Start planning for 2018 sports media conference for college students

sports17Sorry if you missed out on the best sports journalism training for college students this past weekend. But there’s always next year when we roll out another impressive three-day conference in Nashville.

We just completed the fourth annual CMI Sports Journalism Workshop, held this year at both Vanderbilt and Bridgestone Arena for more than 200 students and a few faculty members. Like the first three years, speakers once again delivered terrific insights into a variety of topics ranging from baseball beat coverage from ESPN’s Buster Olney and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold to telling stories in long-form from Jordan Ritter Conn to sideline reporting to broadcasting, multimedia, interviewing, to name just a few.

We offered 24 sessions that covered every media platform by 29 sports media experts eager to pass along information. Baseball beat writers like Goold flew to Nashville in the middle of his first week covering Cardinals spring training in Florida while Michael Wallace, a former ESPN writer and radio host, forsook the Grizzlies-Warriors game in Memphis, where he oversees the NBA team’s own media coverage at Grind City Media, to offer sessions on Friday and Saturday.

Teresa Walker, an award-winning Associated Press writer who covers the Grizzlies, Predators, Vanderbilt and a multitude of other events and topics across Tennessee, took part in three sessions, including our three-hour opening night event where we addressed new media approaches, sports ethics, and covering athletes charged with egregious crimes, among other topics.

Without these speakers who devoted their time and energy, we would not be able to present such an outstanding conference each year for students who attend this workshop, such as the young man who told me he paid his own expenses and drove more than 11 hours from South Dakota to get there. If you want to hear what they think, check out our Twitter hashtag #CMISports17.

As a professor at Eastern Illinois University, I am constantly impressed by journalists willing to take time out of their busy work and home schedules to drive three hours from Chicago or two hours from St. Louis – or even 30-50 minutes from an East Central Illinois city – to speak to students in our classes. Some of our speakers in Nashville flew or drove even greater distances, sometimes through bad weather, in order to present. Journalists are awesome, no matter what Sean Spicer thinks.

So thanks very much to the following speakers for helping to support sports media education this past week:

Robbie Bohrens (Tennessee Titans), Jordan Ritter Conn (The Ringer), Lydia Craver (ESPN), Willy Daunic (Nashville Predators), Dawn Davenport (ESPN), Jenny Dial Creech (Houston Chronicle), Joanne Gerstner (Michigan State), Derrick Goold (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Dave Goren (National Sports Media Association), Kara Hammer (WKRN News2), Gerry Helper (Nashville Predators), Bill Hill (, Mike Keith (Tennessee Titans), Chris Lee (, Mitch Light (Athlon Sports), Andrew Maraniss (author, Strong Inside), Rich McVey (Athlon), Malcolm Moran (IUPUI), Buster Olney (ESPN), Barry Orr (U of Oklahoma), Kyle Parkinson (Vanderbilt sports info), Rhiannon Potkey (Knoxville News Sentinel), Stacie Shain (Bellarmine), Clay Travis (Fox Sports), Bill Trocchi (, Michael Wallace (Memphis Grizzlies), Teresa Walker (Associated Press), Dan Wolken (USA Today).

In addition, thanks so much to my friends at Vanderbilt Student Media who allow me to help work on this wonderful project with them – Chris Carroll, Jeff Breaux, Paige Clancy, and Jim Hayes.

Catch you all next February. You definitely won’t want to miss this conference.







About jgisondi

I am the author of the "Field Guide To Covering Sports," the second edition now available from Congressional Quarterly Press/SAGE, and "Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot" (U of Nebraska Press). Field Guide to Covering Sports, Second Edition goes beyond general guidance about sports writing, offering readers practical advice on covering 20 specific sports. From auto racing to wrestling, author Joe Gisondi gives tips on the seemingly straightforward—like where to stand on the sideline and how to identify a key player—along with the more specialized—such as figuring out shot selection in lacrosse and understanding a coxswain’s call for a harder stroke in rowing. In the new Second Edition, readers also explore sports reporting across multimedia platforms, developing a foundational understanding for social media, mobile media, visual storytelling, writing for television and radio, and applying sabermetrics. Fully revised with new examples and updated information to give readers confidence in covering just about any game, match, meet, race, regatta or tournament, Field Guide to Covering Sports, Second Edition is the ideal go-to resource to have on hand when mastering the beat. In "Monster Trek," Joe Gisondi brings to life the celebrities in bigfoot culture: people such as Matt Moneymaker, Jeff Meldrum, and Cliff Barackman, who explore remote wooded areas of the country for weeks at a time and spend thousands of dollars on infrared imagers, cameras, and high-end camping equipment. Pursuing the answer to why these seekers of bigfoot do what they do, Gisondi brings to the reader their most interesting—and in many cases, harrowing—expeditions. You can order both from Amazon.
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