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LiAnna Overman took a turn in the high-backed interviewer’s chair today. Until now, when guests (athletes) came to be interviewed, we had other guests (professional journalists) there to ask questions.
Today we had only one guest, Jason Samuel, the general manager of 91.1 the Globe, which was named the best college radio station in the nation earlier in the year. With a notebook in hand, LiAnna agreed to serve as the opening interviewer.
Her first question: How did you get started in radio? Samuel told about traveling across Philadelphia with his mother to visit Q102 as a fifth grader. David Dye, the longtime host of World Cafe, was on the air that day. “It was amazing,” Samuel said.
Another question prompted Samuel to talk about how setbacks can become motivators, whether in school or in careers. “I had a professor in college,” he said, ” who told me that with my Philadelphia accent I should go into broadcasting management because I would never get a job on the air. That inspired me.”
“Losing is part of life, but I like winning best,” he said.
Determined to succeed as a broadcaster, Samuel worked for WFRN-FM in Elkhart, Regional Radio Sports Network in Crown Point and Hoosier 103.5 in Syracuse.
In 1998 and 2001, he was named Indiana Sportscaster of the Year, and in 1998 Best Sports Play-by-Play announcer.
Before the interview, Samuel gave students a tour of the radio station on the campus of Goshen College. Students had a chance to hear one of their own on the air. Days earlier Julia Giddens had recorded a promotional spot for the Kids Try-Athlon in Goshen. A staff member played the spot in the studio (not live, since the Try-Athlon took place a week ago).
Other Write on Sports campers had a chance to ask questions as well, including: what is it like to manage a college radio station? “I get to do two things that are awesome: work on radio and work with students,” he said.
Jep Hostetler, a past president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, held up a copy of The Elkhart Truth on Tuesday. He paged through the paper, showing the campers that all of the sections were intact: full pages of sports, news, lifestyle.
Then Hostetler deconstructed the news. He pulled pages apart. He created strips. He tore strips in half. He shaped the pieces into a ball. Within seconds, The Truth was unreadable. With a quick movement of his hands, the stripped-down version of the news became whole pages, ready to be read.
The writer of this blog post has no idea how he did it — or how he managed the other tricks he shared in a half-hour visit with Write on Sports.
Hostetler, a longtime professor in the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University and a nationally known inspirational speaker, offered to make this stopover at Goshen College, his alma mater. Hostetler, who is known as Dr. Jep, brought along a briefcase of cards, stuffed animals, balloons, newspapers and other tools of the trade.
For the magic, he performed tricks both sitting and standing — within a few feet, and sometimes a few inches, of the campers, an invitation to decipher his method.
For the first trick, he placed two foam bunnies in the hand of Gracie Edmonds.
“He told me to close my fist really hard,” Gracie said. “I felt something expanding in my hand. I really wanted to open my fist, but I had to wait.”
When Dr. Jep gave the word, Gracie undid the fist. “Five bunnies jumped out of nowhere,” she said. “I started with two bunnies. All of a sudden I had seven. It was insane.”
Dr. Jep did not help the students magically finish their feature stories or their video reports, but sometimes when journalists step away from their desks for a little while, the storytelling is all the better for it.
It was like old times for a star pitcher and a local sports reporter, back together again to talk about softball for a story.
The pitcher, Natalie Newell, a graduate of Goshen High School, and the journalist, Greg Keim of The Goshen News, know each other well from the days when Keim covered Newell as a Redskin.
Newell now pitches for the Bethel College Pilots. As a sophomore this year, she set the strikeout record at Bethel while leading the team to the NAIA National Tournament (where she threw a no-hitter).
As guests of Write on Sports Goshen, Keim and Newell opened their visit with what was billed as a mock interview. But it was closer to an authentic interview since Keim said that he plans to write a column for The Goshen News later in the week based on the interview.
Then the young journalists of Write on Sports asked questions of the pair, including one question that prompted a disclosure about the serendipitous way that she became a softball player: someone from a local league called Newell’s mother asking whether she would sign up her daughters to fill out the roster. With that call, Newell, who had been a basketball player, also became a softball player.
When all the questions had been asked and answered, everyone headed out to the Goshen College softball field where Newell demonstrated her array of pitches, including a fastball, drop ball, screwball, riser and off-speed. She also showed campers the grip that she uses for each of the pitches.
The campers of Write on Sports Goshen began Wednesday by interviewing two Notre Dame football players in a university press room and ended by interviewing three players and a pitching coach with the South Bend Silver Hawks, who took questions on the field in between batting practice and the start of their game against Kane County Cougars.
The football players, Bennett Jackson, a cornerback, and Prince Shembo, an outside linebacker, were by turns serious and playful. Shembo said, “When I started playing football, I had a lot of fun. It’s a sport where you get to tackle people to the ground and not get yelled at.”
Both players talked about the impact of social media, emphasizing that you-are-what-you-tweet-and-what-you-retweet. “You create your own brand,” Jackson said.
In the digital media suite at Notre Dame, campers had a chance to check out the studio with a green screen and also interview Jewell Loyd, a basketball player who was the national freshman of the year, and Jack Nolan, the longtime basketball announcer.
Loyd disclosed her preparation ritual before a game: “I watch Kobe highlights, drink a bottle of apple juice, pray and then it’s showtime.” Nolan revealed one key factor in deciding to go into broadcasting: “I like to talk. I’ve always liked to talk.”
At the football stadium, campers visited the pressbox and the locker room and entered the field through the tunnel, passing underneath the “Play Like A Champion Today” sign.
Late afternoon, the campers entered Coveleski Stadium, home of the South Bend Silver Hawks, to catch the end of batting practice and interview the pitching coach, Wellington Cepeda, and three players, Jesse Darrah, a pitcher; Alex Glenn, an outfielder; and Fidel Pena, an infielder.
Glenn may have spoken for all four when he said, “Baseball is great. I get to be an adult playing a kid’s game.”
Before the game, the Write on Sports staff and campers headed outside to a grassy hill fo
r a picnic supper.
Pena was the only one of the four players interviewed to take the field for the game against the Cougers. The Silver Hawks were leading 3-2 when we left for Goshen in the middle of the fifth. The Silver Hawks won, 7-2,
with a flurry of runs in the seventh.
Write on Sports launched its first camp in Goshen this week, welcoming 10 promising young journalists (five girls and five boys, all of whom will be entering seventh or eighth grades).
On Monday, the first day of camp, we began with team-building exercises, including one activity in which students and teachers talked about the history of their names. Before long, we were focused on the writing process.
Justin Gillette, a Goshen resident who is one of the most successful marathoners in the world (ranked fifth in total victories), and Anthony Anderson, the assistant sports editor at The Elkhart Truth, joined us on Tuesday. After Gillette and Anderson engaged in a mock interview, students had a chance to ask questions both in a formal, seated setting as well as in a simulated locker room setting.
Gillette came prepared to run as well as to answer questions. Everyone sampled GU Roctane, packets of “ultra endurance energy gel” in various flavors (cherry lime won out over lemon). The group then headed to the college’s outdoor track for a lap with Gillette. (See “Student Blog” for various accounts of the visit with our first two guests).
On Wednesday, we leave late morning for a visit at the University of Notre Dame, followed by an evening game featuring the South Bend Silverhawks. As always, students will have notebooks and questions at the ready.