“This guy asked me what I was going to do with the rest of my life,” Marq Burnett recalled of that fateful encounter. “I told him I didn’t know, and he said, whatever it is, if your heart’s not in it, you’re going to hate it.”
At that point — after making the sale, of course — a budding journalism career was born. And that pursuit has taken Burnett to The Anniston Star, where, at 24, he has landed his first full-time newspaper job, covering University of Alabama sports. He started Monday.
“That struck me,” he said. “I was in business school ,and I woke up one day and didn’t see myself being an accountant the rest of my life. I wanted to find something I liked doing and combined making a living in it.”
Burnett, a Gadsden native, always enjoyed sports and “kind of liked to write.” He played basketball for three years at Litchfield High School, but his playing days ended following the school’s consolidation into the present-day Gadsden City.
He pursued his education at Alabama, where he parlayed a humble beginning at the school newspaper into the sports editorship and, ultimately, writing opportunities for the Tuscaloosa News, Birmingham News and New York Times. He also did studio and play-by-play work for the campus radio station.
“I’ve known and worked around Marq for a couple of years, and during that time, I’ve had a chance to learn about his work ethic, intelligence and ability to get the hard story,” Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards said. “But he also never forgets how much fun this job can be, and I think that shows in how he write. I think readers of The Star will enjoy Marq’s coverage very much.”
He covered the Crimson Tide’s 2011 and 2012 national championship football seasons and now will cover every aspect of the athletics program for The Star.
“That’s one of the biggest reasons I took this job,” he said. “I know a lot of people coming out of school start (by covering) high schools … smaller stuff.
“I would have been very happy doing that, as well, but I get to skip over that and cover a mega-college beat that some people don’t get to do until their second or third job. To be able to do that right out of college, I’m thankful for that opportunity.”
Al Muskewitz is a sports writer for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.