M-School title: Editorial Intern, Sportsnet
Post-secondary institution: Ryerson University
Program of study: Journalism
This summer I wore a blazer for about a month and a half. I stopped because I learned that, at Sportsnet, we could come to work wearing a T-shirt and jeans (but mostly I stopped because Toronto is very humid). It’s best to be comfortable because sports are constantly happening and at Sportsnet it all gets published.
I got to be a part of so many major sporting events during my time at M-School: the FIFA head offices were raided by the FBI and Sepp Blatter sort of resigned; the FIFA Women’s World Cup; the Blue Jays went all in with major trades; and the Pan Am Games (eventually) won over Torontonians. While these were the busiest days at the office, they were easily the best. It’s fascinating to see how professional journalists react to events like these. It’s exciting and fast-paced and exactly what I signed up for when I applied to M-School.
M-School lives up to its name; it’s a school and you’re a student. I took a lot away from every seminar outside of the Sportsnet offices. There, I got the opportunity to meet people from different Rogers Media magazines. It was at one of these seminars that I got the opportunity to pitch to and write for Maclean’s.
This internship would not have been the same without the other interns. I made so many great friends here and hanging out together was always a blast.
What were your primary tasks?
I produced, managed and edited content for Sportsnet.ca. A lot of my time on any given day was spent manning “the wire,” a website that collects stories from the Canadian Press and Associated Press. It was up to me (and two other web-desk friends that I sat beside every day) to give the story a newsworthy headline, edit a quality photo from the web and publish it on Sportsnet.ca.
On many occasions, the wire couldn’t deliver a story on time, so that gave me an opportunity to write. I didn’t stick to just one sport. I have my strengths, but my assignments ranged from hockey to cycling. Some stories were assigned to me while others I found through sources on Twitter or other social media. Funny story: Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted every NBA draft pick in the correct order minutes before commissioner Adam Silver announced them on TV. The leaks were very helpful to Sportsnet, but also kind of ruined the suspense of the draft.
I spent some time editing stories and used my basic coding skills to make them look beautiful. Other tasks included grabbing quotes from TV or telephone press conferences and gathering stats for Sportsnet magazine.
Describe one day in the workplace?
I follow the glowing white Sportsnet sign down the hall when I reach the third floor. It’s the long way but I prefer it. It looks cool and, if I’m lucky, I get to walk past a live broadcast of Brady and Walker for my dad, who is PVRing it back home in Winnipeg. I keep going, weaving through the different sections of the newsroom. It’s the day before the MLB trade deadline and the Toronto Blue Jays have just acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Naturally, we’re pumped. But now we want a starting pitcher. “Jays making a trade today?” people would ask every morning. I sit down at my desk and start chopping through wire stories. A bit later, there’s a Tweet from a reliable source in the United States: the Blue Jays are battling hard to trade for Detroit Tigers’ pitcher David Price. Excitement sets in because Price is a big deal. Now everybody is preparing for something big and the MLB editor, who sits behind me, swivels around in his chair and asks me to prepare a basic skeleton story confirming the trade (but not to hit publish until it actually happens). I think back to the FIFA raids a couple of months back and how nervous I was then. This time I am calm, writing as quick as I can before the trade became official. Moments later it happened: my story was published and the Blue Jays became a contending baseball team. It was one of many great days at Sportsnet.
What is your proudest accomplishment from the internship?
Hearing my boss tell me during my evaluation that I was doing a great job and that I’m cool under pressure
What is your dream job?
Writer for the New Yorker
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
I would live in the mountains of the Northwest Territories and have homing pigeons deliver my messages instead of email.
Your best work at M-School:
My personal list of the most heartbreaking finishes in sports:
Landing page for the 2015 Pan Am Games:
Believe it or not, this story once led Sportsnet.ca in traffic:
This story about the FBI: