With NFL photography, Communication major develops her career
This football season, senior Grayson Jons captured the action at Baltimore Ravens home games as a live content correspondent for the National Football League (NFL) — and some of her work has gone viral. The Communication major and Marketing minor has seamlessly paired her academics with her freelance photography during her time on the Hill.
Senior Grayson Jons’ photos and videos have a mind-boggling 23,171,830 views across social media. As a live content correspondent for the NFL, her videos and photos have more exposure than Jons has ever experienced as a freelance photographer.
With excitement rising for the 2024 Super Bowl, all eyes were on the content Jons captured of the Jan. 28 AFC Championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs.
Her video of Travis Kelce arriving for the game has 9 million views across three of the Chiefs' social platforms, and Kelce embracing his brother after the Chiefs’ win has four million views on TikTok.
From getting the perfect shot to seeing her work shared by players like Odell Beckham Jr., the experience has been career-defining for Jons.
“I have no other words for it besides: it’s really cool. At the AFC Championship game, I was two feet away from Taylor Swift,” she says, but she kept it professional.
“It’s an unreal experience. It’s so loud in the stadium. I’ll look up sometimes and think, ‘Wow, this is real. I’m standing on an NFL sideline. This is what I’ve dreamed of my entire life. I’m still in college and here I am.’ It’s surreal.”
As a goalie for the McDaniel women’s soccer team, Jons, who is from Frederick, Maryland, limits her freelance work during the fall semester. But when the NFL reached out to her about the NFL Live Content Correspondent (LCC) program, she jumped at the rare opportunity.
One of only three correspondents assigned to the Baltimore Ravens this season, Jons beat out over 700 applicants for the program.
For the past few months, she’s spent her Saturdays at Green Terror sccer games and Sundays at Ravens home games. “I didn’t have any days off in the fall, but it was incredible, and I loved every single second of it,” she says.
Working with her fellow correspondents in the high-stakes arena of NFL football while still in college has been a major learning experience, she says. Getting the perfect shot means going behind the scenes and using her creativity.
“On National Tight Ends Day, they had me following around Ravens tight end Mark Andrews. I followed him during his arrival, warm-up, all that stuff,” she says.
A self-taught photographer and lifelong athlete and sports fan, Jons began taking photos at the end of her high school career. She first borrowed her father’s camera to make recruiting highlight tapes for the colleges she wanted to play soccer at.
“I just fell in love with photography,” she says.
She started college in 2020, when digital content was in demand at many businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving her opportunities to put herself out there as a young photographer.
“I got to college, and it kept consistently building, which has been incredible,” Jons says.
Jons says McDaniel courses like TV Production, Communication and the Digital Age, and Entrepreneurship built her skills in communication, marketing, and managing a small business.
Communication Professor Bob Trader has had a big impact, too. “Dr. Trader has been a huge help for me,” she says. “He has guided me in the right direction, helped me find the classes I need to take, and pushed me in my career. I’m very thankful for him. He’s my advisor and he’s helped me get internships. He encourages me to try new things in his classes and get out of my comfort zone behind the camera. It’s helped me become more well-rounded in my career.”
Jons earned McDaniel course credit for multiple internships with Johns Hopkins lacrosse, which led to her becoming the current social media director for the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams at Hopkins.
Keeping up with the lacrosse season has been another responsibility to juggle as a student.
“It’s definitely tricky,” she says. “A lot of 5 a.m. wake-up calls, but my Google calendar helps me through it.”
From her senior year of high school to her senior year of college, Jons has carved out her niche in sports photography and videography. She has freelanced for the Lacrosse World Championships with Team USA for the past two summers, NCAA Women’s Lacrosse National Championship in 2022, Athletes Unlimited, and STX.
Although Jons won’t be at the Super Bowl this coming weekend, “there’s a shot for next year,” she says.
Check out some of Jons’ work on Gondola.