Sometimes you have to tweak the foundation.
Internships are designed for learning, exploring, discovering, rediscovering and tweaking.
For those of you who have read some of my previous blogs, you know that I love sports and am aspiring to be a sportscaster. You probably also know that I am interning with the Fox 29 Philadelphia station in their sports department. And for me, all of the above ring true with an emphasis on the tweaking part.
I am a planner. I have always been someone who thinks things through—thoroughly—before making a decision. While it’s not a bad thing to plan, you still have to remain open to adjustments, and well, I’m still working on that.
I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do and be going into the internship—sportscaster, anchor, reporter, sideline reporter—and while I still am aspiring to do so, I have tweaked/added to that job description.
I want to do investigative sports reporting as well.
I thought about doing this before my internship started, but didn’t fully realize how much I wanted to work towards it until I was living the sports side and thinking about the investigative side.
But it makes sense. I have a lot of curiosity about collegiate sports because I was a dual-sport athlete in college. I have seen the stories uncovered thus far, but feel there should be more.
After finishing the book, A Payroll to Meet by Dave Whitford, which is about the SMU football scandals that led to the death penalty for the program, and after reading Dwayne Bray’s article Changing the Lineup in the IRE Journal, my heart was pounding and my blood was pumping and I knew this was where I wanted to take my career.
In his article, Bray talked about how there aren’t enough investigative sports reporters, and I agree with him. Bray used major cases such as the Jerry Sandusky scandal, which was covered by a young crime reporter. He added that many newsrooms overlook the investigative sports reporter position when they shouldn’t because a lot of public and private money goes into both collegiate and professional sports. Bray’s article increased my motivation to aspire to obtaining this career.
I’ve always been drawn to ESPN’s My Wish, ESPN Films: “30 for 30” episodes, ESPN’s Outside the Lines, E: 60, ESPN W: Title IX and other investigations related to sports content and topics. I even picked an investigative sports-related topic for my thesis and started reporting on it this summer.
I have been inspired by the work of ESPN’s Chris Connelly’s MyWish, OTL and E: 60 pieces. While the MyWish series is not investigative work, it’s an element of sports that I absolutely love because you see athletes, coaches and teams stripped down to a “raw” form and doing selfless acts to help those with chronic diseases and illnesses.
I want to dig, prod, research and challenge myself in an area I’m passionate about. I want to inform, protect, find and showcase everything that happens beyond the game in addition to covering games. I want to show people a different side of sports—something that will interest those who tend to not watch or understand sports.
I want a challenge that will change my thought pattern when researching, interviewing and reporting on topics. And with that being said, I am looking to do an investigative internship this fall semester.
Now that I’ve had experience reporting, writing, editing and producing game highlights, coach and player interview SOTs, pregame and training camp footage for the weekday and weekend evening sports block, I am ready to focus on the investigative side of the equation.
So if your expectations or experiences don’t go exactly the way you thought they would, don’t get discouraged, be encouraged to find what suits you. And don’t be afraid to tweak your focus, your career and your journey each and every step of the way. You’ll find yourself as you redefine your focus.