An experience of a lifetime

An+experience+of+a+lifetime

Adrian Broaddus, Copy Editor

I had a seven-and-a-half hour drive to think about where I am in my life and what my journey to San Antonio meant.

I, along with Jeremy Carranco and Mikey Flores, two seasoned student sports writers, made a special weekend trip to San Antonio for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Full Court Press writing seminar workshop.

The event consisted of a panel workshop, where we would get to meet the top sports journalists in the country, followed by all access to each of the Final Four teams’ practices and interview sessions for coverage. And yes, Sister Jean-Dolores Schmidt, the beloved 98-year-old super fan of Loyola Chicago, was available for interview.

During this drive it made me reflect on where I was in my young journalism career and what this trip meant. Two years ago, I was standing in the same spot at NRG Stadium for the Final Four media day, but I was just 19. Now, I had experience under my belt and I was a lot more fearless in terms of reporting and hungry for more.

It also made me reflect on our sports publication as a whole. Jeremy and Mikey have been with The Prospector for a year and a half now and only really covered UTEP sporting events. I knew this was an experience for all of us that would truly be outside of our spectrum of coverage.

When we got to the Alamodome in San Antonio, we all agreed to go our separate ways to venture out in terms of coverage.

To kick off our day, we participated in the grand interview session for the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Award and sat in as the winner Villanova guard Jalen Brunson talked in front of big-time media outlets.

Then, in a compact room, we sat in on a highly anticipated press conference that Sister Jean conducted, which brought in media outlets from across the nation. Sitting next to me was a senior reporter for ESPN, while just in front was an Associated Press sports correspondent. We literally sat next to the greatest college basketball sports writers in the nation.

Following the presser came the writing workshop for all the students. There were young journalists from Texas A&M, University of Texas, Trinity College and all over Texas, but none that drove seven-plus hours for the event like we did.

What struck me the most was what Jim Lefko, the sports editor of the San Antonio Express-News,  said during the sports writing workshop about how important it is for journalists to maintain a fresh look. Talking to writers like Pat Forde, a senior columnist of Yahoo Sports, Dana O’Neil, a past ESPN reporter and current writer for The Athletic, and Nick Moyle, a fresh graduate who is working for San Antonio Express-News, was beneficial in seeing the different levels of sports journalism and how competitive the field is.

No, we aren’t doctors, who are in charge of someone’s lives and studied countless hours to get their certification. Nor are we lawyers, who pay an unrealistic amount of money to practice law and have to work tirelessly in certain instances on cases.

But, we’re journalists, the storytellers of the world that give these athletes, coaches and members a voice to share with the world. We work unfavorable hours for a lot less pay and compete in an intense field where there are easily more reporters with the same, if not better, qualifications than ourselves. With the addition of technology, the pressure is at an all-time high to be the first to release a story or the first to break news via social media.

Throughout all four team’s interviews, speaking with coaches, photographing practices, networking with other media members and writing timely stories, it made me step back and realize how important our job is to the world.

Every other school that came to the writing workshop started to trickle out of the media event as time went on in the late afternoon. Mikey, Jeremy and I were among the last students standing, working on multiple stories until we perfected them and put out our best effort.

After we published all the work and retreated back to our hotel, there was a strong feeling of accomplishment coming out of all of us. Us three West Texas kids, born and raised, were able to hang with the big media outlets fearlessly, and although we didn’t work for a huge media outlet, the experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

On the drive back, I personally counted my blessings and was extremely content that as young student journalists, we experienced something that we will hold onto forever in our lives.