Sixteen students from universities around the nation will come together in late May—either in person or virtually—to prepare for internships at newspapers, networks and multi-media sports news organizations. The 16 comprise the 29th class of the Sports Journalism Institute, which was founded in 1992 and welcomed its first class in 1993.
The class includes nine women and seven men. Two universities each have two students in the class—the University of Texas and the University of Florida. The class also includes students from three schools that have not previously been part of our SJI family—Ferris State, the University of South Florida and North Carolina A&T.
“I am really pleased with the number of partners, old and new, who stepped up with a record-setting class during these unprecedented times and have met the moment,” said Gregory Lee, a 1994 SJI alum who serves on SJI’s board of directors and helps coordinate the program.
Lee, who is also senior assistant managing editor at The Boston Globe, added: “I am also proud to see the Boston Globe as a first time partner."
SJI thanks all its hosts, partners and sponsors, including the Gannett Foundation and the Gannett family of newspapers and digital centers. Six Gannett newspapers will serve as intern hosts in 2021—USA Today, The Tennessean, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Tuscaloosa News. Longtime partner ESPN will also host an intern.
In addition to these partners, SJI also thanks Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Malcolm Moran, whose guidance on deadline writing and other topics has been a staple of SJI bootcamps for more than a decade. This summer, IUPUI is represented in the class by Meghan Rominger. We also thank the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where SJI was in residence for seven bootcamps. Ryan Herrera represents Mizzou in this class.
SJI partners with the Association for Women in Sports Media in the selection and placement of Daniela Perez of the University of Texas. Perez will intern at the Orlando Sentinel, where AWSM Board chair Iliana Limon Romero is the sports editor.
We also thank Arizona State University, which has hosted SJI’s bootcamp the past two summers and will do so again this year. The program was conducted on-site in 2019 but lived in the virtual world due to the pandemic in 2020. This year seems likely to be a return to the virtual space but we will make a final decision in March.
Bootcamp will begin with orientation on May 23, and wrap up May 30. During the week, students will hear from newsroom professionals and academics on topics ranging from ethics in the pressbox, to diversity in the media, to tips on beat coverage. Students will also hear from SJI alums who have used the program as a launching pad to careers at places including ESPN, The New York Times, The Athletic and USA Today, to name a few. SJI stresses thriving on deadline, with live coverage a staple of bootcamp—whether coverage is done via TV or in person, and whether interviews happen in a locker room or via Zoom.
Three members of the Class of 2021 were also part of the 2020 class. Ryan Herrera (Missouri) returns to SJI this year as a result of his internship at the Houston Chronicle being pushed back amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kris Rhim (Springfield College), who interned with the Knoxville News-Sentinel in 2020, returns to the 2021 class as The Globe’s first SJI intern. Kennedy Byrd (North Carolina) was selected for the 2020 class but bowed out to accept an internship that would take her to the Tokyo Olympics—an internship that vanished when those Games were pushed back.
The 2021 class includes six Black students, four Asian-Americans and five Hispanics. The nine women represent the most ever in an SJI class.
University of North Carolina, Junior
University of Oregon, Senior
Ferris State University, Senior
Kansas City Star
N.C. A&T State University, Senior
University of Missouri, Senior
Norfolk State University, Sophomore
Courier Journal (Louisville)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis)
University of Maryland, Senior
University of Florida, Senior
Daniela Perez, AWSM Scholar
University of Texas, Senior
University of Florida, Senior
Springfield College, Senior
Indiana-Purdue Indianapolis, Senior
University of South Florida, Junior
Knoxville News Sentinel
Arizona State, Senior
Southern California News Group
University of Texas, Junior