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Journalism

SJI Opening Thoughts

As some of you might know, I’m in the opening days of the Sports Journalism Institute held at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Basically each day is packed with constant writing (I’ve done three deadline writing assignments so far–one covering the Stanley Cup with a deadline 12 minutes after the end of the game, a Tampa Yankees minor league baseball game with a deadline about 20 minutes after, and last night’s NBA finals with a 4-minute post-game deadline). The days have been long, usually from 8:30 or 9 to about midnight, but I’ve been learning a lot and picking the brains of top journalists in the field. Here’s my post from the 2011 SJI website about my thoughts first arriving here, and hopefully there will be more to come soon! Below is the post extracted from here:

Wow, my first two days (or one full day, I suppose) here at SJI have been a real whirlwind. From getting up at 4:30 a.m. to catch my 7 a.m. flight out from L.A. to Dallas/Ft. Worth to St. Petersburg to having gone through two sports checks, it’s been a trip.

I should have known what was coming, just following the car ride from the airport to our hotel two blocks from the Poynter Institute. After brief chats about Tampa Bay and Sandy’s time in Florida, the conversation turned to Big-10’s football teams, which, of course, led to discussion about Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor.

I definitely came into SJI thinking that everyone would be very knowledgeable about sports, but it still came as a sort of surprise to me. That’s what I took away most from these first days of SJI. I was finally surrounded by people who wanted to do what I want to do, people my age who have a genuine and strong passion for sports journalism. I’ve never been in this type of environment before, where everyone is looking toward a career in journalism, and to be honest, it’s pretty intimidating. But I think I’m ready for the challenge, and I know that I’m prepared for what’s up next. These next nine days will be difficult and strenuous, but I’ll learn so much and take so much out of it. I’ll be meeting people who are top in their business, and I feel so lucky to have these people as mentors, as editors, and as connections in the business. It’s exciting to know that I’ll meet people who have the jobs I one day hope to have. I was nervous before I came here and still am. The most important thing I’ve learned so far is to not be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Sure, I’d love to impress these people, but what’s most important is becoming a better journalist and being even better prepared going into my espnW internship in New York. These next several days are for learning and self-reflection. I’m excited to learn more about the industry and more about what it takes to be a good reporter.

I’m ready to work hard and take in as much information as I can. Greg said something last night that really stuck with me—here we are, sacrificing a week of our summer before our internships and though it’s only one week, this week could make all the difference in our future. And I’m ready for that; I’m ready to make the most of my time here in St. Pete.

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