Kennesaw State students tackle sports reporting on the World Cup while in Russia

World Cup Art

The World Cup is an international association football competition [in U.S. we call it soccer] contested every four years by national teams of the the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body. 

By Isaiah Singleton, SPJ Region 3 summer intern, senior at Savannah State University student studying mass communication and journalism 

Moscow, RUSSIA — Although the United States did not make the cut for the 2018 Men’s FIFA World Cup, America and its state of Georgia was still be represented by a group of Kennesaw State University student journalists when the tournament kicked off June 14. The tournament will last until July 15.  

KSU students and their Trip Director (1)

Welcome to Russia! From the left, Marquis Holmes, Virginia Wyckoff, Tom Rotnem, Dr. Carolyn Carlson, Mary Thornburg, and Alex Keller. Photo by Jeremy Collins.

These five students, Alex Keller, Virginia Wyckoff, Marquis Holmes, Jeremy Collins, Mary Thornburg and their professor, Dr. Carolyn Carlson, are reporting in Moscow, Russia, on the World Cup through live Tweets of the global event and podcast. They will be in Moscow from June 9 – July 1.

While in Moscow, they will all be covering various teams including top-ranked German, Brazilian, and Argentinean teams. The World Cup is an international association football competition [in U.S. we call it soccer] contested every four years by national teams of the the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body. 

‘This is Europe, this is Russia, more specifically it’s Moscow. It was a surreal feeling.’” – Marquis Holmes, editor-in-chief of The Sentinel, KSU’s student newspaper

“It did not hit me that I was in another country until we landed walking around the airline thinking, ‘This is Europe, this is Russia, more specifically it’s Moscow. It was a surreal feeling’,” said Marquis Holmes, Editor-In-Chief of KSU newspaper, The Sentinel.

Vadmir Putin

Vladimir Putin

The students visited the Kremlin, which is a fortified complex that includes many big cathedrals and temples that they saw. It is the best known for the kremlins (Russian citadels), five palaces and four cathedrals. The complex serves as the official residence of the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

“There’s no way you could capture just how mind blowing the cathedrals are in photos. It’s every three square inch of these temples is covered in paintings of different saints with gold leaf plating around them,” said Jeremy Collins.

Kennesaw photo in front of cathedral

From the left, front row: Alex Keller, Dr. Carolyn Carlson, Mary Thornburg, Marquis Holmes; second row from the left: Jeremy Collins, Tom Rotnem, Virginia Wyckoff. Supplied photo

From a journalistic perspective, Holmes said he feels that if they can handle covering such a huge event such as the World Cup, then they can take on anything.

Marquis Holmes KSU

Marquis Holmes, editor of KSU Sentinel 

“If I can report the biggest sporting event in the world, then that’s the reason why I’m here, so I can step out of my comfort zone,” said Holmes.

And there is also the matter of working in a country where English is not the dominant language. “I think it takes a little bit of discipline to be able to maintain craft even though you have not done something before, specifically the language barrier. I do not speak Russian at all,” he said.

While keeping on top of World Cup sports reporting, Collins has been keeping a travel blog as well because this is also his first time out of the country.

I feel like media has helped me to get more out of my experience here than I might have if I was here on my own time.” – Jeremy Collins

“I feel like media has helped me to get more out of my experience here than I might have if I was here on my own time. I feel more obligated to pay attention to my surroundings and try stuff that is more out of my comfort zone,” said Collins.

Currently their plans to report on the World Cup includes live Tweeting and broadcasting a podcast while they are waiting on press credentials.

“We might be watching games at the fan zones or the sports bars,” said Holmes.

Virginia Prescott

Virginia Prescott, GPB’s On Second Thought. Supplied photo

On a Skype call with Georgia Public Broadcast’s On Second Thought by Virginia Prescott, she spoke with Dr. Carlson and two KSU students, seniors Alex Keller and Virginia Wyckoff about their reporting in Moscow.  Listen to the Kennesaw State University students’ interview on GPB HERE.

“We have only been offering Sports Reporting for about three years now. This is a high demand course because a lot of students want to become sports reporters,” Dr. Carlson said.

Carlson continues, “This is a wonderful opportunity for these students to be able to cover an international sporting event and write stories on deadline in a way that real sports reporters do.”

She said she is not expecting her students to be at a professional level as far as their knowledge of the teams and players and history, but she’s expecting them to know who the stars are and how they got to the World Cup.

“When I came over, I was looking forward to the experience of being at the World Cup and an international soccer event because when we were signing up for the trip I had no idea that the U.S. was going to a part of that bid for 2026,” Keller said.

Well, I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back to the World Cup so why not take the class’, it was kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity …” – Alex Keller

He adds, “I thought to myself ‘Well I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back to World Cup, so why not take the class’, it was kind of like a once in a lifetime opportunity and having the opportunity to cover Portugal and Argentina.”

Isaiah mug

Isaiah Singleton

Isaiah Singleton is SPJ Region 3’s 2018 summer intern. He is a senior at Savannah State University majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in online/print journalism. Singleton is a contributing writer for the University’s student-ran newspaper, The Tiger’s Roar. Raised in Stockbridge, Georgia, writing has always been his passion. During childhood, he wrote numerous fictional stories about his life and what he wanted it to be. 

“Coming to SPJ Region 3, I want to bring my passion for writing and ability to think on my feet to the table. My goals for interning here are to establish multiple networking relationships, learn more about the media industry with hands-on experience, and to enjoy the opportunity that SPJ’s “Sizing Up the South” has in-store for me. When it comes to long-term goals, I want to become an editor and eventually I want to own my own magazine/newspaper or publishing company. I want to make change in the world via my writing whether that is hard news or more personal/ controversial topics in the world.” – Isaiah Singleton

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” – Benjamin Franklin

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One thought on “Kennesaw State students tackle sports reporting on the World Cup while in Russia

  1. Pingback: Meet SPJ Region 3 fall intern: Marquis Holmes from Kennesaw State University | SPJ Region 3

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