Just over four years ago, I was starting to think about what I wanted to study at UConn. I grew up in a journalism house, with both my parents working for The Providence Journal. I entered my freshman year undecided despite having a pretty good feeling I’d end up following my parents’ footsteps. During the fall of my first semester, I came across The Daily Campus booth at the involvement fair, and attended what would be my first of many meetings for the newspaper. I had always been interested in sports, both playing and watching, but the DC helped me realize how important a role sports would play in my life.
I left my first meeting as the new MLB columnist, with absolutely no idea where to start. My first few columns read like game summaries; essentially recaps of Sox games containing zero opinion or personality; the exact opposite of what a column should be. Each semester, I received more advice and feedback from editors both within the DC and back at home (wish my dad didn’t have access to red ink). I began to develop my own style of writing, and became more confident in my ability to use my voice. My takes got hotter, and my column gradually became more personable and opinionated.
Not only did my involvement with the DC help me develop my writing, it encouraged me to learn more about a sport I grew up loving. I was no stranger to the Red Sox, as my fandom started long before working at the DC. The column helped me evolve from just a Red Sox fan, into an all-around baseball fan. Some weeks I’d know right away what I wanted to write about, while others I would stare at a blank Word document for hours. One of my favorite things about living in Connecticut is having access not only to NESN, but also YES and SNY. In addition to watching every Sox game, I began watching Yankees games, Mets games and anything else I could find. The more I watched, the easier column topics came to mind.
Though I’ve decided to take my journalism career down the broadcast route, I want to thank the DC for giving me the opportunity to practice my writing every week, and develop my voice. As a female in the sports industry, I used to second-guess myself. I’d double and triple check something I was 100 percent sure I knew, in fear that I would l embarrass myself. The work I’ve put into my columns has helped me feel more confident in both my writing, and in general sports conversation. While broadcast and print are entirely different when it comes to writing, I feel more comfortable in my delivery as a result of learning how to show my personality through my work.
These 500 words a week started as just a job, and then gradually helped me shape my voice (and pay my nickel covers). To anyone who read my writing over the last four years, thank you, and let’s go Sox!
Molly Burkhardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.