Since its establishment more than ten years ago, students in the Stony Brook School of Journalism have made appeals for more representation of sports journalism in the expansion of the school’s staff and selection of courses.
That process first began in 2011, when Newsday sports writer Robert Herzog was hired as an adjunct professor to teach a course in sports reporting. A 40-year veteran of the industry, Herzog has covered five World Series, countless MLB playoff games and two Super Bowls during his career at Newsday.
Now, that effort has inspired the newest broadcast news show in the School of Journalism, and the scope of the Sports Reporting course has broadened with the introduction of two new professors.
Jamie Stuart, a New York Emmy award winner for his work in sports journalism, said that he got his start in sports journalism during his college years. Now, he uses his experience in broadcast journalism as a sports anchor & reporter for News 12 to compliment Herzog’s experience as a writer.
“I try to give the students a real-life indication on how it is to be on camera, on set and get real-life experience.” Stuart said. “The single most important thing, in my opinion, to keep in mind as a sports reporter is to be prepared for anything.”
Accompanying Stuart in his role as a broadcast reporter, Josh Caray said that he tries to impart his knowledge as a play-by-play broadcaster for the Stony Brook football and basketball teams in his role as a teacher in Sports Reporting. Caray is the grandson of the nationally famous sportscaster Harry Caray, who called games for the Chicago Cubs and others for 53 years, and Caray’s father was Skip Caray, another acclaimed sportscaster who did play-by-play announcing for the Atlanta Braves for many years.
“The most important thing to remember is your job is to report. Not root, not browbeat, not sugarcoat, not abuse,“ Caray said. “It is easy to get emotionally invested in the team, which I admittedly have done at times. But at the end of the day, like a reporter or anchor, my job is to state the facts and tell the public the status of the home team.”
Benefiting from a wealth of experience and a diverse selection of skills on offer, Herzog’s class has given students an outlet to pursue their passions, Cameron Boon, an associate producer and one of the founders of the Stony Brook Sportsbreak said.
“When you go into the sports reporting class, you’re with bunch of sports fans or people who want to get into sports journalism.” Boon said. “It creates a niche for us.”
That community of reporters became the foundation of the newest broadcast show at the School of Journalism. Launched last fall with a sponsorship by the School of Journalism, the Stony Brook Sportsbreak was created as a weekly sports broadcast that would give student crew members experience in sports broadcasting.
While the show itself is produced entirely by students, the crew of Sportsbreak draw from their own experiences as reporters within the School of Journalism to make the production work.
“The broadcast journalism classes taught me how to actually produce, create a rundown, and manage a staff,” Kunal Kohli, associate producer for Sportsbreak said. “Everybody at the top of Sportsbreak already knows what they’re doing. So we want to impart that knowledge on to the people who don’t know.”
Helping to produce Sportsbreak doesn’t just look good on your resume, Joseph Wolkin said. Working as a cameraman on the show has helped him with his broadcast classes as well.
“I was in the newsroom last night with Kunal, trying to learn a little bit about production,” Wolkin said. “As the semester goes on, I plan on doing more.”
Flexibility in the roles you play as a reporter is a key to success in the broadcast sports business, Stuart said. From his own experience, being able to adapt in the studio environment played a part in his success.
“I would advise to students to learn all parts of the trade. Writing, editing, camera, on-air, prompter,” Stuart said. “You never know when a position opens that can get your foot in the door and you want to be able to say “I can do that.”
Some students in the Sportsbreak have taken neither sports nor broadcast reporting classes. Producers are receptive to students lacking that experience, said Andrea Kuri, a Journalism minor and on-air talent at Sportsbreak.
“I came in a little nervous, but everyone here is super awesome. They are really willing to teach you and help you in any way they can,” Kuri said. “You have a lot of really good resources here. There’s some pressure, but it’s a great opportunity.
The Stony Brook Sportsbreak meets for production on Wednesdays at 1PM during Campus Lifetime. Their previous broadcasts can be seen on SBUJDrive.com.
Reported by Christopher Cameron
Here’s a recent show: