M-School title: Intern Reporter, Sportsnet
Post-secondary institution: Ryerson University
Program of study: Journalism (Masters)
Rogers M-School is fast-paced, exhilarating and rewarding, and it put me front and centre in my dream career. Through this internship I have been able to tell athletes’ stories, from those about to enter NFL training camps to those who have just stepped off the track after winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. When I’m not interviewing players, I’m writing long features, writing short web hits, posting quick tweets, watching every sport imaginable and thinking up the newest angle on a story for sports fans.
Every minute of my day at Sportsnet was eventful. I jumped around between different roles. I attended photo shoots and watched athletes come out of their shell, which helped when I was crafting my story that night. I was involved in all sides of the creative process of storytelling and Sportsnet allowed my interests to explode into a world of possibilities. From copy editing to recruiting athletes for our Beauty in Sport issue, to interviewing P.K. Subban in person for a quick radio hit, to writing an MLB game preview, I was constantly coming up with new ways to look at athletes and tell their stories. At Sportsnet, I had access to every avenue possible to develop that vision, while also growing as a writer and finding my true voice.
The Sportsnet environment empowered me to try new things. I was fortunate to shadow and learn from incredible, award-winning journalists. The culture of Sportsnet and Rogers is unlike any other. It is innovative and caring, with the intention of giving the most original content to its readers, which runs through every story and person in the building.
What were your primary tasks?
My primary tasks varied week to week. Normally, I would research and set up a couple of interviews per week on stories that had been assigned to me or stories that I had pitched. Most of my interviews were done on the phone. After the interviews, I would start drafting my stories in either WordPress or K4 [the magazine’s workflow management system]. If the story was for the web, it would be edited by an editor and then posted online. If the story was for the magazine, it would often go through a lengthy editing phase and involve a lot of back-and-forth edits. I also attended events and photo shoots, and helped copy edit and fact check issues before they went to print.
Describe one day in the workplace
I enter the Rogers building and take the elevator up to Sportsnet, making sure to check the NHL countdown clock, a reminder of the days left until the puck drops. I enter a room filled with a handful of writers, editors and graphic gurus. I find my desk and greet Dave Winfield (no, not the real Winfield but my bobblehead version). I skim the newspaper and jump on Twitter while perusing Sportsnet.ca. I check my email and start preparing for my interview of the day. I have a habit of over-preparing; it’s something I am working on. In my orange notebook, I take down my research notes, talking points and questions as a guide for my interview (even though I never really stick to them). I conduct my interview in the office on the work phone while trying not to let my booming voice carry too far and distract other writers.
Halfway through one day, I was asked if I wanted to head to the Rogers Centre and interview P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid. I’m sure you can imagine my response: “Heck, yes!” I was literally out of the door within minutes. I grabbed my media pass and waited patiently (while trying to catch my breath) for my turn. I had five minutes with each athlete. After the interviews, I couldn’t wait to transcribe them and to start pitching ideas. The next day I posted my McDavid story on the web and my Subban interview was used as a radio hit for Sportsnet 590 The Fan. It was a long, exciting and challenging day. I couldn’t dream up a better way to spend my day.
What is your dream job?
Multiplatform sports reporter at Sportsnet
Next: Matthew’s story