLV basketball game, the hockey game, or the Raiders game last week. Honestly, the biggest thing that helped me relax was just to stop thinking about it. Stop trying to be a super buttoned up news reporter and just have fun and just act like you love what you do and act like you’re telling your best friend.

What are some of the most memorable games or events you’ve covered for the Rebel Report?

When the Raiders played the Patriots this season. My family is from New England and I grew up a Patriots fan, so being at a Patriots game was really cool. And then the way the game ended when Jacoby Myers’ lateral that was picked off by Chandler Jones and he tackled Mack Jones to the ground and returned it for a touchdown and won the game. This will definitely be a staple memory for me.

And my first NHL game I ever covered. I grew up a hockey fan and all my life I’ve only had CHL hockey here. I never thought we’d get an NHL franchise here and that I’d be able to be in the press box at an NHL game and rub shoulders with writers I follow on Twitter and pass play-by-play announcers that I watching on tv growing up was a “wow” moment.

Is there anything in particular that you really enjoy doing live hits and being part of the atmosphere of a game?

I think the love of it comes from doing a little bit of sports and it feels like a sports moment when you’re out there and you treat it like it’s the only chance you’ve got to just go for it. It’s like that thrill you get, especially after a really good shot, when you’re like, ‘I did it.’

What do your future goals look like in sports journalism?

Right now I’m kind of torn between a play-by-play role and being a local TV sports reporter — I’d love to do both. I can see myself working in Boston because it’s so special and there’s so much going on all the time. I just love being in the city. I love the sports culture there and I have family there. Definitely in the next ten years, hopefully, I’ll be on a network like ESPN or NBC, making really, really good money and wearing great suits.

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