Learning on the job

A.J. Atkinson

Coming from my small town’s newspaper, I did not expect I would learn as much as I did in a semester working for the Daily Kent Stater covering the women’s soccer team.

One of the adjustments I had to make was becoming better organized. While at home last year and writing articles for the Free Press Standard, all I had to do for an interview was walk up to a coach and ask if I could interview them.

Here at Kent State, you have to go through a sports information director. I had to tell her whom I needed to interview, what time I could interview the person and by what day I needed to have the interview. I was used to simply contacting the coach or player myself, so this was something to get used to. Though at times annoying, it did greatly improve my organization skills.

Something I did not realize coming into this job was how much I would learn from this team. Coach Rob Marinaro and his players were a very connected, tight team. Though they did not have the season that they wished for (going 4-10-4 this season), the team never gave up and never blamed one another –– something every soccer team I played on did.

Though this worked great for them on the field, it made things difficult for me when it came to interviewing them. None of them would answer questions concerning herself or a teammate. Every answer had to be a team answer. No individual player had to improve.

The whole team had to improve.

This helped my interviewing skills because it taught me, after a few stories with weak quotes, to keep pushing and trying to get the player or coach to give me more specific answers. Now I am much better at recognizing when a follow-up question needs to be asked.

Contact A.J. Atkinson at [email protected].