Where might you one day work as a sports journalist?

It’s an exercise I came up with a few years ago in an attempt to underscore for young professionals that there is a large world out there of possibilities, career-wise, and that each marketplace is filed with stories and happy people. (jump to bottom if you’d like to see the markets)

Weber was a sportscaster in Chattanooga, TN for many years.

WDEF sportscaster Brent Weber, wearing Mark Lemke’s goggles, interviews the Braves second baseman after Atlanta earns a spot in the World Series.

So many students have yet to travel, or even step outside their comfort zone, that they are focused on their “home” market as the ultimate place to work. The problem is multi-fold. First, they may be from a large market, like Atlanta or Los Angeles, and their chance of getting “on air” or “hands-on” experience is less. They need to make mistakes, to learn and to grow. Smaller markets usually provide more opportunities.

Second is a continuation of what I said about making mistakes. Beyond that, there is no substitute for experience. At a time when they see beautiful people who are very young working the sidelines of games, they think A) that all of those people got the job just because they are beautiful (not true); B) that those sideline jobs are full-time and high-paying (most are neither); C) that those jobs LEAD to great gigs automatically (also not true.) Bottom line: those are experiences, but to have longevity in the business, man or woman, you need to have a broad skill base, a great reputation, work your tail off and learn, learn learn.

Here’s the assignment: each student was randomly assigned a DMA market (I believe it was somewhere between 60 and 130.) They were not to research a market they have lived in. We avoided the super big markets because that would defeat the purpose. We eliminated our local markets. They were then asked to create a WordPress site that included the following: pro sports teams you will cover, prominent high schools you will cover, colleges you will cover, famous people from the area (historically), prominent current sports figures, a general analysis of the marketplace (what type of people live there, what sports do they support, etc.), your competition in the marketplace.

What’s the point? There are many, many great places to live and work in the country. If you want to be a sportswriter/sportscaster/sports journalist, or work in any business for that matter, you may have to move to gain experience. I want them to be open to the possibilities for happiness and joy and life experience, wherever they are.

Interested in their work? Below are links to the market sites:

Johnstown/Altoona, PA by Wiley Bailey

McAllen/Harlingen/Brownsville, TX by Megan Barkdull

Eugene, Oregon by Lynden Blake

Syracuse, NY by Olivia Bucklin

Evansville, Indiana by Allie Davison

Fargo, ND by Emily Esleck 

Ti-Cities, TN by Emily Ghezzi

Lansing, Michigan by Kaitlin Grunder

Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo, CA by Blair Hall

Peoria, Illinois by Abbey Herfurth

Fort Wayne, Indiana by C.J. Holmes

Traverse City/Cadillac, Michigan by Jim Little

Jackson, MS by Andria Moore

Youngstown, OH by Reid Slider

Monterey/Salinas, CA by Codie Rose Smith

Corpus Christi, TX by Elaina Turley

Madison, WI by Cynthia Williford

The above links were created and managed by the students and there is always the possibility they will delete them or change them. 

 

Brent Weber

 

 

 

 

Auburn softball PA voice Marc Haon finishes his 18th year behind the mike

Brent Weber:

This is one of the first packages from my sports journalism students Emily Ghezzi. Great story – her future is bright.

Originally posted on AU Sports Journalism:

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“Lessons from Lutz” Preview

Brent Weber:

Just one of several previews done by my students in advance of an event this evening at Auburn.

Originally posted on AU Sports Journalism:

By Becca Riley


Tragedy hit the Auburn community June 28th of last year hearing the news of Lutz’ death. Philip Lutzenkirchen, former Auburn student and football player, died in a drunk driving accident. His loss was a tough one to swallow for just about everyone that knew him.

Since Philips’s death, his father, Mike Lutzenkirchen, has been raising awareness about alcohol abuse, and on Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m., he will be coming to the Auburn Arena to present “Lessons From Lutz.”

Auburn school of communications professor Jennifer Johnson, along with Auburn director of health promotion and wellness services, Eric Smith, spoke to Auburn’s sports reporting class about the upcoming event.

Johnson, who was Philip’s teacher throughout his time at Auburn, spearheaded the event. She thinks this event will be an eye-opener not only for students, but for everyone.

“He says he’s talking to 14 to 24-year-olds,” Johnson said…

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My life since MLK died

Originally posted on Postcards from The Web:

I remember my mother crying. I remember her sadness. It was unlike anything I had ever sensed before. She was in disbelief. She was frightened. She was shaken.

When you are six years old, you remember the first time your rock is shaken. That’s my first recollection of my rock, my mom, being shaken. I know now she loved who Martin Luther King Jr. was. I know now that she believed the things he believed in. I know now, she was a woman from the North, raising four kids (along with my hard-working dad) in the South at a time when many old, opposing values still existed. She was an outsider in terms of social thought. She wasn’t like many of the old white southerners in Tucker, Georgia who lived in the town we moved to a few years earlier.

Now, I can look at the history of the day…

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Rose Bowl moments: no matter the sport, memories of magic

Brent Weber CNN/SI Rose Bowl Stand-upAs I work on a reboot of the book The Sports Guy: Scorecard Scribblings From An Ordinary Journalist, it’s been fun to look back at some of the moments I’ve been able to witness and chronicle in my career. While working on the West Coast for a decade and a half, starting with a great stint as a reporter for CNN Sports and including fun runs at Orange County Newschannel and Fox Sports West, I had some amazing stories to cover. There was the World Cup soccer final, won by Brazil, and the work leading up to the championship. Later, I was on the field when Brandi Chastain did her P-K magic as the US women topped China in the World Cup in 1999. There were “everyday” games and stories that were not as memorable. Part of that is the crowded nature of my old noggin.

And then there were the college football Rose Bowls we were able to cover. Some times, when you are a field reporter for a large organization, you do the leg work, pre-game interviews, etc., but you don’t actually get to cover the game itself. Certainly that was the case a few times with CNN, but who could complain? One season I didn’t get to cover the game, for example, but I did get to cover the media event at the Playboy Mansion. Tough assignment.

There were two great games, in particular, I recall. Penn State played for a “mythical national championship” to close out a perfect 1994 season on New Year’s Day 1995 with a 38-20 win over Oregon in front of more than 102,000. They didn’t top the polls that year, but those were the days before the BCS and the playoffs.

A couple of years later I had the chance to watch one of the most enjoyable games I’ve seen – as Arizona State and Ohio State battled down to the wire to close out the 1996 season. The Buckeyes spoiled ASU’s run at a perfect season, winning on a last minute TD 20-17.

Here are some of these stories, including the pre-game materials and some post. I don’t have all that coverage in my personal archives, and since this all pre-dated the explosion of the Internet, well… Yes, I am old.

Glad to see in 2015 the beauty and majesty of the Rose Bowl game hasn’t been diminished by this year’s Oregon-FSU inaugural NCAA DI semi-final. The magic was already alive in the roses.