Tag Archives: Baylor Ward

SEC Profiles

The Red & Black’s profile on Georgia Cornerback Shaq Wiggins parallels the Allison Schmidt profile we read in class the other day by picking a personal aspect of the athlete to delve into his distinct personality before going into his actual athletic prowess. Shirkey, however, maintains the focus on Wiggins’ personality throughout the article, sprinkling in stats and analysis of his play in-between smack talk and team camaraderie anecdotes.

Seth Emerson’s profiling of Auburn Quarterback Nick Marshall’s “turning point” after being dismissed from the University of Georgia for theft was a great first part. However, the conclusion is left out. We are told how he fell from grace and overcame his mistake, but we are left to find out for ourselves how he is at Auburn or how he feels about the journey. But, this profile has a very good lede (similar to some of Prof. Suggs examples in class on Tuesday) and details his journey to UGA, his dismissal, his renewing talk with his high school coach and his transfer to Garden City Community College. More details and interviews about what happened after his stay at Garden City would make this a great profile.

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Profile Stories

This first link is a profile of Northern Illinois’ quarterback Jordan Lynch, who is in the middle of a season that has gotten Heisman praise. The profile talks about his numbers, and makes obvious comparisons of his style of play to current Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

This second link is a  from my favorite (tongue in cheek) people in college football, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. It’s a tiresome topic about the coach having to balance his life and work in order to avoid another “health scare,” or as we in the state of Georgia call it: “Losing Tim Tebow.”


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NFC Profiles

The first profile I came across was this MMQB Sam Hurd profile by Michael McKnight. This story is one of the better stories I’ve ever read and it is incredibly relevant with Hurd being sentenced on Wednesday. At first, I just assumed Hurd was another dead-beat, “money went to his head” NFL player, but after reading this story, it kind of made me at least re-evaluate my perspective–some of what went on in this investigation and sentencing was sketchy. I like how McKnight uses the narrative of Hurd’s drug-trafficking to tell a larger picture story about the type of person Hurd was, how he grew up, how he came to fame, and even how the U.S. justice system seems to work.

I also sought out a profile on Richard Sherman and found this one by Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times. I searched for something on Sherman because he’s such a perplexing figure. With all of the talent in the world, the guy comes off as a real jerk on the field, but then off the field he’s buying dinner for homeless people and writing excellent columns for MMQB. In this one, I like how Farmer was able to touch on both his on-field and off-field demeanor without coming across as too unfocused or scattered.

The Maria Torres Story: Influenced By Her Father, Motivated By Trade Rumors

Maria Torres, a University of Georgia journalism student, does not claim that she knew from the moment she was born that she wanted to write about sports. In fact, it took Torres until her early teens to discover a burning love for baseball that still resides within her today.

Growing up, Torres’ father was always a big baseball fan. He rooted for the Yankees, and Torres justifies this by saying he roots for the brand, not the team in which she is not too fond of today. But when her dad was engulfed in the 2003 World Series between “his” Yankees and the Florida Marlins, Torres discovered that there was something there that sirened her towards the draw of the sport.

Giddy about her new passion, Torres found herself in uncharted territory.

“It was never really on my radar,” Torres said. “I did not play sports growing up, as my parents never really emphasized that, and I never really thought about watching sports on television.”

But it was too late. A passion was quickly struck for the hometown baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, and particularly for one of their better players: Andruw Jones.

So when Jones trade talks heated up in 2006, Torres got her first taste of interacting with the baseball media, calling into a radio show to voice her opinion on the rumors.

“I wrote it down, and knew exactly what I was going to say,” Torres said. “I just went off on a tangent on how I did not want him gone because he helped the Braves go from the 90s funk that they got through, all the way to 2006, and helped the Braves along. I was insistent on the fact that they could not trade him!”

Today, Torres finds herself in a sports writing class within the Grady College of Journalism at UGA, and covers the women’s softball team for the school paper, the Red & Black.

Torres continues to bond with her father through the game of baseball, as they are able to relate the sport to any other life conversations that may come up along the way.

“We talk about sports stuff,” Torres said. “My dad is my go-to for anything, whenever I am having a crisis for anything with journalism and sports.  I learned from him what I know about baseball.”


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Vicki Michaelis’ sports journalism path an unexpected one

As a features copy editor for The Palm Beach Post in 1991, Vicki Michaelis wanted more.

She desperately wanted to write. She’d graduated Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, after all. She’d even endured business class upon business class to help prepare her for a major news or business beat on the staff.

But news and business beats didn’t open up, so Michaelis chose the route that allowed her to begin her writing career quickest — high school football.

“It was completely foreign to me,” Michaelis said.

With an undergraduate degree in journalism (minor in Economics), Michaelis never imagined that sports would be her entrance into the industry. She’d never covered sports before, but her constant desire to take on new challenges comforted her as she eased into the industry covering high school sports. This was going to be Michaelis’ way of paying dues before she found herself on a desk that she really wanted.

Then came August 1992 and the wrath of Hurricane Andrew.

Everyone on The Palm Beach Post staff was thrown into a whirlwind, covering different aspects of the hurricane’s effect on the region. Michaelis, assigned to write about the storm’s influence on high school sports, wrote one of the more widely read articles during the episode, a story about high school football teams that were still coming together to practice despite the hurricane’s destruction.

It finally clicked. Michaelis finally realized the deep influence sports hold within the community.

“I knew then that I could take this sports writing thing to places that I probably couldn’t take a news beat,” Michaelis said.

From there, her ascension to the peak of the journalism industry accelerated. Michaelis soon earned responsibilities covering the University of Miami, professional tennis and the Miami Heat. And by 1995, she received a job offer from the newspaper she ran a paper route for as a kid, The Denver Post.

In Denver, Michaelis covered the University of Colorado then the Denver Nuggets, but it was for The Denver Post that she first covered the Olympics.

In Atlanta in 1996, just a year into her tenure with the newspaper, Michaelis earned the chance to write for the Olympic Games, much to the chagrin of many of her Post counterparts.

“I was going before a lot of long-time writers at the paper who weren’t happy about it. Even the people who went, Woody Paige, Mark Kiszla, were not happy about me being there,” Michaelis said. “So I was assigned all the things that they thought were the worst assignments.”

That didn’t deter Michaelis, though. If anything, it inspired her to learn more about some of the world’s most peculiar sports. Her curiosity about the Olympic spectacle as a whole attracted the USA Today, which hired her as lead Olympics beat writer (and Denver Bureau professional sports writer) in 2000.

Though a challenging task, Michaelis adapted well to the different type of coverage due to her peculiar entrance into the sports journalism industry.

“Strangely enough, I think it’s a huge advantage I had not having been a big sports fan going into it. I didn’t have an assumption of knowledge about anything,” Michaelis said. “The fact that I’d learned enough about all those other sports to cover them competently; I figured I could learn enough about speed skating to make that happen.”

Kristin Hiller Story

Being a figure skating fan in Georgia is a difficult task. Being a figure skater in Georgia is even harder.

Yet, despite the relative obscurity of the sport and the non-conducive climate for outdoor competition, Kristin Hiller counts herself as a member of both factions.

Since she was eight years old, Hiller has been in skates and on ice. Turned onto the game by a cousin, Hiller skated competitively through high school and played an instrumental role in turning her sister on to the sport as well.

“It’s a lot harder than it looks,” Hiller said. “Skating requires so much, both physically and mentally.”

She should know this first hand. Hiller wasn’t just a figure skater; she was a pretty darn good one at that. She lists her crowning achievement as completing her “Senior Moves Test,” one of the highest honors an American figure skater can earn courtesy of US Figure Skating. That being said, Hiller understands her skating didn’t embody perfection.

However, she came close to perfection at the age of 12 when she finally got the opportunity to watch her hero, Michelle Kwan, skate in a showcase.

“She was awesome,” Hiller said. “The audience was so loud that you couldn’t even hear her music because everyone was cheering.”

In her years away from the sport away attending the University of Georgia, (Athens won’t have an ice rink until after she has graduated) Hiller has tried to stay active by judging two or three youth events each year. But as her involvement in the sport has slightly waned, her interest in other games has been piqued.

“Now in college, I’m not able to skate as much so I’ve had to look to other sports to satisfy my craving of the competitive spirit,” Hiller said. “I really enjoy going to the football games and have attended most other sporting events here at UGA as well. I like how a sport can draw such a large audience of people together.”

Loni Gibson’s sports story

As a young girl sitting in the Georgia Dome with her father every Sunday, Loni Gibson experienced a culture of passion and a world full of stories. But Gibson never imagined she would be the one to tell those stories.

Gibson’s father Reuben -who had a short stint as a running back with the Falcons in 1977- instilled a love of sport into her at a young age.

“Attending Atlanta Falcons games with my Dad as a child is one of my favorite pastimes,” she said.

But, originally, the allure of the television spotlight drove Gibson’s career plans.

“I always knew that I wanted to be on TV,” she said, “Yet, I knew I didn’t want to be an actress. That’s when I found broadcast journalism.”

However, the direction for her television career would later be shaped by her father and her fond childhood memories of Sunday afternoons in the Dome.

“My Dad helped me find my love of sports,” Gibson said, “I think that’s what made [sports] a thing for me, because it was our Sunday thing.”

As a student in the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, Gibson has found plenty of compelling stories to be told, particularly those involving the passion of college athletes.

“I feel like when you’re talking to college athletes there’s a little more passion in it than [with professionals],” she said “Because they’re trying to get to that next level, and they know that this is what it depends on.”

The human element, specifically the zeal of sports fans, particularly engages Gibson. And makes for entertaining stories.

“[Sports] allows people to interact with something that’s their favorite pastime,” Gibson said, “It truly evokes passion through fans. It helps people tell their own story. I think that’s what reporting is all about — the people, and that’s what makes sports my thing.”

Gibson also enjoys exploring the physical and emotional journey of the athlete.

“I like knowing how people feel,” she said. “I’m more interested in seeing [situations] like: ‘Oh, she just made her first point as a Lady Dog, and it was a three point shot. How does that make her feel? What do her teammates think? She’s a freshman and her first shot was a three point; what does the team think about her?’”

And her love of sports even overcomes her love of the spotlight.

“Sports is what I really wanna do,” Gibson said, “Obviously, if someone wanted me to anchor their show, I wouldn’t say no, but I want to sideline report college sports.”