Alumni Q & A: Alison Mastrangelo On Covering the Super Bowl

UPDATE: March 3, 2017 – Alison has a new job as a weekend sports anchor at Denver ABC affiliate KMGH-TV.

Alison Mastrangleo works as a Sports Director/Anchor/Reporter at FOX21 News in Colorado Springs, CO. She graduated from Rowan University in 2013 with a double major in Journalism and Health and Physical Education. In February, she will cover Super Bowl 51.

What is it like covering the Super Bowl? Is it as crazy as it seems?
It is insane. You work every single hour, but it is the coolest thing ever. It’s so hard to explain because when you tell people, they think it’s just like a vacation. It’s not a vacation. This week, we’ve been working on four shows for my FOX station. We shoot for the early show, and then we’re live every night at 9 pm and 10 pm. One day we worked in the car for eight hours because we didn’t have anywhere to edit. We were editing, tracking and doing everything in the car.

Do you have personal highlights from covering the Super Bowl?
Media Night so far has been my favorite thing. It’s for the players, but also for media around to world to come together and make a spectacle of ourselves. I grew up watching the show “Kenan and Kel.” At Media Night, I saw Kel. I went up to talk to him, and then we got to do the whole Good Burger motto from his show, and I was reliving my childhood.

Last year you covered your home team Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Is it different this year?
With the Broncos, all the players didn’t know me personally, but they knew my face, so when I’d go up to them, they’d say, “I know you, I’ll talk to you.” This year I have to squeeze in just to ask a question, so it’s a little bit harder. And you don’t know all the little anecdotes like when you’re covering the team all season long, so that’s been a challenge.

How do you distinguish yourself from other reporters and media outlets?
We look for local angles. There are actually two Colorado connections. The Patriots’ Nate Solder grew up in Colorado, and the Falcon’s Ben Garland grew up in Grand Junction and went to the Air Force Academy. Or I try to turn it to more of a human-interest thing. So one day instead of doing the X’s and O’s on the offense and defense, I’ll go up to different players and ask them about their superstitions and some fun facts. You have these big guys who will say, “Oh, I’m a writer” or “I’m a spear fisher.”

c3ymiwlucaave9jWhen you are not covering the Super Bowl, what’s your regular work routine?
I produce, write and anchor three shows. There’s a sports show at 5 pm, 9 pm and 10 pm, and they’re about two to three minutes long. And during the week, I’ll try to get to some of the local high school games or set up local features. Before we came out here we shot a story on a skateboarding church. During the Broncos season, we’re up there for all their home games and week one practice.

What is one thing you love about your job?
I love that it’s always different. I might come in thinking I’m going to cover one thing, and it changes because sports is still news. And I love being out in the field telling stories.

What’s one of the biggest challenges of your job?
The long hours. Some days I’ll come in at 8:30 am and I’ll be working until 11:00 pm, and you might be working five or six days a week. You hit a wall after a string of 14 hour days, but that’s any job.

Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists studying at Rowan?
Do as many internships as you possibly can. I interned at FOX 29 in Philly, and I did their morning show for a semester, and I did their night show. I learned so much. Just try everything. Don’t be annoying about it, but show you want to learn. I met some of the best mentors in my internships.

Sports journalism is a very competitive business. Any advice for aspiring sports journalists?
I’m unique because I started doing news and went into sports. My advice is to try for sports jobs first, but be aware that in a typical news station, if there are 10 reporters, then there will two sports reporters. Also be prepared to work in a very small market. But it can happen. When I graduated from Rowan, I couldn’t imagine covering one professional football team, let alone covering a Super Bowl. Now I’m on my second. I’ve definitely pinched myself.

Rowan Alumni Q & A with Erica Bauwens-Young ’11

bauwensyoungprofileThis month, Rowan Alumni features Erica Bauwens-Young, a 2011 Journalism graduate and Managing Editor at Del Val Media, which publishes of regional 35 magazines, including South Jersey Magazine, South Jersey Biz, and Suburban Life.

“I feel very accomplished when I get to tell the stories about people and what they have done—and are doing—really important things in my community,” says Bauwens-Young. “I have gotten to speak with Holocaust survivors, cancer survivors, elected officials and families who have overcome horrible losses to do real, true good, and those are things that stick with me when I look to make personal choices in my own life.”

Bauwens-Young also serves as a supervisor for Rowan University journalism interns at the publication.

Read the full Q&A here.

Trymaine Lee named to “40 Under 40” alumni list

tumblr_obfzlgm1rx1vcy93io1_r1_500Trymaine Lee, a 2003 graduate of Journalism program, was named to Rowan University’s “40 under 40.” In 2005, Lee was part of a Pulitizer Prize winning team at The Times-Picayune newspaper. He has worked at The New York Times, Huffington Post, and is currently a national reporter for MSNBC. He is working on a book about gun violence in America called “Million Dollar Bullets.”

Read the 40 by 40 profile of Lee.

Rowan journalism students gain political reporting experience covering DNC

By Catherine DeMuroimg_5245-copy

This summer, Rowan University journalism students covered four days of protests, press conferences, speeches and media madness at the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia.

For Matt Kass, a journalism major and political science minor, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“For almost my entire life I’ve been interested in politics,” said Kass. “Being involved in any way, shape or form with either major party convention was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

The event was the culmination of a three-week summer course taught by Rowan journalism professors Kathryn Quigley and Mark Berkey-Gerard, who both covered presidential conventions in the past.

In the weeks leading up to the event, students studied past conventions and honed their reporting, writing and multimedia skills.

From July 25-28, the students worked 12 hour days covering the DNC at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and at the Wells Fargo Center. Student reported via social media, shot photo and video footage, filed stories for their website RowanU DNC News, and learned by working side-by-side with professional reporters in the media tent.

“Part of the experience of covering a convention is seeing how reporters do their work,” said Berkey-Gerard. “It gives students a new perspective on what they study in class.”

A half-a-dozen student stories were also published in The Courier Post, a Gannett newspaper in southern New Jersey and part of the USA Today network, which gave the reporting wider exposure.

For Cierra Lewis, 21-year-old journalism major, the highlight was her 15 minutes of fame — or in today’s terms — her 50,000 views on Snapchat.

“It was pretty awesome having my video make it to the DNC Snapchat story,” said Lewis. “Over 50,000 people viewed my snap of protesters as they occupied the media tent after Bernie [Sanders] conceded.”

Lewis also covered several street protests and an impromptu press conference conducted by Danny Glover, Rosario Dawson, Shailene Woodley and Susan Sarandon.

“It was so exciting, and I became more confident in my writing abilities,” said Lewis. “It helped me face my rejection fear because people would turn me down when I asked for an interview, but it just made me better.”