By Matt Cataruzolo
My JRN 488 experience was probably a little different than most. The COVID-19 pandemic caused World Wide Sports Radio Network, the internet radio network I was co-hosting/interning for, to go on an indefinite hiatus. I, like many others affected by the pandemic, felt scared, nervous, and out of options.
As I analyzed my options, I began to look for other positions that would satisfy the criteria for JRN 488. I searched far and wide for anything that was still a feasible opportunity in the current global climate. After searching through social media and the university itself, I came across a contributing writer position for a digital blog called Empire Sports Media.
After I inquired about the position, I was told I could submit a sample article and see if my writing style was adequate for the website. After hearing back from their human resources department, I was told I was going to start a one-and-a-half-month trial period, after which my work would be further evaluated and could possibly lead to a paid position.
As I began submitting weekly articles, the opportunity really allowed me to focus on my journalism skills. Writing articles about sports in a world where there are temporarily no sports was a less than ideal situation. Despite these challenges, I was able to adapt to the circumstances around me and do my best to make it work, just like everyone else.
Searching for topics to cover and storylines to write about, I could still find interesting article ideas. I soon found a rhythm where I consistently wrote articles that were still interesting to the reader. I was receiving positive feedback from the editorial team as well as getting my articles published multiple times weekly. It felt good to be contributing to something while feeling trapped at home. I was starting to feel more motivated than ever.
While I did miss being an on-air talent for a radio network, writing articles was definitely something I wanted to improve on, both inside and outside of school. This is something that Empire Sports Media has helped me with tremendously. As an avid sports fan, being able to write for an online publication was just as much for school as it was for personal recreation. It developed into a genuine passion and it only reassured me that this is the field I want to pursue as a career path.
The days I spent at the radio station were very different from my days at home writing these articles. Arriving at the studio with my laptop in hand, putting on my headphones and doing a sound check put me into a world I have never been in before. Even though I was just an intern, I still felt like I was a professional, in a professional space. I loved talking with my co-hosts, I loved going to the studio every day, I loved every single aspect of it. I grew as a speaker, expanded on my sports knowledge, and made some friends in the process.
Even though my internship experience was a bit unorthodox, I appreciate and am grateful for all the obstacles that stood in my way. They made me a stronger journalist and a more adaptable person. Instead of lying down and accepting the way that the world was, I saw it as an opportunity to go out and try and make something happen. I am very grateful for my time spent with WWSRN and Empire Sports Media. I hope to continue to work for both of them and better myself as a journalist.