Class Profile: Sports reporting reveals curve balls in professional journalism, media

COMN 288: Sports Reporting and Broadcasting is an experimental course being taught by adjunct lecturer of communication Nathan Lull '07. It focuses on providing real life experience and honest information to students interested in pursuing sports journalism.

The class of 15 students meets every Wednesday from 4-6:30 p.m. and is mostly discussion based, according to Lull. Every week, a speaker who works in the sports reporting and broadcasting industry will either come to class to talk or answer questions over Skype or the phone. After a question and answer session with the speaker, the class reconvenes to talk about the day’s lesson.

Some speakers include voice of the Lake Erie Monsters Doug Plagens, Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting for the Utah Grizzles Adrian Denny and freelance sports reporter for CBS Sports Network Josh Pick.

“I’m kind of opening them up to see what other kinds of jobs are out there,” Lull said.

There are three major projects for the class, which are focused around interviewing coaches and athletes both at Geneseo and in the community. The assignments, all audio recordings of interviews, help students practice creating questions, talking in front of recording devices and the pre-interview planning.

Junior Rebecca Fitzgerald, sports editor of The Lamron, is currently enrolled in the class.

“The assignments are an informal way to test out the waters, to see if I liked broadcasting and if my print skills transferred into broadcasting,” she said. “At bigger schools and organizations you have to go through all these media relations to get to the people you want and I’d never really thought about that because I’m so used to what I do here at Geneseo.”

According to Lull, the class assignments are loosely structured and invite creativity.

“My favorite aspect of the class is coming up with a project and seeing the various ways students carry it out,” Lull said, “I always say ‘There’s not one set way you have to do this,’ so find a new way to tell me the story and do the interview.”

The final exam is a mock interview with Lull where students will use materials prepared in class to simulate an interview for a specific sports-related position of their choice.

“It’s probably the best communication class I’ve taken,” junior Billy Cunningham said. “I wish they would continue the class next year.”

“This class is unique, it’s being taught by an [alumnus] and he knows what we’re going through,” Fitzgerald added. “It’s more of a practical class, we talk a lot about the future and how we can get there.”