Voices: The Podcast is a production of JGS Media Inc. This sports media podcast was created to build a community to encourage, inspire and advocate for the sports media and journalism.
Brian Moritz is the director of the MA in sports journalism program at St. Bonaventure University. On the latest edition of Voices: The Podcast Moritz talks about the state of journalism, storytelling in a digital first space and the professional landscape today and in the future.
Below are select highlights transcribed from the podcast for your convenience.
Brian Moritz is the director of the new online masters of journalism program at St. Bonaventure. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Moritz caught sports communication for seven years at the State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego.
What drew you to the opportunity at St. Bonaventure?
I’ve taken to really like online teaching and I really enjoy it. The opportunities and the dynamics that it can provide students so it can provide universities. And so the ability to go back to school, the school, where I learned to be a journalist 25 years ago, and to be able to teach there to be able to teach remotely … It’s a perfect situation. Teaching future sports journalists at the graduate level … exploring what’s possible in online education and really having that laser focus on, it’s so exciting to kind of build something from from zero.
How did COVID shape your teaching? Did it change the way you taught or how you taught?
I didn’t realize when I left campus March 13th last year, that that’d be the last time I taught in a classroom … I kind of changed and augmented my teaching. One thing I realized kind of pretty quickly is that teaching online is not teaching in person. Teaching online is a very different experience.
How are your students responding to this challenge (COVID)?
In my sports writing class the first big assignment every year is to cover a game in person … it’s great. They get press passes. They get seated on press row. There’s a press conference afterward. They get a full experience. They didn’t have that chance. That presents other challenges. I have some students in the class who are a 100% virtual, so they’re not on campus, they’re at home. All your classes are online. So now we gotta figure out how are they going to cover a game. In terms of how it’s affected students … this is not the college experience. To be online. These kids came to college thinking they were going to get a full on college experience … It was a big change. All of it. I think that learning how to do interviews by phone, by Zoom, honestly, that’s what’s happening in the business right now. That’s what professionals are having to do. So the fact that you kind of have to do this, that students kind of have to do this on their own.
If you were a college student today and you’re applying to college to study sports, journalism, or sports communications, what would you be looking for in a program curriculum?
I would really want to stress that you have a strong journalism core, not just sports journalism. The focus on writing the focus on the basics. I think it’s so critical to everything that you’re going to do as a reporter. You want a program that’s going to expose you to a lot of different skills. Curriculums are very similar school to school. So I think that that when you’re looking at schools, you want to look at campus media for students. I think that is so key to any kind of journalism education. And in terms of faculty, like how well do you click with them?
Malcom Gladwell believes that if you want to be a writer, you shouldn’t go to college to learn how to write. You should pick a major that will educate you on the subject you want to focus on professionally. So if you want to be a sports media reporter, study business or psychology or technology and focus on the business side of sports or the technology advancements in sports. Do you agree with Gladwell in his overall perspective?
Not really, but kind of is it’s it’s really kind of curious. So I completely understand that point of view. The idea of going through your money away, learning how to write, learn, but what to write about … I would push back on it is what college ultimately, whether it’s undergrad or grad program, especially in undergrad, what it allows you to do is to make mistakes royally in an environment that won’t cost you your career as you’re learning to write, and you do need to learn to write. Being in an environment, being around people who want to do the same thing that you do, people like us do things like this … The answer to the Gladwell paradox would be to minor in journalism. If you feel strongly about it, considering minoring in journalism, that’s an option and not majoring in it, but major in economics, major in history, sociology, business, whatever, and minor in journalism.
ST. BONAVENTURE NOW OFFERS MA IN SPORTS JOURNALISM
Here is more from St. Bonaventure’s website:
St. Bonaventure University’s (SBU) online Master of Arts in Sports Journalism, you will learn all the skills necessary to become a modern-day sports journalist. This knowledge of the latest methods in news gathering will allow you to develop original stories for traditional and digital media, based on the highest journalistic standards. Our sports journalism master’s degree was built leveraging the insights from our successful journalism alumni, who hold top positions at ESPN, New York Post, USA Today, and other major media sources, to ensure you’ll learn all the skills critical to success in this field.
Through the sports journalism master’s program, you’ll learn how to:
- Explain the nuances of sports, race/ethnicity, gender, and the role of the journalist in a diverse sports media landscape
- Follow the best practices of journalistic excellence and ethics to vigorously apply these standards to new forms of media in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness, and diversity
- Demonstrate entrepreneurial approaches and envision future business models for sports media
- Exhibit culturally competent interviewing skills
- Produce podcasts and digital interviews
- Develop, research, and execute a major sports journalism project