By Erica Gumbert and Nicholas Wynn
On Monday, May 7, McNicholas Milestone senior staff reporter Erica Gumbert and Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Wynn participated in Reds High School Media Day alongside adviser Angie Noble. This year was the tenth year in which McNicholas journalism classes have participated in the event.
Reds High School Media Days, held every spring, are days when “the Reds invite local high school students with an interest in sports journalism to Great American Ball Park for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the media’s role in Major League Baseball,” according to the Reds’ official homepage. For two McNick students, it provides an opportunity to see and begin experiencing what it can be like as a real-world sports journalist.
The day began just after 4:30 p.m. and consisted of a viewing of batting practice, an interview with Vice President of Media Relations Rob Butcher, and a tour of facilities with Business Operations Assistant Emily Mahle, which included the press conference room, press box, and scoreboard room. Gumbert, Wynn, and Noble were also gifted complimentary tickets to the game against the New York Mets afterwards.
Butcher is in his 22nd year as the Vice President of Media Relations for the Cincinnati Reds. During the visit, he told his McNick visitors about how he came to work with the Reds, the role of beat writers in Major League Baseball, and the effects of social media in sports. “Social media has changed everything…. People can say what they want when they want now,” he said. “It’s made everyone a member of the media…. Everyone has an opinion now.”
He added that social media has primarily altered the ways in which players can relate to and view their fans. He said that this interaction can be negative if individuals are frustrated, and it can cause some “unnecessary friction.” Butcher added that players may need reminders that behavior online is completely public and has an effect on their image. He said it can be hard to tell people that “what you do right now today never disappears…. It’s out there. It’s not an invasion of privacy because it’s out there.”
Butcher also mentioned how the internet in general has changed the media coverage for athletics. The availability of the internet, he said, has actually led to less news coverage presence, but more coverage being consumed. “More coverage, covered by fewer people,” he explained. “We supply as much information we can [for the internet], but by doing so, we give away some of our coverage,” he added.
Both Gumbert and Wynn said they enjoyed the unique experience and learned more about journalism as a result. “I really enjoyed having the real-world journalistic experience that the day provided, and it let us have a sort of hands-on experience in the media world outside of McNick,” Wynn said.
“Interviewing Butcher was a really humbling experience and it was neat to hear his adventures and advice for both us and for sports journalists…. It meant a lot that he was willing to take time out of his hectic schedule for us as well,” Gumbert said.
“I also really enjoyed seeing a different type of journalism than what I’m used to,” Wynn added. “The media relations that we saw during the day was very different from the news journalism that we write here at McNick, and seeing and realizing the difference in types of journalism I think helped me grow in my understanding of writing.”