I have written more than 100 stories for the Scout during the past two years and this has proven to be one of the toughest things for me to write.
Seeing as this is the last column I will be writing, I planned to tell the story of how I got here, but I realized that would bore just about everyone but me.
But I didn’t want to write just another column on the Bulls or Cubs, I wanted to be able to remember my last column as something I was proud of.
So I decided to write about something that has been bothering me for a while now – the lack of participation on the student newspaper.
There is no doubt the stuff we learn from Dr. Dare and Dr. Netzley is important, but there are things to be learned outside of the classroom.
So with my final chance to address the campus, I will leave you with a few of the things I have gained through working at the Scout:
Expanded writing skills
I’m a sports writer, so this may be a little limited, but I have written a lot of different things. It’s not all about covering games.
Coaches are fired, players are injured, awards are received, athletes are featured and columns are written.
Different angles are taken for each of these story lines, which require a different set of skills.
I learned this right away as the Scout covered the death of Danny Dahlquist.
This was handled mostly by former Editor-in-Chief Erin Wood and my predecessor, Adam Mettrick.
Although I wasn’t covering the story, it made me realize that writing, even sports, is definitely not all fun and games.
The serious stories can be a challenge that will help you in the end, and there is no shortage of other stories to be covered.
Which leads me to my next point…
Covering the cool stuff
I started out covering the volleyball team, unsure if I would stick with the newspaper. It wasn’t until the soccer team reached the Sweet 16 in 2007 that I knew for sure this is what I wanted to do.
It wasn’t because I was covering the soccer team, it was because I got a taste of Bradley basketball.
Since Adam was off in Maryland covering the soccer game, I was lucky enough to be able to cover the Michigan State game at Carver Arena.
The game was awesome, but what was almost as cool was hearing Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo speak at the press conference.
For the record, he tapped me on the shoulder and said hello on his way out.
Basketball has been really cool to cover.
Last month the Scout sent my right hand man, D.J. Piehowski, and me to the men’s and women’s Missouri Valley Conference Championships.
We got a good feel for what life is like as a writer staying in a hotel and sitting court side at all the games.
Not to mention the dinners we got to go out to with University President Joanne Glasser and the “Voice of the Braves,” Dave Snell.
Becoming part of the team
Teamwork has been very important working for the Scout.
In classes, generally, you get an assignment and go home and get it done and that is it.
But at the Scout, every story is a team effort.
Although each story may have a byline with one person’s name, that story has usually been read by anywhere between five and 10 people, all of whom have tried to make it better.
As Sports Editor, I help out with news just as Editor-in-chief Sarah Raidbard and the rest of the staff help out with sports.
But the teamwork doesn’t end at the Scout.
You have to work with the local people covering the same things as you are.
For me it has been Dave Reynolds and Kirk Wessler at the Peoria Journal Star. They have helped me learn about the profession as I often follow them around, more than work with them.
Another team I have worked with is the Bradley athletic department.
The coaches are nice enough to go out of their way to talk to Scout reporters, and coaches such as Paula Buscher and Jim DeRose make the job so much easier.
Not to mention the support of the athletic department staff: Bobby Parker, Jim Rea and Bryan Moore.
All in all, working at the Scout has been both an awesome experience and a great time. It’s something all students interested in writing should consider.
Alex Mayster is a junior journalism major from Palatine. He is the Scout sports editor.
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