A Kid Reporter's Day on Press Row

kid reporter matt collins paul orenHow many times have you heard classmates say that they want to be a sports reporter? Some people believe that it’s an easy job, since a reporter gets to attend many events, often with a perfect view of the action. A fan's dream, right?

It turns out that covering a game involves much more than just showing up and watching it unfold. And I found that out first-hand last weekend while shadowing Paul Oren, a sports correspondent for the Northwest Indiana Times.

On Saturday, I joined Oren at Valparaiso University’s Athletics-Recreation Center as the Valpo women’s basketball team took on Youngstown State. I learned that the work starts many hours before tipoff. For example, Oren, who is also a professor in the Department of Communication at Valparaiso, took me to the media room where we gathered statistics on both teams. He organized all of the facts and had his phone and his laptop ready to go long before the action on the court began.

During the game, he tweeted up-to-the-minute updates. We received stat sheets at every media timeout, which kept us informed about team and individual performances, and Oren continually provided new stats to his Twitter followers. Youngstown State ultimately won, 87-69, after star forward Heidi Schlegel exploded for 38 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in an outstanding 39-minute performance.

But just because the game was over didn’t mean the job was complete. Following the final buzzer, we headed to the media room so Oren could interview the coaches and players to gain insight for his story. Post-game interviews give the writer the chance to experience the emotions of the game from the point of view of the participants. After the interviews, Oren had all the information necessary to write his story. Now, it was up to him to bring the game to life for his readers.

It was a fun, exciting, and fast-paced environment, and I was able to see first-hand the skills that a professional reporter must have in order to do his job well. Journalists need to be organized, attentive, creative, and passionate. But most importantly, they must be unbiased about the teams they are covering.

Oren summed it up best: “Being a reporter is much different than being a fan.”


Photo: Matt Collins

Cool Stuff