Little man on campus: Munford’s Connor Morgan becomes Auburn University’s first ‘Junior Reporter’
by Kenny Farmer
Look closely at the sidelines during Auburn University sporting events and you might be surprised by what you see.

Munford Elementary student Connor Morgan, 9, will be reporting live from some of the biggest events in the Southeastern Conference after being selected as Auburn’s “Junior Reporter” this past September. Morgan is one of two students between the ages of 5 and 12 to be selected to the inaugural class of Junior Reporters, and will cover all 21 Auburn University athletic programs.

“It seemed like a good opportunity for me to become one of the world’s biggest Auburn fans,” said Morgan. “I thought, if I became the Auburn Junior Reporter, I may get to meet some of the Auburn stars that I’d like to be like when I get older.”

The Junior Reporters were selected from those who auditioned for the position by submitting video clips to the university’s athletic department. The winning entries were from Morgan and Harper Adams, 6, who lives in Auburn.

“I told them you can do anything from interviewing the family dog to coming in and just telling about how much you love Auburn,” said Cassie Arner, assistant athletic director of public relations for Auburn University.

Morgan’s submitted video featured him conducting an interview with Anniston attorney Mike LaPlante, a former assistant basketball coach at Auburn who now serves as a college basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

“Mike was able to use his experience in broadcasting to help Connor, and gave a great interview previewing Auburn’s basketball season,” said Connor’s mother, Brooke Morgan. “Connor made a real effort to prove he could do the job, and we believe Auburn recognized that.”

Morgan said that one of the things he enjoys most about his new position is “getting to go to places around Auburn that some people have never been before,” places such as the basketball coaches’ offices and the head football coach’s meeting room.

Morgan will be featured in approximately 10 video packages during his time as a Junior Reporter.

Morgan has already had several assignments, including his report on National Signing Day where he interviewed offensive coordinator Rhett Lashley and attended the press conference of Auburn’s new head coach, Gus Malzahn.

“I got to stand at the fax machine as letters came in from players who decided to come to Auburn,” said Morgan.

Morgan’s report from National Signing Day can be seen at http://www.auburntigers.com/allaccess/?media=367620.

His next assignment is to cover the university’s A-Day game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on April 20.

Morgan said if there were one sporting event at the university that he would like to cover, it would be the Iron Bowl. He said his favorite thing about Auburn football is “the beginning of the fourth quarter.”

“It gets really loud and the crowd gets pumped up and it’s really exciting,” he said. “It’s not good for my ears, but it’s really fun.”

While Morgan is learning more about players and coaches at Auburn, he is also learning about journalism and being in front of a camera.

“I learned about speaking louder and more clear when I’m on camera,” he said. “And don’t try to talk to the coaches and players like your reading from a script, just try to have a normal conversation with them.”

The purpose of bringing in the two young reporters, according to a release from Auburn’s athletic department, is to create “another avenue” for fans to “express their love” for Auburn University.

The contest was inspired by Joey the Junior Reporter, a 5-year-old who covers games for the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks. Auburn hopes to capture that same “magnetic energy” with its young reporters.

With his parents, Greg and Brooke Morgan, and both of his grandfathers, Randy Morgan and Stan Burlison, having graduated from the university, Morgan definitely bleeds orange and blue.

“We couldn't be more proud,” said Brooke Morgan. “It is special for us because we've always tried to involve him in our Auburn-related activities. It's also good to see him able to get involved at a level higher than just attending games. This allows him to develop himself as a young man as well.”

Contact Kenny Farmer at kfarmer@dailyhome.com.

© 2013