What are your job responsibilities/duties?
I keep tabs on the sports for 80 high schools in North Dakota and Minnesota, along with a junior hockey team.
I help out on the DI, DII and DIII college beats in town as well.
Plus, there's a few pros to keep track on.
What does a typical day look like?
It usually consists of coming in during the day to look for features/reach out to coaches for stuff and cover a game at night.
It really depends on the month.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Being able to capture a moment or someone's life with the perfect wording. There's something about people trusting you to get an event or their story right that really can't be described.
When people trust you as a source of information there's no better feeling. The rush when you're writing something people need to know is incredible.
What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
It never ends. There's never a point where I can completely shut it off. I even dream about typos I may have made. It's almost impossible to completely distance yourself from the job.
What on-campus activities were you involved with? Where did you gain relevant experience?
I was an editor for the yearbook at Illinois. I was a stringer for the Chicago Sun-Times for two-and-a-half years.
Honestly, relevant experience is just talking to people. The more you learn people and how to get information, the better you are at this job.
How did your experience at ILLINOIS and in the College of Media prepare you for your professional life? For this specific position?
It got me out of my comfort zone. I was a very shy, former computer science major. It got me to rip the Band-Aid and talk to strangers.
Illinois gave me confidence in my writing, but at the same time slapped me in the face and reminded me there's always room to improve.
What advice do you have for students interested in this field?
Keep your eyes open, shut your mouth and listen. The field has become everyone yelling over one another, but the best stories I've ever written were simply from me being curious and listening to people explain something to me or tell me their story.
Always be curious.
What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
This field is not for the weak, then again, neither is life. I got the phone call my dad died in Chicago while typing up high school standings in Fargo, North Dakota. And I went right back to typing the standings after getting the call.
News never stops nor does it care what you're going through or how you feel. It will go on with or without you.
You do it because you love it. The pay sucks, the hours suck, the phone calls from angry people suck, but there's something romantic about it.