What can you do with an NC State degree in communication? Ask multimedia journalist, host and social media producer Arielle Chambers.
Chambers, known to friends and colleagues as Ari, is the founder and online voice of Bleacher Report’s HighlightHER social media presence, among the fastest-growing women’s sports platforms. She doles out a steady diet of news and interviews that celebrate female athletes and spotlight issues affecting the industry on the platform’s YouTube and Instagram pages.
“Only 4% of sports media is dedicated to women’s sports,” she notes. “HighlightHER’s goal is to increase that number, elevate the stories of female athletes, and bring women’s sports to the forefront.”
The former professional cheerleader, who cheered while at NC State, started doing just that seven years ago. Chambers got her aha moment while cheering at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden for men’s and women’s teams like the Knicks, the Rangers and the New York Liberty.
“I noticed that the press wasn’t covering stories about professional female athletes like those on Liberty, so I decided to cover them myself,” she explains. “I recorded their stories on my cell phone and posted them on YouTube and Twitter.” She says her earlier experience as a sportswriter and editor was invaluable.
In 2019, she was tapped to spearhead HighlightHER, which Chambers describes as “a community, a sisterhood and a place of empowerment.” Since its debut, the platform has grown to more than 105,000 followers and has expanded to include artists. Chambers also recently landed on Forbes’ 30 under 30 sports list, helping to put HighlightHER “in front of more eyes,” she notes.
Chambers says she utilizes storytelling “to amplify the voices of women and girls in sports and culture and show them their potential is limitless.” She also integrates sports with social issues relevant today, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the gender wage disparity in sports, and players’ mental health during the pandemic.
At NC State, Chambers says she learned about storytelling, the importance of researching and writing, and the business side of journalism. These are the tools needed to succeed in today’s digital space, she says, adding that majoring in the humanities and social sciences offered many opportunities to put those tools into practice while on campus.
Chambers notes that she still uses lessons from NC State. “Everything about my degree is exactly in alignment with what I am doing now,” she explains. “I am on social media and making a living.”
Chambers says she also values her time at NC State, a place where “her vision started, and where she met and networked with many different types of people.” Attending an Atlantic Coast Conference school and being involved with its athletic program, she adds, also “solidified that I wanted to work in sports.”
Her advice to someone entering the field? “Find out what works for you and go after it.”
This post was originally published in College of Humanities and Social Sciences.