The Spokesman-Review : interns

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Somer Breeze: Sports intern

Before I came to the Spokesman-Review for my three-month sports internship, I didn't have very much experience covering sporting events on deadline. At my college paper at Washington State University I mostly covered the WSU tennis and cross country teams, and I would also cover various events, but nothing that would prepare me enough for what I needed to do at the Spokesman.
My internship involves covering the Spokane Indians, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Texas Rangers. The team plays 76 games in 79 days and while I don't travel with the team, when they are at home they play five to eight games in a row. I didn't want to come to Spokane not knowing what I was doing, so I did everything I could to prepare myself. For a school project we had to make a style guide for a journalism course. I made mine on the Indians so I could become familiar with the team's Web site and the program. I also shadowed a basketball beat writer at my school paper to see how they handle deadline pressure. When I was being interviewed for the internship I requested to see the newsroom and do a possible job shadow. When I visited I shadowed a Spokesman staff writer at back-to-back Whitworth basketball games. But what helped me the most was contacting a minor league baseball writer at another paper. Darrin Beene of the Tacoma News Tribune covers the Tacoma Rainiers and before my internship began I shadowed him at a game and watched as he kept his own score and wrote while the game went on. I asked him questions of what I could expect.
When I finally arrived in Spokane on June 5, I felt like I knew what I was doing, but it wasn't until I started getting in a groove that I learned what was expected of me.
At first I had a problem with stiff stories that kind of ran on with play-by-play, but now 15 home games in, I'm learning how to be creative and how to piece together the game without regurgitating everything the fans saw. I keep my own scorebook so I can look back and notice patterns and I keep game notes on the side to ease the deadline pressure. There have been a couple of games, either weather delays or a 12-inning game that really made time tight, but because I wrote during the game I was able to file my story as soon as the game was over.
I suggest to future interns to prepare themselves as much as possible for their job, whether it be job shadowing or just reading copy of the paper to learn its style. Extra steps you take will ease you into the new environment and will show you're superiors that you're making an effort to be prepared.


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