Producing in the Bubble with Turner Sports’s Morgann Mitchell

Her work experience for the last year has provided her such a unique perspective, Morgann Mitchell has earned herself a nickname within Turner Sports: “Bubbles”. Mitchell, Social Media Assistant Manager at Turner Sports, spent much of the last 12 months living and working inside the NBA Playoff, NBA All-Star, and NCAA March Madness production bubbles.

“Being that close up and that personal to the games was probably my favorite thing. Obviously you miss the crowd, you miss that whole atmosphere, but there was something, it felt like you were going to these really intense pick-up games where you could hear what the players were saying and you could see everything that’s happening,” said Mitchell.

In this episode of #Storyteller, she shares her secrets behind producing impactful cross-channel content, and opens up about capturing the heart of culture, love, and some of the best brands in sports.

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On what content works best on each social network:

“You want to go with what that platform is kind of giving you. So as we’ve seen with TikTok, it needs to be shorter content. It doesn’t need to be super produced. People like the realness, it’s like what Vine used to be, right? Those quick videos, they’re gritty, they’re funny, they’re whatever, but it doesn’t need to be like super beautiful. For Instagram stories, it’s kind of the same thing. It’s just quick stuff to make people feel like a part of the atmosphere. Then the stuff that lives on your feeds, I’d say Twitter being chronological really helps because you know if you capture a moment and you get it up within like five minutes, that’s the conversation. So we’re going to do that. But with Instagram and Facebook, because it’s not necessarily chronological, you want it to be there where people are talking about it, but it’s going to pick up steam throughout the course of the time that it’s on the platform versus needing to it to be like first with Twitter.”

How a year where social injustice was front and center stage, changed perspectives on content creation around the game of basketball:

“As a black woman before I went to the bubble, I was one of the people protesting. I was one of the people making sure that I felt like I was helping people that look like me that are struggling and being in that environment. Especially during COVID it was hard because you feel this level of safety from this virus that was decimating communities. So it’s like, you kind of feel guilty about that, but then you also kind of feel guilty about caring about things that don’t seem really important. Like if we talk about a basketball game compared to the life of Breonna Taylor, those two things don’t add up. So I did have a hard time and I think what we’re talking about, like the questions I asked, I was very forthcoming with players. Like, ‘I’m going to ask you these things because you guys have said you want to make sure that you’re using your platform to make sure that this messaging is out there and that these conversations don’t die down just because the games are back…’

It’s hard if there’s only four or five black media members. It’s a hard balance because you don’t want that to be your thing, right? Like, oh, I only talk about race. I can never talk about the game. But as a black woman, I feel like it was my responsibility to have those conversations and ask people about things that I know directly impacted people.”

On how producing in the bubble will change her approach to content creation moving forward:

“I was really fortunate that I was empowered to be able to ask the questions that I thought were important. So I think going forward, I just feel more comfortable speaking about things that aren’t necessarily ‘on the court’ topics…I feel way more empowered to have tough conversations with people and to help them to use their voices for the things that they’re passionate about as well.”

On having a “North Star” when producing content:

“I would say my best advice would be to have a, we call it a North star. So everything that you’re creating, all your content, the brand, voice, everything, it all goes back to whatever you guys have decided as a group that your brand is going to represent and is going to be trying to live up to these pillars and these ideals. Diversity is so important when it comes to running social media platforms because there’s so many different voices that are going to be consuming your content. And I know in sports specifically we do, as a whole, use a lot of vernacular that’s really more towards like pop culture or hip hop or that type of stuff. So when you have somebody who is not ingrained in that or doesn’t understand it, it can sometimes feel inauthentic and people pick up on that.”