Austin Schindel: Working as social media reporter through XFINITY

By basking in stadium lights on Major League Baseball’s opening night and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with football stars, Austin Schindel has already gotten a taste of his dream job.

Schindel will walk the Commencement stage next week before he travels to top sporting events as a social media reporter, a yearlong gig any sports fanatic would envy.

The 22-year-old will pocket $40,000 for the job with Comcast’s television service XFINITY, which he won through a nationwide contest in March, and plans to set up the “ultimate sports pad” in his Dupont Circle apartment.

“I can’t believe I’ve been give this opportunity at such a young age. It feels like the sky is the limit,” Schindel said.

Since nabbing the opportunity through XFINITY’s Ultimate Sports Job Social Media Contest, he has run the company’s Twitter account as the “XFINITY Sports Guy.”

Schindel began working last month, calling the new job a 24-hour grind, as he constantly updates his Twitter feed to keep its nearly 1,000 followers posted. In the weeks leading up to graduation, he has interacted with fans sounding off on the National Hockey League playoffs and the Kentucky Derby.

“Twitter is just an incredible space as more and more people join,” Schindel said. “I am talking to people about sports, and we don’t even know each other.”

His tweeting will heat up this summer when he moves into an apartment that XFINITY will outfit with three televisions, including one 3D television, along with an Xbox, an iPad and a stereo system – all designed to help him follow sports day and night.

Throughout his yearlong contract, Schindel might also visit the National Basketball Association Draft or summer baseball games. He has his eye on attending the Olympics in London this summer to tweet about track and field or swimming championships.

Schindel, an international affairs major who hails from New Jersey, said he has been a sports junkie since his father plopped him in front of the television at 5 years old to watch Michael Jordan take on the New York Knicks. Throughout his time at GW, he spent time as a media relations intern at the Washington Nationals, a social media intern for the Washington Redskins and as a columnist for Bleacherreport.com.

He primarily roots for the New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets, but since taking the job, he said he has tried to diversify the sports he watches.

Entering the contest just six hours before deadline, Schindel submitted a short video that earned him a spot among the top 100 finalists. Only five of the finalists continued on in the contest judged solely through Facebook voting.

After making it to the competition’s final round, he covered a professional golf championship with The Golf Channel in Miami, Fla. and went behind the scenes, using social networks to narrate the events of the day, and to follow Tiger Woods through 18 holes.

A few weeks later he got a call, while he was at his internship, telling him he had won the contest.

“I had to stop myself from going crazy in the office,” he said.

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