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D.C.’s top sports journalists speak at B-CC

By Will Ginsberg

If you weren’t at Sports Journalism Night you missed out, but don’t worry because here is a recap of all the exciting and interesting things that were said.

The first panel featured prominent sports journal- ists including Dan Kolko of MASN, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, Liz Clarke of The Washington Post, Josh Barr of the D.C. State Athletic Association and formerly of The Washington Post, and Emily Bennett of SB Nation’s Japers’ Rink.

Since the members of the first panel got into journalism it has seen massive changes. Barr started at the Post in 1995. When he first started, employees from the various embassies would line up at newspaper boxes early in the morning, in order to receive the latest news. Now they can check social media or the Post’s website. People can receive news much faster. But according to Kolko, social media is a double edged sword. In our age of social media journalism, “accuracy takes a backseat to speed.”

Today, people expect content. This is something Emily Bennett has experienced firsthand. She says that when you supply people with quality content, they keep wanting more. If you slack off for even a day they move on to someone else.

In today’s hyper political climate, politics have increasingly found their way into sports. Our journalists have found that it is in many cases important for them to keep politics out of their writing. Barr says that it is important that you, “don’t inject yourself into the story,” even if you are reporting on something political. Sometimes, Kolko has had to talk to players about politics,but he finds it uncomfortable. Finlay has found that it is difficult to avoid politics, especially with the president targeting players, but he echoes Barr in saying that it is important not to inject yourself into the story.

Our second panel was about becoming a sports journalist, a panel made up of Kolko and Barr. Barr says that it is extremely important to do all the little things right early in your career. Then your editors will trust you, and you’ll get bigger and better assignments in the future. Kolko started off as the multimedia director as MASN, something he wasn’t interested in. He says that you won’t get the job you want right away, so you need to impress your employers. He also says contacts and connections are extremely important.

Our third panel discussed D.C. sports and the importance of proper sourcing and being a responsible journalist which featured Liz Clarke, Emily Bennett and JP Finley. Finlay says that it is extremely important to have sources you know and can trust. He also says that it is very difficult to confirm sources as social media, so before you report something it should be confirmed by at least two sources. Liz Clarke believes that reporting is an incredible amount of responsibility. Improper reporting can ruin someone’s career and life, so if you aren’t completely sure about a source and or story you shouldn’t publish it.

As a whole journalism night was a rousing success. If you missed this one, make sure not to miss the next, which will be on investigative reporting.

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