“A Journey Through a Battle of Knights and Lions” [Longform Narrative]
This story serves as a recap of one of our football games, but I like to think of it as so much more. I was excited about this football game, so I got a little carried away. It is 2,601 words, in which I write about everything from the personal rivalry for our brand-new head coach, as he had coached the opposing school for nine years, to the intra-team rivalry between our two quarterbacks to a very detailed description of the game itself. I watched the whole game from the press box and the sideline, and I even got into the locker room at halftime with a videographer and a photographer to cover every detail of the game.
This piece is also a culmination of all of my work with FHN Student Media, as it was a venture into an area of writing that I hadn’t had much experience with in my beginnings on staff. Over the 2016 summer, though, I attended the MediaNow journalism camp at Maryville University, and it was there that I met Ken Fuson, the instructor of my narrative writing class. He led me to focus on even the most minute details, and, in doing so, he helped me further develop my voice as a writer. I enjoyed writing this story, and I hope that others enjoy it as well.
“Jake’s Take: The Rebuilding of St. Louis’ Sports Culture” [Opinion]
There are a few special things about this story. It is one installment of my weekly(-ish) professional sports opinion column, Jake’s Take. This was also my 100th published piece for FHN Media. Naturally, I wanted to make this work my most impactful, so I contacted Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and stltoday.com to get more information from a professional perspective to aid in my argument for, as the headline suggests, the rebuilding of St. Louis’ sports culture after the Rams left for Los Angeles. As an opinion piece, this story wasn’t necessarily supposed to be backed with fact, but my argument that St. Louis is a multi-sport town (despite what the NFL thinks) was made more powerful with the inclusion of a professional.
More important to me personally than the product is the meaning behind it. Jake’s Take has been my calling card in FHN Student Media for over three years, and I’ve loved every article. Yes, there were times that I was afflicted by writers’ block, but I’ve managed to publish 60+ installments of the column. The experience to be able to write freely at such a young journalistic age was key in shaping my outlook on not only this piece, but on all of my writing.
As I said above, this story was also my 100th published piece for FHN Student Media. These include everything from briefs in the North Star news magazine to longform pieces like the one on this page, from videos recapping specific events to a more lighthearted podcast setting, from opinion pieces to stand-alone infographics. As things stand right now, I have been published more than 125 times by FHN Media, and my goal is to reach 150 by June 7, my graduation date.
“The Man Behind the Voice” [Feature]
This story is a feature on FHN’s PA announcer, Greg Damon, whom I have gotten to know well in my years live broadcasting. The two of us have forged a bond because of our shared love for sports and for announcing. Needless to say, I was excited about this from the moment I pitched the story. This feature earned a Superior rating in the Sports Writing category from Quill and Scroll in their 2016 International Writing and Photo Contest. I spent an evening interviewing Greg at a local Panera Bread, and I followed that up with additional questions a couple days later. I also spoke with FHN’s Athletic Director to fact check some of Damon’s story. This was published in the North Star News Magazine Volume 30, Issue 4 on Dec. 16, 2015.
“Head Football and Track Coach Gregory Leaves FHN” [Breaking News]
This story about FHN’s head football coach leaving the school shows that I can both write extensive narrative pieces and quick-turn breaking news articles. This was written the evening after his decision was announced. Brandon Gregory announced his decision to step down to his football team before school, and, upon hearing the news in third hour, I raced from FHN Media’s room to the in-school suspension room that Gregory was supervising to interview him. I then followed up with our Athletic Director and a few of his players and assistants to get a feel for the team’s reaction to the news. Gregory was widely loved at FHN, which made this a difficult story to write, but I had it edited and published the next day to get the news out as soon as possible.