sports journalism

PODCAST EPISODE #49: Vicki Michaelis, journalism professor, University of Georgia

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How can we help journalism students do better?

What are the things journalism students should know before they enter the business?

So many of us in this profession, I fear, rarely think about how we welcome newcomers into that profession. I grapple with it often and have written about it in several entries in this blog.

I have even authored a how-to book for aspiring local TV news reporters: The Solo Video Journalist, available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the publisher’s web site.

Vicki Michaelis has taken her own path to help our industry’s future. She became a nationally respected and renowned sportswriter, leading USA Today’s coverage of the Olympics on six different occasions. She also served as the president of the Association for Women in Sports Media.

Then she received an opportunity that she had not foreseen.

Michaelis, in 2012, learned of the chance to head the University of Georgia’s new sports journalism program. She applied for the job and got it, and for the past five years she has helped sculpt a wave of young sports reporters as they prepare for their grueling entry into the professional world.

Michaelis is my guest on Episode #49 of the Telling the Story podcast.

I really enjoyed this conversation, in which Michaelis gave important insights into the mindset of current journalism students. We also discussed, at length, my recent blog post about what I learned (and didn’t learn) in J-school. What should students expect to gain from a college journalism program? Michaelis and I dive deep into that topic.

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3 GREAT STORIES: The NBA Finals, and innovation in sports coverage

 

Every week, I will shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

When in doubt, sports shall guide us.

At least, sports journalists often do a great job of leading the way in terms of innovative storytelling.

I will confess: I am an unabashed basketball junkie. As the NBA Finals kicked off last week, I found myself reading a high volume of basketball-related content. I could not help but notice the numerous ways in which journalists, bloggers, and statisticians are now covering the sport online.

It’s a beautiful thing, really.

People watch sports with a variety of motives, and the Internet landscape now caters to all of them. To be sure, one can still go to ESPN.com, SI.com, or  Yahoo! Sports and take in the NBA Finals for its more overarching topics: Who are the heroes and goats? What does the series mean for the individual legacies of players like LeBron James and Tim Duncan? What does it mean to their teams, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, and their respective fan bases?

But what about the other fans? Many crave new-school statistics and analytics in their coverage; they now have many options. Many love to compare today’s game to that of the past; they too can find many resources on the Web.

And finally, many basketball fans — like me — love the playoffs because they turn the sport into a total chess match. Coaches adjust their game plans; players adapt to different match-ups; and fans can enjoy the whole thing on a macro or micro level if they so desire.

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