Young Sports Reporters Get Taste Of Big Leagues Photo: Chicago Wolves
05 December 2012

Young Sports Reporters Get Taste Of Big Leagues

Sitting before a panel of sports personalities, 60 local high school students (and aspiring media professionals) had some choice questions for ESPN Radio’s Harry Teinowitz, Chicago broadcaster Jill Carlson and Chicago Tribune beat writer Paul LaTour.

“How do you deal with reporting on difficult situations?”

“How does your personal life affect what you do on the air?”

“Is the NHL lockout going to end in time for a season to happen?” (Survey says: No)

“Who’s going to win the BCS National Championship game, Notre Dame or Alabama?” (Consensus: Roll Tide).

The queries may have been wide-ranging, but at the Wolves Future Journalist’s Media Day, students got a taste of the sports media life they hope to pursue. Following the panel discussions, credentialed participants were ushered into Wolves practice at the Triphahn Community Center and Ice Arena in Hoffman Estates, taking notes on the action, snapping photos and soaking in everything they could.

“I like how we got to interview people from every part of media – TV, radio and print,” said Natalie Himmel, a senior at Dundee-Crown High School. “Talking to someone with hands-on experience, who’s actually in the business, is so valuable.”

“They have so much experience and they gave us great tips to take back with us and hopefully apply to what we want to do,” added Dylan Kissack, another Dundee-Crown senior.

After practice ended, the students split off into groups and acted as their own media scrums in front of Wolves players Brett Sterling, Andrew Ebbett, Andrew Gordon, Zack Kassian, and Darren Haydar, as well as Wolves assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner.

For Jacob Bartelson, a senior from St. Charles North High School, the opportunity to interview professional athletes was the highlight of the day.

“Talking to the media personalities, it’s not like that’s something you get to do every day,” he said. “But then talking to the players, that’s a real-world experience you won’t get anywhere else at this point. And it’s fun.”

Not just for the students, either. The players enjoyed the change of pace from the usual media questions they’re used to.

“I had a blast. The kids asked really good questions and were involved and cared about what they were asking,” Sterling said. “It’s great to see. Someone asked me how it feels to give up my social life to pursue a hockey career, which was one that made me think. Someone else asked what I’d do if I wasn’t playing hockey. But I don’t want to think about that just yet.”

As to advice for the would-be sports media types who peppered him with questions, Gordon had a tip of his own on how they can stand out from the crowd.

“As a journalist, ask different questions. Force the player to give you a different answer,” he said. “Interviews can be so repetitive. Every interview you see, it’s full of generic answers and clichés. People want interesting interviews. You need the standard meat-and-potatoes stuff for a story, but also think of one or two questions that force the subject out of that cliché and get a different answer. Make them really think. Even if they stumble a little bit, it’s ok, because at least it’s something different.”