Nashville summit educates emerging sports journalists


Speakers spoke to students at the annual Sports Reporting College Media Training Camp this past weekend. 

The second annual Sports Reporting College Media Training Camp was held in Nashville, Tenn. this past weekend.

The two-day conference had some big-name speakers including Buster Olney, an ESPN baseball analyst; Rob Shaw, strategic development for sports at Facebook; Tyler Kepner of The New York Times; Rich McVey from Athlon Sports; and Dan Wolken of USA Today.

These speakers shared their knowledge and experiences with over two hundred college students and student newspaper advisors in attendance. There were college students from a variety of places at this conference, including Alaska.

The majority of the dozen speeches took place on the first day. An information session given by McVey of Athlon Sports gave a speech called “All Eyes on You: Building Optimal Online Content.”

In his speech McVey provided suggestions on how to create a successful website that can be marketable.

“Think outside the box…think about after the fact, what will the next big headline be?” McVey said.

McVey’s marketing advice was filled with expert opinion, his expertise was taken seriously as Athalon Sports website attracts more then 1 million viewers each month.

A speech, given by Shaw of Facebook, was about using statistical analytics in covering stories. Shaw expressed how marketing is very important but that differentiating yourself and trying new ideas are even more important.

While Shaw is a statistics person, he said not to force them.

“Don’t feel like you always have to push stats in. It’s the art of story telling.”

Shaw went on to explain how his experience helped him greatly has he worked towards getting enough experience to obtain a job.

“I had eight internships before I finally graduated from Vanderbilt University,” he said.

Shaw was not the only one to talk about thinking differently. Olney, a baseball analyst, talked about not just focusing on the game your reporting on, but also the story behind the scenes. Olney explained a story he stumbled upon by simply asking a grounds crewmember, at Fenway Park in Boston, how he got the job. His story later became a feature piece on ESPN.

Olney also said it’s important to pay attention to the game you are covering.

“Most reporters would be watching their Twitter feed instead of watching the game… watch the game, you will learn more that way.”