With so many games to cover each season, the young reporters at Rebel Report — UNLV’s student-run sports broadcast and social media outlet — are definitely getting their reps in. Junior Dominic Lavoie is one of the UNLV students who are making their mark in the world of sports journalism.
What inspired you to pursue sports journalism?
One random day when I was thirteen, I was playing an NHL video game with one of my buddies and we created our own teams. I just put them against each other and I just let the computers play against each other. I watched it like a simulation game and started doing a play-by-play, and I thought, "This is a lot of fun. I love doing this." That's when it struck me—I want to do this for the rest of my life.
So I started pursuing it. I was in the school newspaper at my high school, and I started out writing articles for them. And in 2021, I started getting into video and editing. And then ever since, I've just been kind of doing my thing [sports coverage] on camera.
When did you first get involved with Rebel Report?
I joined in the spring of 2021 — I wrote articles all throughout 2021, and then in late 2021, I started shifting to video. I realized that I was writing my articles in the same way I would write my scripts. I already had the mindset of writing for broadcast, so I wanted to do more of that.
It was hard at first getting on video, but the thing that elevated my game to where I am now was when I started working at a news station and talking to people in the broadcast industry and picking their brains about everything. It was a rough transition, learning how to be on camera — you’re your own worst critic, you look at yourself on camera, and you're thinking, "Why did you move like that?" Over time I got used to looking at myself and hearing my own voice and accepting that if I didn't do a good job that there would be another game to cover to be better.
What kind of advice did you receive that helped you feel more comfortable in front of the camera?
You want to be really enthusiastic because sports are fun and you should act like you're talking to your friend and telling your friend 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 to just stop thinking about it. Stop trying to be a super buttoned-up news reporter and just have fun and just act like you love what you're doing and act like you're telling your best friend.
What are some of the most memorable games or events that you’ve covered for Rebel Report?
When the Raiders played against the Patriots this season. My family is from New England and I grew up a Patriots fan, so being at a Patriots game was really cool. And then the way the game ended, when Jakobi Meyers lateral that got picked off by Chandler Jones and that he stuffed Mac Jones into the ground and returned it for a touchdown and won the game. That's definitely going to be a core memory for me.
And my first NHL game that I covered. I grew up a hockey fan and only had CHL hockey here my whole life. I never thought that we would get an NHL franchise here and being able to be in the press box at an NHL game and rubbing elbows with writers that I follow on Twitter and walking past play-by-play announcers that I've watched on TV growing up was a "wow" moment.
Is there anything in particular that you really love about doing live hits and being a part of the atmosphere of a game?
I think the love for that comes from playing sports a little bit and feeling like a sporting moment where you're out there and you treat it like this is the only chance you’ve got to just do it. It's like that thrill that you get especially after a really good hit where you're like, "I nailed that."
What do your future goals in sports journalism look like?
Right now, I'm kind of in between doing a play-by-play role and being a sports reporter on local TV — I'd like to do both. I can see myself working in Boston because it's so special and there's so much going on all the time. I just love being in the city. I love the sports culture there, and I have family back there. Definitely within the next ten years, hopefully, I’ll be working at a network, like ESPN or NBC, making really, really good money and wearing cool suits.