What An Opportunity

Six reasons you should take sports journalism at the University at Buffalo this fall

In Sports on June 30, 2013 at 7:28 pm

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I knew what I was going to say immediately, and I was ready to defend my answer.

I was at lunch with UB’s journalism program director and The Spectrum’s adviser, Jody Kleinberg Biehl, when she asked a question I didn’t expect to hear: “What’s one journalism class the school should offer this fall?”

I almost jumped out of my seat, but I took a moment to collect myself and sip a mimosa (tuck my napkin in my shirt ’cause I’m just mobbin’ like that). “Sports journalism,” I responded, trying to mask the thrill in my voice. Now, to my knowledge, UB has never offered a sports journalism class; it’s a big enough struggle to get the institution to offer journalism classes at all.

Much to my surprise, Jody was on board with the suggestion. “OK,” she said. “Do you really think that would fill up? I need a class that would fill up. Who should teach it?” A few names came to mind, but the first one that came out was Keith McShea. And yes, I really think it will fill up. But just in case it needs added support, here are six reasons I believe you should take McShea’s sportswriting class this fall.

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1. Keith McShea (@KeithMcSheaBN) is a tremendous writer and teacher

I’m not just saying this because I work with Keith (pictured above) at The Buffalo News, but that is part of the reason I am confident in saying it — I know how committed he is to his work. If you live in Western New York, you probably know Keith as the #preptalklegend of high school sports. Think “Adam Schefter of Greater Buffalo high school athletics.” Basically, the dude has his finger on the pulse of area high school sports as well as any beat writer I know covering any topic, and he can write really well, too. Here’s his Prep Talk blog. He’s also a UB and Spectrum alum and just a nice guy with a gracious, humble attitude. You won’t regret taking a class with a man like Keith McShea. Take my word for it.

2. The date and time are convenient and simple

The class will take place Mondays from 7-9:40 p.m. One night a week! That’s 2:40 of talking about sports, writing, and journalism. Even the thought makes me excited. What kind of sports fan or aspiring journalist doesn’t want to do that?

3. Learning about journalism will improve your writing ability

You need to be a strong writer in just about every workplace today, whether you’re composing press releases, crafting emails, or simply arranging 140-character tweets. You’re going to need to write in this class, and every journalism class I’ve taken at UB has made me a better writer. This one will be no exception. (Here’s a link to the Journalism Certificate Program recruitment video, created by one of my favorite professors, in which you can see my baby-face mug at :55).

4. IT’S SPORTS

Seriously. You’ll be learning about sports. What could be better?

5. We have an opportunity to send a message to the school

Again, this class has never existed at UB before, as far as I know, and if it doesn’t get strong registration, it might never exist again. That’s the reason I expected I’d need to put up a fight to get it created. Thankfully, Jody was aware of the vast importance of a class of this nature. Sports are important. Journalism is important. Sports journalism is important! I know the English Department, however, has doubts that the class can fill up. Let’s show UB we do care about sports and journalism. If the course fills up, administration will be practically forced to keep bringing the class back — which is a nice way we can ‘pay it forward’ for the next generation of sports enthusiasts. Buckets.

6. If you want to be a journalist, you need to know about sports

“But I want to write about news! Or write features! Or music reviews!” Too bad. Today, journalists have to be able to do it all. That means a young writer entering the workforce can’t just have one niche and demand, “I’m not writing about anything else.” I mean, you can do that, but you probably won’t get a job. Want to be a writer? Learn about sports. They’re a vital component of journalism as a whole. Oh, and want to work in sports? You’re going to need to learn how to write.

On the real, though … I’m rearranging my schedule completely and changing up my graduation plans to take this class. It’s going to be that good. I hope I’ll see you Day One!

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  1. […] semester has flown by. I have a hard time believing it was June 30 when I wrote this blog post – Six reasons you should take sports journalism at the University at Buffalo this fall – in an effort to boost enrollment in a class that focused on a topic I was, and am, passionate […]

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