Sunday, July 26, 2009

A new high

Juan López

My vision was blurry, I felt like I was about to vomit and all I wanted to do was crawl in to bed and sleep – I was higher than I had ever been in my life.
Yep, last Sunday I traveled to Pikes Peak, one of the highest mountains in Colorado, which has a summit that reaches 14,110 feet and is not for the faint of heart.

I was there covering the 87th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, in which rally cars, motorcycles, quads and other types of vehicles race up the mountain, some going more than 100 miles per hour – which is ridiculous considering there are 156 turns and no barriers separating the drivers from flying off the edge.

Anyway, while these guys were busy flying up the mountain, I was busy flying to the bathroom. Apparently, high altitude makes my urge to excrete bodily fluids increase by about 500 percent. I had about four and a half sips of water the whole time I was up there and I literally used the bathroom about every 20 minutes. I was baffled.
But other than the fact that my bladder was running wild, my vision was as good as a blindfolded Cyclops’ and my stomach felt like a bubbling mess, my experience at the summit of Pikes Peak was unbelievable.

The scenery was exquisite, the races were amazing and the people were friendlier than normal.

Because of all this I’ve come to the conclusion that high altitudes change things. It changed how my body worked, it changed how people treated me and it changed how my laptop worked. Due to the thin air, I had to shut down my computer every 30 minutes because not enough air was flowing through the hard drive. Never has technology let me down so much.

Despite the transformations I experienced at 14,110 feet above sea level, I would not hesitate to go back again – except next time I’ll be sure not to drink anything before I go.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A different process

Jordan Mason

A faint sound woke me up. It was my cell phone ringing beside my bed.

As I groggily answered the phone my friend asked in disbelief, “Are you asleep?”

“Yes,” I said as I wondered what else I was supposed to be doing at nine on a Saturday morning.

And then it hit me—it was Monday.

This is my life now that I am done training as a studio production intern and the beginning my normal schedule. This means that I will generally work Wednesday-Sunday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Yes, these hours are unusual, but they actually appeal to me because I don’t have to get up in the morning and I have most of the afternoon to be as productive or unproductive as I see fit.

But, most importantly, I enjoy the work. I am responsible for deciding what will be in the highlight of whatever game I am covering that night in Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter.

In addition to putting together the highlight, I create a shotsheet, a general overview of what is in the highlight for the anchors to read, and a cutsheet, an overview of the highlight for the director.

Needless to say this is different from anything I’ve done in print journalism except for logging the games, which is tantamount to scoring games in baseball.

But I enjoy the creative process of creating a highlight, which is not very different from deciding what goes into a story.

One of my supervisors said “you want to make your highlight memorable.” There is generally an example of this everyday on SportsCenter.

A highlight is often bigger than the scoring plays and I enjoy the process a finding what can make it memorable. It can be a mascot or a fan or an unusual play.

And that creative process is why I love this internship to this point.

And not having anywhere to be at 8 in the morning is a plus too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Law and Order

By Ronnie Turner
The Salt Lake Tribune

On the morning of June 22, I found myself sitting in a crowded courtroom in Park City, Utah, waiting on the judge to arrive from his chamber. I had been up since 5:30 a.m., hadn't had my usual cup of iced coffee and still couldn't get the sound of alarm clocks out of my head.

One might wonder why a sports reporter is stuck in a courtroom at 8:30 a.m. when he should be sleeping or making his way to the office. But given the increasing number of athletes-involved-in-legal-issues, it's a wonder that I haven't spent more time reporting from the courthouse. Today's assignment? Former University of Florida basketball player Edward "Teddy" Dupay, who was arrested June 19, 2008 at Utah ski resort and charged with three first-degree felonies—rape, aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping—allegedly involving a 28-year-old woman.

Dupay, who turns 30 on Friday, was in court for a disposition hearing, where he was expected to enter a plea agreement.

After several hearings for suspected offenders making their first appearance in 3rd District Court, he was called to the podium with his lawyer, Ed Brass.

Original charges were read. Plea agreement was entered. Dupay pleaded guilty to charges of lesser charges of aggravated assault, threat against life of property or property and intoxication. A sentencing hearing was set for Aug. 24. Now the hard part: Getting either Dupay, Brass or Summit County prosecutor Paul Christensen to provide a comment from my story.

Brass politely told me that he would not comment until the sentencing hearing. Christensen did the same. Dupay also had no comment.

A 35-minute drive later, I was back at my desk knocking out a story for the Tribune's Web site. I had already typed up background information of the case before leaving my room and wrote the lead before heading back to Salt Lake City, so it didn't take long.

After filing the story, I resumed writing the high school football feature that I had started the day before. I didn't have time to waste; the story was due in a few hours. My stint on the law and order beat had ended…at least for now.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fashion police alert

Anna Kim
Buffalo News intern

No cheering in the press box. And don’t wear high heels to a game.

In my overexcitement to cover my first Buffalo Bisons baseball game, I threw on a pair of my most professional-looking shoes. Or so I thought.

If I had found the time to kick off my shoes while scrambling down seven flights of stairs to the postgame interviews, I would have kicked myself, too. As we approached the locker room, one of the other writers looked down at my feet.

“Why are you wearing heels?”

I had asked myself the same question after the first flight of stairs.

Though proper shoe selection isn’t necessarily the most earth-shattering epiphany I’ve ever had, it is an example of the laundry list of real life lessons I’ve learned in my week and a half at the Buffalo News. There really is no substitute for the experience of working in a real newsroom.

I’ve been thrown into real assignments and very real deadlines. I’ve met some of the pros who have been in the business for decades, and I’ve been humbled by everything I have left to learn.

But I am learning.

I saw the writer at the next day’s game. He nodded approvingly at my shoes. They have great arch support, perfect for tackling any amount of stairs.

Jumping into the job

David Ubben

I knew I should expect anything heading into my first week at The Oklahoman, but I wasn’t expecting anything in my first hour.

I flew back to my hometown from Poynter on the afternoon of June 7, and made my way to Oklahoma City on Monday morning. I knew I’d be a little bit out of the loop, since the other interns had been there almost two weeks, so I stopped by the newsroom to check in and see how things had gone. I started making a couple calls on other stories before my editor got off his phone and asked me if I wanted a story.

I shouldn’t have to tell you my answer, but he needed someone to go cover Bryce Harper, who was playing in a summer league doubleheader later that night. The larger story was whether Harper, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated just a few days earlier alongside the headline “Baseball’s Chosen One,” would be relocating to the Oklahoma City area.

As soon as I arrived at the ballpark, I located Harper’s dad and took a seat next to him to see what he could tell me. Between games, I got a chance to isolate Bryce and he admitted there was no chance he would move to Oklahoma, answering a question that had dominated the day’s headlines. Later, his dad shooed away a few TV news reporters, providing me with news that was exclusive to The Oklahoman the next morning.

A pretty good first day, considering I wasn’t supposed to actually start until Tuesday.

We have liftoff

By Larry Young
Houston Chronicle intern

As I exited the elevator and walked onto the ninth floor of the Houston Chronicle building on the first day of my internship, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d thought I might be doing mostly writing, probably on one beat, but after meeting with my sports editor, Carlton Thompson, I found out that this summer will entail a multitude of assignments.

I’ve only been here a little over a week and so far, I’ve shadowed the Astros beat writer as he worked the clubhouse and batting practice before the game, and fielded post game interviews. I’ve also been to Texans OTAs with Chronicle reporter John McClain and shot video of him interviewing players and coaches. I’ve also attended a press conference for Tristar (a Houston-based sports memorabilia business), promoting upcoming signings.

That’s not all. I’ve also covered Shad Ireland, a Minnesota Ironman who’s been on dialysis since his kidneys failed at age 10. My story about him, published June 12, was my first at the Chronicle.

But No. 1 on the list of what I do this summer is being present at every budget meeting and providing feedback on what should run on page one. This has been the aspect of the internship I’ve valued most. Never has my opinion been considered in this capacity.

So what I’ve found at the Chronicle is there’s a warm, comforting staff that’s focusing not only on ensuring that my stay in Houston is comfortable, but also in fostering my growth as a journalist. I’ve appreciated every second and look forward to the weeks ahead. The ladder is the reason I’m here.

So far, so good in Minny

By Nate Taylor

Meeting 300 people in one day can be taxing on the mind and body. That’s what I did on my first day at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. To me, the building is huge, the newspaper is huge and the newsroom is huge.

It all seemed so big to me that first day that I started to think I could get lost in such a place. Then I started meeting people. Each person I introduced myself to was excited to meet me. Not one person gave the impression that I was wasting his or her time.

Seriously, every last person was excited to see a young person in the newsroom. They smiled. They told me about their internships. They all wanted to help me and they didn’t even really know me yet.

It surprised me. It made reconsider what my role at this newspaper is for 10 weeks. In a way, I’m here to bring excitement and passion to the newsroom. After all, like many papers, the Star Tribune had its share of tough economic times lately. It has gone through two rounds of layoffs and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing. People here have told me the newsroom has not being the same since.

Now I don’t consider myself the savior of newsroom morale, but I view it as partly my responsibility to do what I can to keep it high. As I see it, the way I go about my work will affect others because I—and other young people like me—are the future of the business. I’m continuing the living legacy of keeping print journalism.

This past Tuesday, every intern in the newsroom was asked to speak about their aspirations. It wasn’t difficult for me. I want my colleagues to see my love for journalism. That way, just maybe, I can be part of the fight to keep newsrooms’ morale where it should be.