Alumni Service to CAHSS Award Winner: Andreas "Andy" Clayton
The College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS) congratulates the 2023 Alumni Award Winners! These distinguished alumni have made positive, lasting impacts on not just CAHSS but within the liberal arts and their communities at large. We are proud to shine a spotlight on the incredible work these alumni have done and we look forward to their continued success.
The CAHSS alumni service award is granted to a CAHSS alum who has made significant contributions to the arts, humanities and social sciences at the University of Denver. The alum has offered their time, expertise, enthusiasm and energy to improving liberal arts programming at DU and has helped to preserve and promote CAHSS traditions at DU.
Lakewood, Colo.; now Beacon, N.Y.
Graduation year and major
(BA, '94) Mass Communication; Minor in Political Science
(MS, '96) Public Relations
What is your current role?
Deputy Director of Content, Sports for the New York Daily News
I built the sports team from the ground up as NYDN.com’s first full-time sports editor. I have directed the Daily News’ digital coverage for the world’s biggest sporting events, including Super Bowls, the World Series, NBA and NHL Finals, the Olympics, World Cups, plus daily coverage of the local franchises.
How did you get into this career?
When I finished my undergraduate days, including my time as sports editor of The Clarion, I boldly sent my resume to the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News and said “hire me.” The message from Denver’s two daily newspapers was for me to aim smaller, much smaller. Arrogantly balking at the idea of moving to a small town to start my professional journalism career, I pivoted when I was offered a graduate assistant position with DU’s Sports Information Office.
A connection made during my SID days led me to a job with dot-com startup Mercury Mail (later InfoBeat) as a sports editor and just like that I was off and running. It was a wonderfully frantic last quarter as a grad student as I worked my morning SID shift in the old DU Field House, attended classes in the afternoon and then headed downtown to work the night shift. After five years, including the final four in charge of the sports department, I found myself laid off with the rest of the staff when the dot-com bubble burst and our parent company Sony waved the white flag.
It was at this point that I finally added small-town newspaper reporter to my resume. I followed my future wife to Brookings, S.D. and South Dakota State University, where she was hired to help start the women’s soccer program. I spent a year covering everything from the local high school sports scene, to the high-powered SDSU basketball and football teams. I even covered rodeo when the college circuit passed through town. The culture shock of Denver to Brookings was matched 1 1/2 years later when we moved to Long Island for Sarah’s next career opportunity. It was there at a public library near our illegal basement apartment that I spotted the ad that changed the course of my career. The Daily News, New York’s Hometown Newspaper and one of the largest newspapers in the country, was looking for an online sports editor. I survived the nerve-racking interviews and editing tests (completed at that same public library) and landed the gig. The News’ website was an afterthought at that point in 2003, but it got me in the door and I never looked back.
What are your favorite memories of your time at DU?
Freshman don’t belong in this class, Professor Jeff Rutenbeck told me when I signed up for his journalism class during my first quarter at DU. 'This one does,' I said, with the confidence of a kid who had been the sports editor of his high school newspaper for three years and had been in love with sports writing since I could first put words down on paper (starting with crayons as my writing tool of choice). I also heard early on that Rutenbeck didn't give As. I aced my first assignment — writing my own obituary — and that first class. I plotted my coursework around whatever Rutenbeck was teaching and he became a trusted mentor during my time at the corner of South Gaylord and East Harvard.
Here is the lede of that first college assignment:
NEW YORK - NBC sports broadcaster and NFL LIVE host Andreas Clayton, three-time Emmy winner for achievement in sports journalism, was killed last night during a broadcast of a New York Mets baseball game at Shea Stadium. He was 48.
Clayton was killed when a line-drive shot off the bat of Mets rookie Steven Griffey struck him in the forehead during the seventh inning of the Mets-Cubs game.
We all have to start somewhere!
I also need to shout out Cathy Grieve, the internship director for the Mass Communications department during my undergrad days. She barely knew me at that point, but when I told her that my dream internship was to work in the sports department at Denver Channel 9 (KUSA), she made it happen. She called the sports producer on the spot and sang my praises as I sat in her office hoping I could live up to her faith in me. She was so respected around town that from there all I had to do was show up at Ch. 9 to answer a few questions and shake a few hands.
That internship was the highlight of my time at DU. I stuck around long after the internship officially ended and by the end of the year was collecting freelance paychecks for helping cover Broncos training camp.
What advice would you give to new and current students?
I’ll share the piece of advice I received from a valued mentor in the sports information department less than a year after leaving the comfort of the DU campus. After an early shake-up at InfoBeat, I found myself in charge of the sports department and managing others for the first time.
I received a letter in the mail from my former boss with this message: No matter how frustrated or hard you may have to work at times, you get the privilege of managing others. That means you can make a difference in someone else’s life and that is the greatest feeling and satisfaction there is in the workplace.
His words still stick with me today: Make a difference, find ways to give back, and make life better for others.
Finally, make sure you soak up every opportunity while on campus. Go to the hockey game. Check out the gymnastics meet. Catch a concert over at the Lamont School of Music. Attend a lecture in Sturm Hall. Don’t get caught up in the bubble that is your little corner of campus, go explore all that DU has to offer.