Posts tagged ‘John Curley Center for Sports Journalism’

Penn State Baseball Experiences Cuba

Photo via Kelsie Netzer

Photo via Kelsie Netzer

Penn State baseball had quite the Thanksgiving break, as the team became the second American squad at any level to play baseball in Cuba. It made history on the eight-day trip, as its 9-3 win over Mayabeque marked the first time that an American team has ever beat a Cuban National Series club.

“We talked all along on the lead up to this trip that I felt like it was gonna be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them,” head coach Rob Cooper said at a press conference at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday. “I think it was all that and more. The people of Cuba could not have been nicer to us, more accommodating to us. The baseball experience was great, but just to really to be able to see Cuba and the history and the culture and to get to know some people down there is something that I think everyone associated with the program will take with them for the rest of their lives.”

In four games, the team compiled a 1-3 record and played in three cities – Havana, San José de las Lajas, and Matanzas. The level of competition was quite high, as Cooper pointed out that one of the teams that the Nittany Lions played is Cuba’s version of the New York Yankees.

This trip wasn’t just about playing a few baseball games. As two members of the team explained, seeing how little the people of the Pearl of the Antilles had was a culture shock.

“Seeing the look on a kid’s face when you give them a ball, a t-shirt, a hat, or even, like, a pair of spikes, like I know some of the teammates did, that was probably the best experience,” junior outfielder Nick Riotto said. Riotto also commented on how surreal it was to get off of the plane in Havana and take in the country for the first time.

“You could get a feeling for how little they really had,” junior pitcher Tim Scholly said. “A lot of them were asking for baseballs, anything, to shoes to belts to hats, anything you could possibly take, they were asking for.”

The team wasn’t the only group of Penn Staters on the trip. It was joined by eight students and three faculty members from the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. According to the Curley Center, 10 places published pieces by students on the trip, including MLB.com.

If you’d like more information on the trip, stay tuned – we’ll have a lot more on it in the March/April edition of the magazine.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

December 3, 2015 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes and Below the Surface

When the Sandusky scandal broke, my husband and I were heading out of town for a long weekend away. I’m not a good passenger, so I was distracting myself by scrolling through Twitter on my phone as he drove, and that’s how we got the news on Friday afternoon. Awful, we both agreed.

Our lazy Saturday morning was interrupted when both of our phones started buzzing like crazy; friends and colleagues were alerting us to perjury charges and a shockingly graphic grand jury presentment. We were floored. And we knew that although we weren’t in State College, we weren’t really on vacation anymore.

The thing about being a journalist is this: You can’t really turn it on and off. News doesn’t keep hours, and often my best laid-plans go awry. (Just ask the guy I was dating the semester I was a candidate at The Daily Collegian: “You used to be normal,” he said, not unkindly, “and then you joined the Collegian.”) I wouldn’t have it any other way. (It’s also not a coincidence that I married another journalist; who better to understand how you think and work?)

By Sunday, everyone at the B&B’s communal breakfast table was waiting for the “two writers from Penn State” to explain everything to them. (As if that were possible.) They’d seen the story on the front page of the New York Times. We got pelted with more questions Monday morning. When we checked out, the owner gave us (more…)

January 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm 1 comment

Malcolm Moran Remembers Meeting The Bear

Anyone else getting excited about Saturday?

I’m among the fortunate few thousand Penn Staters heading down this weekend to Tuscaloosa, where, if you hadn’t heard, the Nittany Lions will face defending champion and No. 1-ranked Alabama on Saturday night. It’s the renewal of a great rivalry between two of college football’s most successful programs, each represented by an iconic coach: Paul “Bear” Bryant, who died 27 years ago, and of course, Joe Paterno, who broke Bryant’s record for career coaching wins in 2001. (That’s Bryant and Paterno before their teams’ classic battle in the 1979 Sugar Bowl.)

I’ve got a bunch of Alabama-Penn State posts coming in the next few days, and hope to come up with some good stuff while I’m down in Tuscaloosa, but a piece that ran in Sunday’s New York Times seemed like a fitting way to kick off our game-week coverage. Written by Malcolm Moran, the longtime respected sportswriter and now head of Penn State’s John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, it recalls a young reporter meeting the Bear for the first time more than three decades ago. It’s a quick read and well worth the time.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm Leave a comment

Inspiration for Writers—And Hope for Student-Athletes

Writing, someone told me years ago, is a craft. Great writing teachers can give you pointers and refine your work, but they can’t turn you into something you’re not. You’ve got to learn to do it by actually doing it, and as far as I can tell, you’re never really finished learning. Every story presents its own challenges. You always start with a blank page.

As part of the process—call it my personal continuing education program—I like to listen to other writers and reporters talk about their work. I usually pick up a few tricks of the trade, and I almost always leave inspired.

This photo, by Matthew J. Lee of The Boston Globe, shows what passes for a baseball practice field in one part of Boston.

That was the case Thursday evening, when I heard Boston Globe reporter Bob Hohler speak about “Failing Our Athletes,” a series on the terrible state of athletics in the Boston Public Schools. It won the inaugural Award for Excellence in Coverage of Youth Sports, which is awarded by The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. (Full disclosure: I’m a board member.)

Hohler reported the series for nine months—nearly an entire school year. He showed up at every school in the city, and he attended games in every single sport. He uncovered details so shocking—a football player living in his mother’s car, students playing with broken ankles because there wasn’t an athletic trainer to diagnose the injury—that they spurred the mayor of Boston and some philanthropists to take action to fix the problems.

“The deeper I dug, the richer the story got,” Hohler said. “It’s a reminder to me and a lot of others that it’s not enough to sit at  your computer and talk on the phone and text people. You really need to get out there and talk to people, see what’s going on. It reminded me that I tend to spend too much time at my desk, as well.”

To which I can only say, Amen. And on that note, I’m headed out of the office, inspired, to see what’s happening on campus.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

April 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

From “Faculty Kid” to College Football Expert

article39396I’ll state my bias straight up: College GameDay, ESPN’s college football studio show, is one of my favorite TV shows of any genre. I love it because Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit are experts who don’t take themselves too seriously. (Also, because mascots are very cool.) They have fun, and isn’t that what sports are supposed to be?

Fowler brought that vibe to campus last Friday afternoon when he spoke to a group of journalism students and college football fans. Malcolm Moran, director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism (additional disclosure: I am a board member), gave Fowler a big buildup, calling him the “ringleader” of GameDay. Fowler interjected, dryly, “Babysitter.”

Partly, Fowler came to campus to give students an inside look at the TV journalism business and his road to success. He did that humorously and earnestly—to the point that he once laughed and apologized for sounding like Tony Robbins.

“You have to have that genuine passion,” Fowler said. “Never have to fake it, and you’ll be ahead of the game.”

But he also has a Penn State connection. His father, Knox Fowler, was a theatre professor at the University in the mid-’70s, and during his junior-high years, Chris lived in State College—in the same neighborhood as our class notes editor, Julie Nelson ’86, who can attest to Fowler’s early love of pick-up football.

blimp-at-old-beaver-stadiumFowler, a Midwest boy and die-hard Chicago Blackhawks fan, learned to love college football then, too. “Faculty kids” could go to a game for $1. The kids used to pass tickets through a chain-link fence at the south end of Beaver Stadium, which was more primitive back then. So, Fowler noted, “you could get four kids in for a buck if you were pretty sly.” (Julie, daughter of a Penn State accounting professor, confirmed this.)

Other notes from Fowler’s talk:

—He was so animated and candid discussing why he thinks college football should scrap the BCS and institute an eight-team playoff that his wife, sitting in the audience, cringed.

—On college football: “There’s something unique about the passion and the way a campus builds up the week before a game.”

—On Penn State’s game-day atmosphere: “When you guys behave yourself, the Whiteout is the most tremendous display of school spirit with students supporting their team in all of college football.”

—On GameDay: “The show is almost always careening out of control.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

April 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm 3 comments


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