As you may have been able to tell by last week’s column, I attend Syracuse University. (You can tell because, honestly, who else cares about 3-9 SU football?)
Being a student here, at one of the top-flight journalism schools in the nation, has already created so many opportunities for me that I would’ve never had otherwise.
I worked this semester for The Daily Orange, the campus newspaper, covering the Syracuse men’s and women’s cross-country beat on my own, the team’s finished 5th and 24th nationally.
Covering the team on my own forced me to find new, interesting story ideas and angles I otherwise may have discarded. It was a challenge to never have the opportunity to see them compete in person, but there was a wealth of human stories on the team. Formulating ideas for “midweeks” – otherwise known as profiles – or “advances”, which is essentially a preview of a game, challenged me in ways I have never been before. The grind of covering a team week in an week out was something I had never done before, because I usually whimsically muse about whatever catches my fancy here.
To say it was a learning experience would be to vastly understate my time there. Sports Editor Jesse Dougherty and assistant editors Phil D’Abbraccio and Jacob Klinger taught me so much about everything from ledes to A.P. style to interview tricks. I’ve improved immensely as a reporter in my time here, and worked in one of the deepest sports newspaper staffs in the country, clocking in at 20-plus guys.
More than that, I learned about competing in writing. On this blog, it’s my own space, my own column. (Can someone tell me what a word-limit is?) But in the house for the D.O. it is primarily about improving yourself, but a very close second comes to “winning your beat” which means finding the best stories from your sport before anyone else does. That’s something I’ll have to do more of next semester when I cover tennis with two other guys from the D.O.
I’ve been able to meet D.O. alumni including 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Eli Saslow, Detroit Lions beat reporter Michael Rothstein, and Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Matt Gelb. The veritable garden of journalistic knowledge here is incredible, and I’m so excited with what will come as I improve my writing and reporting.
The journey continues with my writing, just on a new platform.
You can follow me here, on my profile for the paper.
Sam Fortier is a displaced New Englander living in New York as a freshman at Syracuse University. He likes baseball, crunchy peanut butter, Kanye West, and using the word “wicked.” He’s not a fan of purposefully misspelt business names (“Kathy’s Kut & Kurl”) or grammatical error’s. You can follow him on Twitter @Sam4TR or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org