By Sean Boyle | UConn Journalism | May 3, 2019
A self-proclaimed “email nerd,” Hayley Tafuro (UConn Journalism ’16) is paving the way for aspiring journalists to break into the industry and rise at a major sports station.
While Tafuro always knew she wanted a career covering sports, she never could have imagined reporting to NBC Sports in Stamford each day for work as email marketing coordinator for the sports network’s many email newsletters.
“Driving in each day, seeing the NBC sign… it doesn’t get old,” Tafuro said.
Tafuro got her start at NBC Sports in a small role covering the Rio Olympics. While at UConn, Tafuro was a double major in Journalism and Communications. She always kept busy, whether helping to create the UConn Yearbook, covering a sports beat for The Daily Campus, or working as an intern for The Ruden Report in her native Fairfield County.
Tafuro even did something she once considered unthinkable: She took a job outside the journalism field. Post-graduation, Tafuro was feeling some of the typical stresses that come from finishing school without a job lined up. Tafuro accepted a job in marketing.
“As long I can remember I wanted to do something in sports, so it kind of freaked me out at first,” said Tafuro.
The new job (involving jewelry) taught Tafuro some valuable lessons about networking, making important connections, and refusing to limit yourself to a single career path.
“I always told myself it would all work out in the end,” Tafuro said. “There are random twists and turns but they get you where you are meant to be, so don’t pigeonhole yourself.”
Tafuro’s next move managed to marry marketing and sports journalism, setting up a formula for success. She pounced at an opportunity from connections made at NBC Sports to land a dream job.
Three years later, Tafuro has pivoted from the stress of graduation to the stress of pressing send on email newsletters that go out to thousands, and sometimes MILLIONS, of sports fans.
“We want to tailor our content to the audience,” said Tafuro. “Every time I press send my heart beats out my chest.”
That “audience” at NBC Sports is more broad than Tafuro could have ever imagined. While growing up a sports fan, her knowledge centered around the major New York sports teams — not English Premiere League Soccer or NASCAR, which are major draws for NBC Sports.
“I became a NASCAR fan,” she said. “You have to be a sponge and immerse yourself when you’re in that environment.”
Whether gauging metrics in the hunt for new subscribers, copy editing and designing newsletters, or responding to reader feedback, Tafuro attributes her day to day work to her UConn journalism education. She gained the necessary confidence and a wide variety of practical skills, helping her land her NBC Sports newsletter job just a few years after graduation.
Tafuro offered this advice to aspiring journalists and UConn’s graduating seniors: Trust yourself.
“It’s about really just embracing where you are at that moment. You may start to compare yourself, but focus on your own journey, put your blinders on.”