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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mustang 4, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Mustang 4

    Mustang 4 New Member

    Hey guys,

    I visit this board frequently so I decided to make an account and introduce myself. My name is EJ Holland, and I am currently a freshman at SMU. I am majoring in journalism and sports management and have already gained valuable experience in the sports industry. I have recently been promoted to sports editor for the SMU Daily Campus, and I am working as a media relations intern for the Dallas Vigilantes. During Super Bowl XLV, I worked as a public relations intern for the NFL. In high school, I went to state in UIL for news writing, state in DECA for sports marketing, and was named an RGV Jr. Broadcaster of the Year finalist. My grades are pretty good too, I have been awarded the SMU Minority Academic Achievement Award, and I am part of the SMU New Century Scholars Program. I fluently speak Spanish. I have already interviewed people like Pat Summerall, Craig James, and June Jones and cover all sports from football to equestrian for SMU.

    If you have any advise, suggestions, or anything else, it would be greatly appreciated!

    Here are a couple of my recent stories and my AP story for the Vigilantes:

  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Suggestion: Be careful when tossing around acronyms because people may not know what you are talking about.
  3. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    It's advice, not advise.

    If the resume is true, why are you asking us for help? You're a minority with awards, which should land you a job at Gannett after you graduate.

    Here's some real advice. I read some of your game stories and they need work. I'm not going to go into what is wrong. The best plan for you is to read game stories from a variety of newspapers to see how it's done. Things to look for are writing the important details first and not start with an opening drive. AP Style is also important as I saw a few errors in the use of numerals.
  4. Mustang 4

    Mustang 4 New Member


    I know, I have been trying to improve on that as I am still fairly new to the business. During football season, I was still not too familiar with AP style, but now I think I have a good grasp of it. I am still just a freshman so I have time....
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    EJ - There are a lot of good threads about this in this forum. Take some time to really read through some of them. Now it can be frustrating, because there are as many ideas about what it takes to succeed as there are posters here. But I think there are some core tenets that come up again and again. If there's a rift, it's between the Experience crowd and the Education crowd.

    The most boiled-down advice I can give you is not to lock yourself into sports only, really don't lock yourself into sports beat coverage (gamer-advance-feature), because that's a dime a dozen, and pick up a second major in something you think you hate now but will be invaluable (see the short Malcolm Gladwell thread from the weekend). Learn how to report. It's unfortunate that you go to a private school, because you won't get the opportunities to do record searches and so forth, but at least learn how to do that kind of reporting. Showing up to a press conference and reading game notes is not reporting. But you still have to do it.

    Oh, and chase internships at the big boys. Also, don't listen when people tell you GPA doesn't matter, because it will if you ever decide to do something else, and it's not worth blowing off. (I guess I just outed myself as a member of the Education camp, though my foot is firmly planted in both).

    Others are probably better able to speak to multimedia stuff like Twitter and chats and video. To my detriment, I couldn't care less about it, but I hear it's important.
  6. As stitch said, there's a lot wrong with your writing. Study the pros. Watch their approach. Watch their technique. Latch on to a mentor or at least a great editor. And write until your maleness is dragging bloody on the ground.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member


    YGBFKM Guest

    WTFIWWA, Ace?
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I remember I thought I was hot stuff in college. Won some awards like you have. Was an encyclopedia of sports knowledge. I got a one-month news internship at a local metro bureau. They sent me to a city council meeting, and everything seemed to go smoothly, so I came back and said there was nothing to report.

    Well, some multi- multi-million purchase had gone down. It was a unanimous vote, so it hardly made a ripple during the meeting, but it was huge, huge news. And I totally blew it.

    The lesson is to never report complacently.
  10. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    I'd suggest to learn all the things that aren't writing as well. Design, photography, videos, digital audio editing, social networking, blogging, live chats. Basically everything that you are going to be asked to do on top of writing when you leave school. Make your reporting your No. 1 priority, but you need to dip your toes into all these other pools as well to make you indispensable to smaller papers where you will more than likely have to cut your chops and hunker down until a better job opens up when and if the industry turns the corner and the bigger papers start hiring more than firing (I'm sorry, restructuring) again.
    I truly believe that while I am a very solid writer, it's my design and other abilities that make me critical to our operations here.
  11. ChrisRcc

    ChrisRcc Member

    Like other people have said, keep as many options available. I entered high school looking to become a sports journalist, and now I'm looking to become a biochemist. The industry is changing, and you may not like where it's going, so keep all of your doors open.

    Nowadays, tech stuff is just as important as writing, however sad it may be. Learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, and whatever else comes out. Read game stories, features, and everything else you can get your hands on. One good site that I would recommend checking out is czarjustice.com, which has a lot on sportswriting. Good luck.
  12. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Yes, learn a variety of skills while in college...take some design classes and some photography...many of us use those skills on a daily basis in addition to our writing/editing. Starting out at a small shop it is pretty much required.

    If you don't have an AP style guide yet, hit the bookstore and make the purchase...also some solid sports heavy guides out there than come in handy.
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