Derryl Barnes, Seizing Opportunities to Stand Out

Derryl Barnes interviews Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey on Feb. 18, 2024.

In four years, Derryl Barnes has built a resume that most broadcast journalism majors can only dream of. From The Wall Street Journal to ESPN, Barnes’ impressive accomplishments can be traced to his beginnings within the School of Communication.

“I’ve worked for ESPN twice,” Barnes said. “I worked for The Wall Street Journal’s video team. I’ve been an on-air reporter for TNT Sports at NBA All-Star Weekend, working with Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neil, Charles Barkley all before I left school. It was because of the opportunities that I was given here – because I made the most out of them.”

From producing award-winning projects to scoring highly competitive internships, Barnes has truly maximized his time at the U. However, his passion for broadcasting started long before he enrolled at UM.

Opportunity of a lifetime

Barnes first learned the fundamentals of film and broadcasting at the Beacon Academy of Digital and Media Arts in Illinois, competing against high school students in similar programs.

A self-proclaimed college TV nerd, Barnes fell in love with UMTV stations SportsDesk and NewsVision. He reminisces on staying in the weight room after basketball practice to watch new episodes as soon as they aired.

“It was to the point where the motion sensor lights would turn off because I was watching UMTV of all things, which is a really nerdy thing to say,” Barnes said.

When Barnes found out he received a full-ride merit scholarship to the University of Miami at one of his basketball games, he was ecstatic.

“I think I missed every single layup in that layup line once we went and warmed up but I didn’t care,” Barnes said. “I had a smile on my face cause I was like ‘I can go to school for free.’”

Leading early on

Barnes’ high school skills seamlessly transferred to UMTV. So much so, he was entrusted to create his own Instagram TV shows, going on to mentor peers as a freshman.

“It was really cool to see that it was something I was able to bring here and start here,” Barnes said. “I’m a freshman in a position where I’m teaching other people how to do this, then they’re passing it along semester by semester.”

Barnes’ expertise prompted him to create “Off the Bench” his freshman year, a SportsDesk segment where he tried out different club sports at UM. His favorite episode features humorous clips of him attempting to sail on the water.

“They put me in a boat with one of their captains who probably hasn’t flipped over in years,” Barnes said. “We barely even make it out of the dock, and I flip over the boat.”

Ironically, Barnes’ senior Capstone episode echoes the chaotic charm of his sailing excursion from three years prior.

After receiving last place in a wakeboarding competition, his opponent gave him a trophy for his efforts.

“He felt bad that I was going home empty-handed,” Barnes said.

Going the extra mile

Leveraging the resources available at the School of Communication, Barnes also took on additional projects outside the studio with the help of UMTV faculty.

“The professors are going to seek out opportunities for you just because they see that you’re a go-getter,” Barnes said.

His documentary, “Hand U: The History of Throwing up the U,” he created with Professor Edward Julbe won the NATAS Suncoast Region Student Production Award in 2022 and the Crystal Pillar for Sports Story/Segment.

“We put together a story that basically led to a media tour around the country because it won a bunch of awards,” Barnes said.

Although prestigious awards highlight Barnes’ expertise, they are just a glimpse into how UM has enriched his life.

Once a ’Cane, always a ’Cane

“Everything I learned in UMTV definitely overlapped into the real world, my professional experiences,” he said.

He credits his time in UMTV’s NewsVision for honing his ability to learn diverse stories on a tight deadline—a skill crucial to his time with The Wall Street Journal.

“Having to familiarize myself with concepts that I’m unfamiliar with in a short amount of time is something I did every single day when I was on the breaking news team at The WSJ,” Barnes said.

Echoing how NewsVision taught Barnes to cover a variety of stories at The WSJ, his time at SportsDesk prepared him to cover a wide range of sports at ESPN.

“When I’m writing the shot sheet for Scott Van Pelt to do the ‘SportsCenter Top Ten,’ I was able to integrate some of those words and phrases I learned when I was learning how to play lacrosse for SportsDesk,” Barnes said.

Summing up his UM experience, Barnes emphasizes, “The opportunity is here at the University of Miami, it’s just what you make of it.”