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Sports Journalism Institute at Cronkite Trains Next Generation of Sports Journalists

May 30, 2019

Sports Journalism Institute participants (from left to right) Alanis Thames, Daniel Oyefusi, Liz Finny, Parth Upadhyaya, Damichael Cole and Clevis Murray are gathered around Arianna Vedia during the SJI camp at the Cronkite School May 27-June 2. (Photo by Kynan Marlin/Cronkite School)

Fourteen of the nation’s top sports journalism students are part of the weeklong Sports Journalism Institute at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Students are getting hands-on experience covering an NBA Finals game, two Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games and a Phoenix Mercury WNBA game, as well as attending sessions on sports journalism led by Cronkite faculty and professional sports journalists.

Among the professional journalists teaching students are ESPN journalists Michael Wilbon, Malika Andrews and Lisa Salters as well as Richard Deitsch of The Athletic and Duane Rankin, who covers the Phoenix Suns for The Arizona Republic. Students also will hear from Scott Brooks, director of research for the ASU Global Sport Institute, and Paola Boivin, a former Arizona Republic sports columnist and member of the College Football Playoff selection committee who now helps direct the Cronkite News Phoenix Sports Bureau.

Following the weeklong boot camp, students disperse to paid internships at news organizations and sports outlets across the country. Those returning to college each receive a $500 scholarship to complete their studies.

The program is sponsored by the Sports Journalism Institute, a nonprofit that works to promote and train a diverse group of students interested in careers in sports journalism. SJI is led by co-founders Leon Carter and Sandy Rosenbush, both of ESPN. The boot camp is run by Greg Lee, an SJU alumnus and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists who is a senior managing editor at The Athletic.

“We’re excited about both the hands-on learning opportunities at the Cronkite School and the opportunities for increased emphasis on live coverage that the Cronkite’s proximity to the Phoenix sports scene provides,” Rosenbush said.

Past SJI participants have gone on to work at media outlets such as the Bleacher Report, ESPN, NCAA.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sports Illustrated, The Athletic and the Wall Street Journal.

Recent Cronkite graduate Chancellor Johnson participated in the 2018 SJI program before completing an internship at ESPN in its research department last summer. Johnson will spend this summer working at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas.

“SJI helped me grow tremendously as both a person and a journalist,” Johnson said. “The rigorous boot camp allowed me to connect and learn alongside some of the top young journalists in the country, while challenging me to be a better writer.”

Madisen Carter, one of two Cronkite School participants, will intern at The Arizona Republic following this summer’s SJI.

“This is a great chance to meet peers, learn about multimedia and learn from so many great professionals and teachers,” she said.

2019 Summer Journalism Institute participants, their schools and summer internship assignments

Frank Bonner, Indiana University-Purdue University, Kansas City Star
Madisen Carter, Arizona State University, The Arizona Republic
Damichael Cole, University of Tennessee, Sports Illustrated
Elizabeth Finny, Duke University, MLB.com
Sierra Galanza, University of Tennessee, ESPN
Eric He, University of Southern California, Southern California News Group
J.L. Kirven, Ohio University, Detroit Free Press
Clevis Murray, Suffolk University, The Tennessean
Daniel Oyefusi, University of Maryland, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Justin Parham, Arizona State University, The Tennessean
Ariana Taylor, Michigan State University, Knoxville News-Sentinel
Alanis Thames, University of Florida, Yahoo! Sports
Parth Upadhyaya, University of North Carolina, The Denver Post
Arianna Vedia, University of Texas-Arlington, Houston Chronicle

About SJI

Founded in 1992, SJI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that partners with the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, Scripps Howard Foundation, Gannett and Associated Press Sports Editors in class selection and placement. The Sports Journalism Institute is a nine week training and internship program for college students interested in sports journalism careers. The Institute is designed to attract talented students to journalism through opportunities in sports reporting and editing and enhance racial and gender diversity in sports departments nationwide.

About the Cronkite School

The Cronkite School is home to immersive professional programs in which students regularly cover professional and intercollegiate sports from bureaus in Phoenix and Los Angeles. The school bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in sports journalism emphasize immersive, experiential learning. Students have covered major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, PGA golf tournaments and Major League Baseball Spring Training.