Use opportunities in a growing sports city

With so many games to cover each season, the young reporters at Rebel Report – UNLV’s student-run sports broadcast and social media platform – definitely get their representatives. Junior Dominic Lavoie is one of the UNLV students exploring the world of sports journalism.

What made you decide to do sports journalism?

One random day when I was thirteen, I was playing an NHL video game with one of my buddies and we formed our own teams. I just put them against each other and just let the computers play against each other. I looked at it like a simulation game and started playing play-by-play and I was like, “This is a lot of fun. I love doing this.” Then it occurred to me – I want to do this for the rest of my life.

So I started tracking it. I was on my high school’s student newspaper and started writing articles for them. And in 2021 I started to dabble in video and editing. And since then I’ve just been doing my thing [sports coverage] in front of the camera.

When did you first get involved with Rebel Report?

I joined in spring 2021 – I wrote articles throughout 2021 and then started to switch to video in late 2021. I realized that I wrote my articles the same way I wrote my screenplays. I already had the mindset to write for TV, so I wanted to do more of it.

Getting into video was difficult at first, but what got my game to where I am now is when I started working at a news station and talking to people in the broadcast industry and telling them everything to break your head. It’s been a tough transition learning how to be in front of the camera – you’re your own worst critic, you look at yourself on camera and you’re like, ‘why did you move like that?’ I got used to it over time To look at myself and hear my own voice and accept that if I didn’t do well, there would be another game that would get better.

What kind of advice have you received that has helped you feel more comfortable in front of the camera?

You should be really enthusiastic because exercise is fun and you should pretend to talk to your friend and tell him what happened at the UNLV basketball game or the hockey game or the Raiders game last week. Honestly, the biggest thing that helped me loosen up was just to stop thinking about it. Stop trying to be a super buttoned up news reporter and just have fun and just pretend you love what you do and pretend you tell your best friend.

What are some of the most memorable games or events you’ve covered for Rebel Report?

When the Raiders played the Patriots that season. My family is from New England and I grew up a Patriots fan so it was really cool to be able to attend a Patriots game. And then the way the game ended when Jakobi Meyer’s side got picked up by Chandler Jones and that he stuffed Mac Jones in the ground and returned him for a touchdown and won the game. This will definitely be a core memory for me.

And my first NHL game to cover. I grew up as a hockey fan and have only had CHL hockey here my entire life. I never thought that we would get an NHL franchise here and be able to be in the press box at an NHL game and rub elbows and play-by with writers I follow on Twitter. Passing play announcers I saw on TV Growing up was a “wow” moment.

Is there something you especially love about making hits live and being part of the atmosphere of a game?

I think the love for it comes from playing a little sport and feeling like a sporting moment, where you’re out there and treating it like it’s the only chance you have to just do it. It’s like that thrill you get especially after a really good hit where you’re like, “I nailed that.”

What are your future goals in sports journalism?

Right now I’m kind of between a play-by-play role and a sports reporter on local TV – I’d love to do both. I can imagine working in Boston because it’s so special and there’s always so much going on. I just love being in the city. I love the sports culture there and have family there. Hopefully within the next ten years I’ll definitely be working at a network like ESPN or NBC, making really, really good money and wearing cool suits.