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News Journalism stipends send students to sports conference

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Students call Nashville workshop a learning bonanza & 'an expansion of your horizons'

By Deborah Howlett
UD Journalism faculty

More than once, sports has been derided as the "toy department" of the newsroom, but it was much more than fun and games for the six UD students who attended the College Media Institute's Sports Reporting Workshop in Nashville over winter break.

The conference provided an opportunity for the students to hear from top professional sportswriters, like Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post and sportscasters like Buster Olney of ESPN, in workshops on interviewing and writing biographies, as well as podcasting and putting together a winning broadcast resume reel.

 "It was a great experience,'' said Alex Baker, a senior journalism minor. "I gained a ton of information regarding working in sports media. Some little things, like how to stay motivated and organized, had a big impact on how I think about my own work."


UD students at Nashville sports conference

​Journalism students Bridget Dolan, Alex Baker, Daniel Rosenfield, Meagan McKinley, Doug Baran and Jacob Baumgart at the Buster Olney Sports Reporting Workshop at the First Amendent Center in Nashville.

The workshops at Vanderbilt University left plenty of time for the group to explore Music City, from legendary barbeque to late-night honkytonks, and coincided with the NWHL all-star weekend at Bridgestone Arena.

Meagan McKinley, a senior journalism minor and staff writer at The Review, parlayed the timing into a press pass for the women's hockey skill challenge, and a freelance social media gig for a women's hockey blog.

"The conference is not just a chance to introduce yourself to big names in the industry. It's a chance to build a network with other students who have the same drive and passion as you. It's an expansion of your horizons,'' McKinley said.

The workshop also provided a chance for students to take part in Nashville's No.1 rated live sports radio show, The Midday 180, with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer as guest.

A key point of discussion throughout the workshops was the evolution of sports reporting from merely reporting scores, statistics and highlights to the value of being able to tell a story well.

Maybe the best bits of advice from the conference came during the Saturday keynote panel, "The Most Important Thing," in which Olney, Sheinin, and Michael Wallace of the NBA Memphis Grizzlies provided an hour of pro tips to the 130 college journalists attending the conference. All three stressed the need to develop relationships with athletes and coaches to gain trust and be able to break news.

In addition to Baker and McKinley, students Doug Baran, Jacob Baumgart, Bridget Dolan and Daniel Rosenfield and professor Deborah Howlett attended the conference.

Apply for stipend support

The  Edward A. Nickerson Fund for Student Success allowed the Journalism Program to cover the cost of registration and housing for the Nashville conference, but student involvement in professional conferences can be supported in a variety of ways. 

To request funding, contact the director of the Journalism Program or a journalism faculty member who will work with the director to provide support up to $300 per student. The stipend support can help offset the cost of registration, travel and housing. The Journalism Program also can help students find scholarships through the conferences themselves and other news organizations. 

Some upcoming opportunities

  • AAJA, Asian American Journalists Association, Atlanta, July 31-Aug. 3
  • AHCJ, Association of Health Care Journalists,  Baltimore, May 2-5 
  • CMA/ACP, College Media Association/Associated Collegiate Press, Washington, D.C., Oct. 31-Nov. 3
  • EIJ, Excellence in Journalism, which includes NAHJ, National Association of Hispanic Journalists,  San Antonio, Sept. 5-7, a collaboration between SPJ, Society of Professional Journalists; NAHJ; and RTDNA, Radio Television Digital News Association
  • IRE, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Houston, June 13-16 
  • NABJ, National Association of Black Journalists, Miami, Aug. 7-11
  • NAJA, Native American Journalists Association, Prior Lake, Minnesota, Sept. 15-18 
  • NICAR, The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, Newport Beach, California, March 7-10 
  • NLGJA, Association of LGBTQ Journalists, New Orleans, Aug. 29-Sept. 1  
  • ONA, Online News Association, New Orleans, Sept. 12-14 
  • SND, Society for News Design, Chicago, April 4-6 
  • SRCCON, organized by OpenNews, Minneapolis, July 11-12
Story published on 2/21/2019 ; last modified on
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Six students attended a sports reporting workshop in Nashville, thanks to stipends from the Edward A. Nickerson Fund for Student Success. 

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Journalism stipends send students to sports conference
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