Kaila is a sports communication graduate of Clemson University and a current Associate Producer at ESPN who has a passion for telling the stories that go beyond just the field. She is dedicated to her craft and aims to share both her knowledge of sports and the inspiring stories she comes across, along the way.
Through various positions including both a news and sports internship at WSPA-TV (a local CBS affiliate station) and her three-year role as a sports reporter for The Clemson Insider, she has become proficient in writing, editing, shooting, reporting and on-camera work. While still in college, she had the opportunity to cover events such as the ESPN College Football Awards Show, the 2016 ACC Basketball Tournament, the 2016 ACC Media Kickoff, Carolina Panthers’ 2016 Training Camp, and the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.
For Clemson’s news station, she produced, shot and edited her own news packages on a weekly basis to be viewed on Clemson’s website. She then strengthened her skill set by editing video content for WSPA-TV’s sports segments.
She has also served as the Clemson correspondent for Sports Illustrated’s Campus Rush and ESPNU’s Campus Connection program where she is most proud of producing her own video feature on the strong bond between two cancer-surviving student athletes.
She gained experience with the inner workings of a collegiate summer baseball team when she became the Communications Director for a team in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League in 2015. She was responsible for creating content for the team’s website and social media platforms through conducting player and coach interviews and composing game and feature stories.
At Clemson, Kaila represented the Department of Communications as both a Communication Ambassador and the Sports Communication representative for the Dean’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Council. She enjoyed sharing both her passion for the University and the Sports Communication Department as a liaison between the students and potential students and between her peers and the administration. Her involvement helped her be recognized by her college as the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Professional Engagement in 2017.
Following graduation, Kaila was selected as one of 12 students to participate in an intensive journalism program called “The Sports Journalism Institute” and continued learning as an intern for ESPN The Magazine where she worked on content ranging from The Body Issue to the CFB and NFL preview Issues.
Now, Kaila works in event production for Monday Night Football, helping to ensure the best stories and visual elements make their way to the viewers who share the same passion for the NFL as she does. In the offseason, she works on producing storytelling edits for the NFL Draft, and features for award shows like the ESPYS and Sports Humanitarian Awards.
Prior to working on NFL properties, she spent three seasons covering collegiate-level sports. She has worked on events such as the 2018 Volleyball National Championship, the 2019 College World Series, the 2019 College Football Awards Show and the 2019 and 2020 College Football Playoffs. Her favorite experience, however has been serving as the ACC Network’s inaugural Primetime Football crew’s content associate. She spent the 2019 football season editing game elements and teases, producing, shooting, and directing weekly player features, and field-producing sales shoots and sideline hits.
As Kaila continues to grow in her career, she aims to passionately pursue the type of features that made her love the industry she is a part of. She strives to share those stories through the vast outlets that fans consume media with the hope that someone will be inspired the way she was by the power of creative storytelling.
THE RUDIE – INTERVIEW: Kaila Burns-Heffner, ESPN
THE CLEMSON INSIDER – On The Beat: Catching up with Kaila Burns-Heffner