Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 1
CODY G. NORMAN George Mason University, New Century College Portfolio
/CodyGNorman @Cody_Gaines firstname.lastname@example.org
Freshman Aug. 2009 May 2010
Sophomore Aug. 2010 May 2011
Aug. 2011 May 2012
Aug. 2012 Dec. 2012
Next Stop: Cleveland, Ohio Forever in the Debt of George Mason University
No part of me even wanted to visit Mason. Back before I applied to Mason in 2009, I had my heart set on playing baseball at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va. My parents begged me to give Mason a try and test the waters, just to make sure I was 100 percent certain. After being dragged to Fairfax for the first time, I spent two hours on campus and almost immediately had a change of heart. is is where I wanted to be. Baseball or not, I wanted to get my education at Mason. As much as I tried to convince myself I was ready to leave home, I was never really sure I would make it. I am a writer, not a talker. I do not do well with
making new friends and talking to new people. But, almost immediately, Mason challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone to attempt greatness. Since arriving at Mason in 2009, I have attempted things that no one before me had ever attempted. I failed as often as I succeeded but, perhaps more importantly, I challenged myself to accomplish things I never imagined were possible. As I prepare to graduate in December of this year, I look back at my time at Fairfax and hope that I have made a positive impact on this university, just as it has made a positive impact on me. STORY BY CODY NORMAN
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 2
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
215 Summer Breeze Lane • Fredericksburg, VA 22406 • (540)538-7475 • email@example.com
CODY G. NORMAN PROFILE Dependable, hard-working, goal-oriented and conscientious are key character traits I portray consistently in the classroom, during employment, and in personal activities. Seeking a challenging internship for the Summer of 2012 that will better prepare me for employment upon graduation in Dec. 2012. EDUCATION George Mason University Fairfax, VA Candidate for a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Spring 2013 Major: Integrative Studies w/ a focus in Sports Journalism and Sports Writing Recognized as a member of the Dean’s List following the Fall ’09 and Spring ’10 semesters RELATED WORK EXPERIENCE October 2011-December 2012– Editor-in-Chief, Courtside Seats Published the first ever issue of Courtside Seats, a magazine publication dedicated solely to the men’s and women’s basketball teams at George Mason University on Nov. 30, 2011. Designed and maintain the online portion, updating the site after every basketball game with a story, pictures and video from postgame press conferences. August 2012 – Editor-in-Chief, Broadside (George Mason University Campus Newspaper) Managed staﬀ of seven editors to produce a 20-page newspaper on a weekly basis for campus circulation. Redesigned newspaper from broadsheet to tabloid style, much to the approval of the administration. Edited stories in every section and met with editors and/or writers to help improve writing mechanics for the newspaper. January 2012-May 2012 – Managing Editor, Broadside (George Mason University Campus Newspaper) Managed staﬀ of seven editors to produce a 12+ page newspaper on a weekly basis for campus circulation. Edited stories in every section and met with editors and/or writers to help improve writing mechanics for the newspaper. Credentialed member of the media for all home and away games for Mason basketball. March 2011-Present – Radio co-host, e SpotCast Host a sports talk radio show with several colleagues on the campus radio station three days per week for two hours per day. Broadcasted a men’s basketball pregame show from courtside for home and away games, including CAA Tournament games in Richmond. April 2010 – Published author of Finding Love in Agony Co-wrote a collection of poetry published by Publish America with Daniel Hollowell in April 2010. INTERNSHIPS September 2011-December 2011 – Network desk intern at USA Today Worked on the night desk, editing stories and posting them to the website. Wrote captions and worked on photo galleries to be posted to the website. June 2010 – Media outreach intern for the Old Spice Chris Cooley Football Camp Interacted with Redskins Tightend Chris Cooley and Pro Camps Worldwide to help produce a quality sports camp for young kids. January 2011-May 2011 – Assistant Produce for Mike Wise Show on WJFK 106.7 e Fan on CBS Radio Participated in pre-show meetings and oﬀered topic suggestions and opinions. Interacted with listeners who called in to oﬀer suggestions and/or ask questions. Transcribed interviews for Mike Wise to use in his columns for e Washington Post.
Organized based on the competencies set forth by New Century College, this portfolio will use sports writing and reporting as the controlling metepahor. Because the center of my life is communication, my answer to the Central Question can be found under the Communication tab above. As someone with extensive experience in sports writing and reporting on many levels, I will address the following NCC competencies: -Communication -Critical inking -Group Collaboration -Aesthetic Awareness Within this portfolio, you will find a variety of evidence pulled from my academic archive that demonstrates my personal and academic growth since I enrolled in George Mason University in the Fal of 2009. Under the tab laebeled Attestations, you will find testaments from a variety of diﬀerent professionals who have graciously oﬀered to attest to my ability as a journalist and a person in all facets of academia. is portfolio demonstrates my creativity, providing a creative home for my creative work in sports journalism.
roughout the portfolio, it is evident what means most to me: family & friends, my pride in America, my pride in Mason Nation and the experience I have obtained since enrolling in 2009.
My goal is and will always remain to change the world...
Years that it has taken Cody Norman to graduate from Mason
One word at a time
After coming in to Mason with a full semester-worth of credits, Norman was able to complete his undergraduate degree in 3.5 years. He began working toward his graduate degree during the final semester, Fall 2012, of his undergraduate education.
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 3
Family & Friends
Cody G. Norman
April 2, 2012
UNIV 101: Freshman Orientation
Adjusting to life as a student at George Mason University
Perhaps the most frightening prospect about leaving home and coming to Mason as a student in Aug. 2009 was the uncertainty -- not about what lies ahead, but about who lies ahead. Because I am very introverted and shy, I was concerned with my ability, or lack thereof, to venture out of my comfort zone to make new friends. Project Peak and UNIV 100 helped me to break out of my shell, meet new people and accomplish things I never thought were possible. August 2009
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 4
April 2, 2012
NCLC 491: Personal Convictions Essay
Cody G. Norman
Lucky Charms Letter
To Whom It May Concern:
This I Believe... I believe in my father. I also believe in honor and respect. And I believe in getting back in the box, no matter how many times I strike out. I believe in working hard, getting dirty and doing whatever it takes to win in the game of life. But those are all things he taught me. I’m told sometimes that I’m just like my father, sometimes in an accusatory tone. But I always take it as a compliment, moving on while accepting that line as an honorable tribute. After all, my father is the best guy I know.
at would not have been my answer several years ago. ere is always that stage in a young man’s life, the stage where father and son just cannot get on the same page. I was grounded on a number of occasions for getting a C on my report card. Why couldn’t I be average? I cannot be expected to boast exemplary grades in all courses. at was never the point. It was not about As or Bs. It wasn’t about being average. It was about accepting average. It was about refusing to admit fault and placing the blame on everyone but myself.
Still, no matter how stubborn I grew, he never let me coast by on mediocrity, always challenging me to be the best I could be – challenging me to be an All-Star in whatever it was that I wanted to be. And no matter how far apart we were in our beliefs, he never left my side, standing right there beside me as we – my father and I – knocked the next pitch out of the park. No matter how many times the world forced me out, sending me back to the bench with little left in the tank, it was my father – my coach – who was there to dust me oﬀ and send me back out between the chalk.
For years I watched, I listened, as he carved his name into the Hall of Fame. And in doing so, he has served as my inspiration. My mentor. My coach. My friend. My father. Like I said, he is the best guy I know.
Tune in to The SpotCast every Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on WGMURadio.com Cody Norman, Daniel Zimmet, Mark Mansdoerfer & Stephen Kline
Click on the picture to hear the interview with President and Mrs. Merten on April 27
Family & Friends
I have been an avid consumer of General Mills Inc. cereals for the last thirteen years and have been quite delighted with the measures that have been taken in order to promote a healthier lifestyle for consumers. e whole grains, vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients delivered by General Mills products speaks volumes about the General Mills company and I applaud you for the manifest eﬀort in these aspects. However, over the last several weeks I have been completely and utterly dissatisfied with the facade of several key components in my most beloved cereal, Lucky Charms. Recently, I have been experiencing an undeniable craving for the magically delicious taste provided by Sir Charms and the Lucky Charms cereal. My desire for the aforementioned cereal stemmed from the observance of a rather interesting commercial which contained a catchy tune listing all of the marshmallows inhabiting every box of Lucky Charms. Being in college, I rushed right to the dining hall to quench my yearning for the cereal and began to set aside a heart, star, horseshoe, clover and blue moon, a pot of gold and a rainbow and a swirly red balloon.
tressed and vowed to continue my search until each shape was discovered. I am currently on bowl number twenty-six and have yet to obtain the pot of gold and/or a purple horseshoe. However, I have ingested a marshmallowshaped hourglass. As you might imagine, it has been very bothersome to me that I cannot seem to find the pot of gold or a purple horseshoe; therefore, I have decided to take my issues directly to the producer and voice my concerns. As I conclude this letter, I would like to make my issues extremely clear and let General Mills Inc. know that I am sincerely saddened by their misleading advertisements. If the company is no longer going to include the pot of gold in their cereal, it is pertinent that the catchy tune be reassembled. Below is a suggested restructuring of the song. I would greatly appreciate it if you would seriously consider my proposition and revise your tune as you see fit. Hearts, stars and hourglasses Clovers and blue moons. Rainbows with no pot of gold And a swirly red balloon ank you for your time and thoughtful consideration. Sincerely,
As I scavenged through my bowl for each of the marshmallow shapes, I became increasingly dis-
Cody Norman, A Concerned Citizen
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 5
Family & Friends
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
WGMU Radio: The SpotCast
Shortly after shuffling the co-hosts of WGMUâ€™s only sports talk radio show, the Morning Breakdown rebranded and became The SpotCast. Joining Cody Norman and Daniel Zimmet on the show, roommates Mark Mansdoerfer and Stephen Kline grabbed a seat on the who which, at the time, appeared Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Now, the show has made one final adjustment so the guys are featured Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The six hours per week on WGMU makes The SpotCast the most frequent show on WGMU Radio.
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 6
Father-Daughter Bond Unbroken by Deployment 6
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
Military Lifestyle Helps Strengthen the Haber Family
Colonel Matthew Haber sat at the foot of his daughter’s bed, repeating the words, “I love you” as tears rolled down his cheeks. Anna Haber was just 11 years old when her father broke the news: He was being deployed to Stuttgart, Germany and would be away for four months. She lay in bed that night, watching her father cry for just the second time in her life, but she was still too young to really understand. “At that age, it doesn’t set in until the next day when your dad isn’t there,” said Anna, now a junior marketing major at Mason. “At that point, you can’t just call and tell him to come home.” Col. Haber spent four months in Germany, leaving his wife to care for both Anna and her younger brother, Michael. Both children were becoming increasingly involved in sports and choir but Jane Haber, Anna’s mother, did what she had to do to keep everything as normal as possible. “It helps having good kids,” Mrs. Haber said. “You have no choice. You just do what you have to do. But the kids made it easy.” Still, though, his time in Germany would pale in comparison to what was coming. Col. Haber watched from a classroom in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as news outlets from across the nation showed clips of American Airlines Flight 11 slamming into the center of the north tower of the World Trade Center. Shortly thereafter, he watched an obscenely familiar shape tear through the south tower.
“e moment I saw that, I knew it changed everything,” Col. Haber said. “It changed everything in my life. It changed the way my kids grew up and the way they lived their life. at moment changed everything.” Shortly after Sept. 11, Col. Haber was deployed for a sixmonth tour to Iraq, again leaving his wife to take care of his two children. “e military is a dangerous profession,” Col. Haber said. “When you sign up, you know you could go to war and be away from your family. But it’s not real until it happens.” e time away from his family was a struggle. It was something, he says, he never imagined he would have done in the moments prior to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Still, in order to avoid another move prior to Anna’s senior year in high school, Col. Haber volunteered for a second deployment to Iraq. “I felt really guilty,” Anna said. “Being a military kid, I knew I could easily handle moving for my senior year. You just do what you have to do and don’t think twice about it. But he decided he was leaving –and he was leaving because of me — and I felt really guilty about it.” Col. Haber continued: “e one thing that I feared was that, God forbid, something happened to me. Not because of what would happen to me, but because Anna would live the rest of her life and blame herself.” Col. Haber deployed for Iraq on Feb. 1, 2009, during the spring of Anna’s junior year in high school. As gratitude to her father, Anna tried a variety of new
things during her senior year.
About six months in to his
Anna captained the varsity cheerleading squad and was voted homecoming queen, both things her father said he never dreamed of happening when he left, and later joined Michael in singing the National Anthem at a basketball game. “Without actually saying, ‘ank you,’ it was my way of showing Dad I appreciated the fact that he volunteered so I could stay in Vegas,” Anna said. “It was all just a big thank you.” Col. Haber stayed connected with his family with frequent Skype calls, oftentimes calling his wife at soccer games or while the family was in the midst of dancing to Michael Jackson, sliding along the wood floors in their house. “When he can see us joking around and laughing, it makes him feel good too,” Anna said.
second tour, Col. Haber returned home for a two-week rest and relaxation period. e family spent much of their traveling throughout California, taking college tours throughout the state so that Col. Haber had some input in his daughter’s college decision. e rest and relaxation period end all too soon and the family, again, had to say goodbye to Col. Haber as he was deployed to finish the last eight months of a 14-month tour. While saying farewell at the airport, Anna hugged her father tightly, not allowing him to leave her arms. “at is when you realize it’s impacting your kids,” Col. Haber said. “It’s impacting your wife, too. It’s hard.” After completing the final eight months of his tour, Col. Haber returned home to his family. “Coming home is the best
Proud To Be An American
feeling in the world,” Col.
tired from the U.S. Air Force
At that age, it doesn’t set in until the next day when your dad isn’t there. At that point, you can’t just call and tell him to come home.
Haber said. “It feels good to be in a country where people appreciate you. It’s just overwhelming and you can’t wait to get home.” He received his new orders for the Pentagon in Washington D.C. e Habers moved into their home in Chantilly, their sixteenth home in Col. Haber’s 25 years in service, shortly before Anna arrived for the first day of classes at Mason. And despite having an excuse for family turmoil, the Haber family is closer than ever. Col. Haber recently re-
after 25 years of service and the family is now building a permanent home in Chantilly. “It makes you truly appreciate the family you have when you have them,” Anna said. “We say, ‘I love you,’ every time we get oﬀ the phone or when we see each other. And every single time that we say it, we truly mean it.” STORY BY CODY NORMAN
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 7
Proud To Be An American
Cody G. Norman
Moments before the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, a young Daniel Lasko stood in Harrisonburg, Pa., ready to take the oath of enlistment into the United States Marine Corps, swearing to protect his country. He swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and he swore to bear true faith and allegiance to the red, white and blue. Lasko was born in 1982 in Easton, Pa., and grew up an athlete, playing baseball at the high school level. He was well-equipped for the Marines at age 19 and made the decision to enlist, seeing it as an opportunity to serve his country. Before beginning his enlistment, Lasko was sent home to be with his family until he could be transported south to Parris Island in Port Royal, S.C. After viewing the violent attacks, some individuals may have begun to rethink their decision to volunteer for military duty.
But not Daniel Lasko. He boarded a bus to Port Royal and began the 13-week camp on Sept. 17, just six days after the attacks. He graduated from boot camp in January of 2002 and was stationed in Camp Lejeune, N.C. “Initially, my plan was to complete the standard four years of active duty and move on,” Lasko said in a recent interview with the website Our Military Heroes. “As I got further into my duty, I started to enjoy it. I was climbing up the ladder and gaining rank quickly in three years. Making it a career was now an option for me as I was gaining experiences, traveling and making new friends along the way.” In 2004, Lasko was deployed with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit to Afghanistan. After just one month in Afghanistan, Lasko was operating a machine gun aboard a seven-ton armored vehicle when it rolled over two improvised explosive devices, severely injuring his left foot. “To me, it felt like a slow motion movie,” Lasko said.
“Two bright flashes of light and then total darkness.” Lasko spent over a year between the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., enduring more than 15 surgeries on the leg before having it amputated below the knee. In January 2009, he graduated from Northampton Community College where he majored in criminal justice. He spent time working for Rep. Allyson Schwartz. D. Pa., as a caseworker specializing in veterans aﬀairs while competing in marathons and triathlons across the globe. On Friday, Sept. 2, Lasko joined his teammates on the Wounded Warrior Amputee softball team on George Mason University campus to compete against the Diamond Dream Foundation. He has been a member of the team for two months, traveling the nation once a month to play softball. “e first time I took the field with these nine guys, I got goose bumps,” he said. “I
To me, it felt like a slow motion movie. Two bright flashes of light and then total darkness.
Corporal Daniel Lasko
knew we were all the same. We are all veterans. We are all disabled. We all have amputations. It’s a perfect fit for me.” ough Lasko and his teammates are no longer able to defend their county on the battle field, they have made it their mission to make the American public aware of the sacrifices and resilience of our military, proving they will rise above any challenge. ey received a warm welcome in Fairfax from fans, with respect and admiration in the forefront during Saturday’s game. As the ten year anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 passes, so does the anniversary of the day that Corporal Daniel Lasko, one of the many brave men who have given everything to protect our country, gave his life to the United States Marine Corps. STORY BY CODY NORMAN
April 2, 2012
Proud to Be an American A robed figure of Libertas, Roman goddess of freedom, stands tall in New York Harbor. Dedicated in 1886 by the people of France, Libertas bears a torch upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence: July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet as this statue, the Statue of Liberty, serves as a representation of the American culture and welcomes immigrants arriving from abroad. But what does it mean to be an American? As you stand atop the hill, watching the guard pace back and forth with such precision as he guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the skyline of Washington D.C. faintly peers through the trees. More than 400,000 headstones mark our nation’s fallen heroes, lying in the forefront of the nation’s capital. Pausing for a moment to pay my respects to my greatgrandfather, Captain James E. Herbert, I was overcome by the sacrifice made by each of these young men and women. Each of the headstones, markers that stretched across the 624-acre mass of rolling hills, signified the true cost of our nation’s greatest quality. Freedom is not free. Freedom comes at the significant cost of the more than 400,000 people who have been laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. It comes at the price of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, friends, husbands and wives. It comes at the price of these brave American people. With the 11-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on
Sept. 11 rapidly approaching, I made my way to the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense and stood aﬃxed at the charred black stone that is stacked among the foundation of the Pentagon. Nearly 11 years earlier, American Airlines Flight 77 tore through the first floor of the Pentagon and stole the lives of people, each of whom are marked by a cantilevered bench atop a light pool of flowing water. Each unit provides a permanent tribute to each victim who lost their life in the Pentagon, both on the airplane and in the building, on that tragic day. With the image of American flags draped across buildings in the distance, I was surmounted by the thoughts and memories of those who perished. I was overcome by images of each plane slamming into the World Trade Center, roaring through the Pentagon and falling short into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Freedom is not free. Freedom comes at a significant cost and, as I sat gazing upon the Pentagon Memorial and the tombstones in Arlington Cemetery, I realized what it means to be an American. e name of American, which belongs to us all in our national capacity, must always acclaim the just pride of patriotism. Patriotism brings energy, faith and devotion that will light our country and all who serve it. Being an American allows us to live free and always remember. Never forget. STORY BY CODY NORMAN
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 8
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
Proud To Be An American
Sept. 11 Commemorative Event
When Broadside discovered the university was not hosting an event to commemorate the tragedies of Sept. 11, the newspaper staff took it upon themselves to gather students for the occasion.
2,977 illumanarias -- one for each victim of the attacks -and 60 floating lanterns -- one for each country who lost a citizen -- were used to honor those affected by the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001. Perhaps the most touching portion of the event, students began arriving more than an hour before the event began to assist in lighting each of the 2,977 illumanarias.
Sept. 11, 2012
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 9
Professors Promote Diplomacy Through Sport Proud To Be An American
Cody G. Norman
April 2, 2012
Craig Esherick, Bob Baker and Pam Baker Use Sport to Change Foreign View on American Culture e power and the impact of sport is undeniable. Serving many functions in our lives, sport works to develop communication skills and promote teamwork, all the while bringing communities together as one. Perhaps lesser known, sport can also promote a world of peace and cross-cultural understanding that is stronger than any barrier languages and cultures may build. “You don’t need to speak the same language because you are out there just playing and competing in sports,” said Craig Esherick, Associate Director of the Center for Sport Management. In many ways, the language of sport is the only universal language in the world. rough a grant awarded by SportsUnited, a division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Aﬀairs, Mason professors Esherick, Dr. Bob Baker and Dr. Pam Baker have been working in a diplomatic eﬀort to promote peace and shape the world view on America and its citizens. “More than anything, we overcome linguistic challenges by having strong inter-
ests in the American culture,” said Marlon Moreno, a Mexican coach who visited the United States as part of the program in mid-August. Esherick and Bob Baker began working with the State Department on a new sport initiative in the fall of 2009, beginning a program with India that would send the duo to India on two separate occasions and allowing them to host an instructional and cultural program on campus. “It’s a relatively new area of interest to use sport for these cultural exchange, community development and economic development,” said Bob Baker, who directs the Center for Sport Management. “All of this because sport is such a significant social institution.” ey continued their work for the duration of the first grant before earning a cooperative agreement worth about $2.2 million to date that has allowed them to host 28 diﬀerent groups of people from around the world. “Part of the proposal required us to address the institution’s commitment to diversity,” Bob Baker said. “at’s really easy to do at Mason.”
After solidifying the cooperative agreement, Esherick and Bob Baker brought Pam Baker aboard – as a way to introduce the foreign sports diplomats to inclusive sport, which focuses on ways to include people with disabilities in sport. e three professors also brought a program host, Socrates Manuel, and a program facilitator, B.J. D’Urso, to the team to make delivery of the program possible. Despite not getting the opportunity to choose their visitors, the team handles all the logistics of the trip and facilitates a program that allows each group the opportunity to experience elements of American culture and sport such as high school athletic programs, collegiate athletic programs, the professional industry, sport-specific training, team building, tours Washington, DC or other locations, and a home hospitality dinner. “We try to expose them to the industry in this country,” Bob Baker said. “We give them an idea of how the industry was created in this country so they can go back and mimic that in their own country.”
As diplomats for the United States, Esherick, Bob Baker and Pam Baker work to ensure that each of their groups has a positive experience in the states. ey provide pre- and post-program surveys to each of the participants to gage the perception of American people and American culture, and have found a unique niche designed to impact the world through sport. “e purpose of this program is to have these people go back and spread a positive word about America and American people,” Bob Baker said. “In terms of the evaluation, both qualitative and
Join Project Peak
quantitative, there is a significant diﬀerence in their impressions of the U.S.” While putting together a majority of these programs, Esherick and the Bakers have exposed the university to a wide variety of individuals. ey have solicited help from more than 20 faculty members and coaches within the university and have had help from many more student athletes, Sport Management students and students of other majors throughout Mason. Staﬀ members from numerous oﬃces across campus have also made this project possible to deliver. “We have always found
Project Peak is a two-phase, one-credit course, offered only in your first semester at Mason. The first phase consists of a five-day wilderness adventure trip held the week before the fall semester begins and the second phase is the class portion, which meets once per week for the duration of the fall semester.
people who have said, ‘We will find a way to make it work,’” Bob Baker said. “at has been the [Modus operandi] at Mason. We can find people who are willing to find a way to make it work and will not just say, ‘No.’” Realizing the undeniable success of this program, the Department of State continues to invest money in using sport as a tool for diplomacy. “is is an area of global interest and it is huge,” Bob Baker said. “And Mason’s Center for Sport Management is right in front of it.” STORY BY CODY NORMAN
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 10
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
After developing the “Just Hewitt” meme during a New Century College course, Cody Norman and Stephen Kline joined forces to create Mason’s first and only Sports Illustrated-type basketball magazine. The magazine, along with the website and mobile application, have grown rapidly throughout the athletic department due to the nature and quality of stories published. Courtside Seats prides itself on providing readers with content they cannot find elsewhere -- content that is not timely and will never be outdated. Nov. 2011
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 11
Cody G. Norman
April 2, 2012
In nearly four years at Mason, Cody Norman has brought about significant changes to the campus newspaper, Broadside
Since being elected Editor-in-Chief by his peers in April 2012, Norman has completely transformed Broadside. In previous years, Broadside was formatted as a traditional newspaper (left) and it has been redesigned as a tabloid-size newspaper (right) to provide a more interactive, visually appealing layout for students. Social media “likes” and “follows” have nearly quadrupled as the paper puts a stronger emphasis on interacting with other students via social media. April 2012
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 12
April 2, 2012
One Lucky Chair 12
Cody G. Norman
Heading into their final season of Mason basketball, Alan and Sally Merten have one last goal: to add another chair to their collection In the far corner of Mason Hall oﬃce D103, there sits a modest-looking bar stool. It’s an old chair with nicks up and down the legs and a flattened cushion on the seat. Certainly not an object with pristine visual appeal, but an object with as much history as its body alludes. “I bring all the new recruits into my oﬃce to show them this chair,” said President Alan Merten. “I tell them that I need a few more like it.” Back on March 26, 2006, right in the midst of the Patriots legendary run into the Final Four, Merten sat in that chair as he watched his team knock oﬀ the No. 1 seeded Connecticut Huskies in their Elite Eight match-up in D.C. He was seated in the late Abe Pollin’s box at the MCI Center, taking in the game from what would become his lucky chair. at same lucky chair that now sits in his oﬃce. “Before I left the box and headed down to the floor, I told Mr. Pollin, ‘at’s my lucky chair,’” Merten said. “And it showed up in my office sometime the next day.” When Merten and his wife Sally took over as president and first lady of George Mason University in July of 1996, the university schooled just 24,000 students, most of whom commuted from within the Northern Virginia area. It has since become the fastest-growing university in Virginia, eclipsing the 30,000student mark. One of his first duties as president was to replace the men’s basketball coach, Paul Westhead. While he was not
directly involved with the search process, Merten made it clear to the athletic department that any potential hire had to interview with him first. “I believe, and Sally believes, that there is a strong relationship between the university and athletics,” Merten said. Shortly after the search began, Jim Larranaga, coach of Bowling Green State University, met with Merten and was oﬀered the coaching job at Mason. “Jim told us that he was going to build a program and that he wasn’t here for the short term,” Mrs. Merten said. “He said he would take us to the NCAA Tournament in three seasons and we made it in two. So he made good on his promise, just as he makes good on all of his promises.” e new coach and president, along with their wives, developed an almost immediate friendship. “My wife and I were very impressed with President Merten’s leadership ability,” said Larranaga, the Patriots’ head coach for the last 14 seasons. “He would interact with deans of the colleges and then come out and be a huge fan of the basketball team.” “Sally was always there with him. It was a team effort.” As their friendship oﬀ the court progressed, Larranaga’s success on the court was incredible. With one week left to play in his second season as head coach, Larranaga and the Patriots clinched at least a share of their first CAA title in the
history of the university. Without hesitation, Merten ordered an airplane and had it fly around the university with a banner that read, “George Mason University: CAA Champions.” “Most people would have waited to see if we won it outright,” Larranaga recalled. “But his thinking was that, whether we won or tied, we were going to win our first regular season conference championship and we should be proud.” e Mertens have attended nearly every home basketball game throughout their tenure, sitting in their courtside seats at half court. “Long before everybody else jumped on the bandwagon, he was promoting how good we were,” Larranaga said. “He talked to the national media about how proud he was, not just of the basketball success, but of the success academically.” en, the unthinkable occurred in March of 2006. e Patriots rode a hot streak throughout the NCAA tournament, reaching the school’s first and only Final Four. ey were in the midst of an incredible run and the Mertens were there the entire
way, flying on the plane with the team to almost every game. “Most presidents don’t fly on the planes because they don’t have that kind of relationship with the coach or the players,” Larranaga said. “But President Merten would come out to our practices. He cared that much about our program.” rough all of the noise surrounding the men’s basketball program, Merten and his staﬀ were primed to take advantage of the spotlight and morph the university into one of the biggest, fastestgrowing universities in the state of Virginia. “People wanted to write about us and they’d run out of things to say about our basketball team,” Merten said. “Every morning we would meet and discuss how we were going to take advantage of all the media attention, how we were going to get our academic programs out there. And, somehow, we did. We were in newspapers and on televisions all over the world.” With all of the exposure came a rapid inflation in admissions requests. ere were 350 percent more inquires, 54 percent of which came from out-of-state students. More
and more people flooded the Internet, applying for the chance to enroll in Mason. “March of 2006 was the best [public relations] month that George Mason, the man, ever had,” Merten said. “He had more attention in one month than he did in 250 years.” Since then, the university has continued its hasty growth, consistently appearing in the U.S. News and World Report’s list of Up-andComing Schools in America. e campus has now branched out to Arlington and Prince William as Merten and the administration have poured more than $450 million into construction. Over the last five years on the court, Mason has compiled a 107-57 record. ey’ve helped legitimize the CAA, earning a trip to three postseason tournaments. e 2010-11 Patriots notched the longest win streak in school history, winning the regular season conference title on their way to a third round appearance in the NCAA tournament. Yet, with everything that Merten has accomplished while employed as president of Mason, he remains humbled by the pace at which this
university has grown. Each game, with four minutes left to play in either half, he rises to a thunderous ovation from the student sections. He points his air-powered gun into the stands and sends a t-shirt into the hands of one lucky fan. “It reminds me of what I’m here for. And that’s the students,” Merten said. “is is a very special place and a very special university. It has meant a lot to Sally and me to be able to play a role in making this a better university. To see what we’ve created, particularly what we’ve created in respect to the enthusiasm from the student body, it’s just been incredible.” As the time nears that the Mertens’ tenure as president and first lady will end, so too does their time sitting courtside at Mason basketball games. is is their last basketball season, their last CAA tournament, and their last NCAA tournament. But it is also their last chance to find another seat to place in the far corner of Mason Hall oﬃce D103. STORY BY CODY NORMAN
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 13
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
Playing in the Name of Mason
Behind Doc Nix and the Green Machine, the Patriot Center has become a true homecourt advantage College basketball fans across the nation packed into the Quicken Loans Arena last March. Expecting to see great basketball, those fans were greeted with a welcome surprise. A strange man in a funny suit danced along the stands, directing his band in such a unique fashion that people wide and far lined up for photographs with a regular in the post-tournament “One Shining Moment.” Despite the Patriots’ nailbiting victory over Villanova in the second round, or even despite the gut-wrenching defeat at the hands of Ohio State in the subsequent round, George Mason University won the 2011 NCAA Tournament. At least in the mind of Doc Nix. “In the realm of Ws and Ls and stats on the box score, we didn’t win,” Doc Nix said. “But in terms of showing up and representing ourselves and what we’re about, I think we did win.” Known for his Masonthemed zoot suits, Dr. Michael Nickens, more commonly known as Doc Nix, has attracted a nation- wide audi-
ence and has, in many ways, be- come the face of Mason basketball. “Taking it up a notch and wearing something that stands out just gives everyone that cue and gives me permission to get in front of people and encourage them to clap and sing along,” Doc Nix said. “It’s kind of a code for, ‘Pay attention to this. is is part of the performance.’” While continuing his work as an assistant professor in the School of Music, his alter ego has charmed the NCAA landscape for six years, bringing doubt to which persona is the most real. “It’s like asking, ‘Is Bruce Wayne the real guy or is Batman the real guy? Is Clark Kent the real guy or is Superman the real guy? Is Dr. Michael Nickens the real guy or is Doc Nix the real guy?’ It’s hard to say what’s what,” Doc Nix said. As a drum major at West Potomac High School, Doc Nix noticed that, as a member of the marching band, he could control an entire football stadium from one spot on the field. He brought the idea to Fairfax just one year after Mason’s historical run to the
Final Four and continues to breathe life into a crowded arena. Despite the Patriots’ inability to unseat No. 5 Notre Dame in the fi rst round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, Doc Nix made a huge splash in the college basketball landscape as the Green Machine was recognized by a number of sports writers as the most spir- ited pep band in the nation. “We were at one game – and we were never really in the game,” Doc Nix said. “We were at one game and lost, but we still made enough of an impact to earn that kind of shout-out. Man, that feels so good.” Last season, Doc Nix and a number of other band directors within the CAA began hosting an event called “Breakfast with the Bands” that is held on the Saturday morn- ing of the CAA Tournament in Richmond. Providing a unique link between music and athletics, the Green Machine won the 2006 NCAA Final Four “Battle of the Bands” and were named the 2008 and 2009 CAA “Best Pep Band” by
CAAZone. com all the while providing one of the best home court advantages in the entire nation. Doc Nix and the Green Machine have been a driving force behind the Patriots’ incredible success inside the Patriot Center. ey played an integral role in the Patriots’ 18-game home winning streak that lasted almost two full years. eir fl awless renditions of “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Killing in the Name” echo throughout the arena, giving Mason what Paul Hewitt called a “solid 5-point advantage.” “In a league where most conference games are decided by 10 points or less, that’s big,” Hewitt said. “is is as good of a home fi eld advantage as I’ve been around. is is as good as it gets.” Wherever the band may travel, they always return with more fans. And, ac- cording to Doc Nix, they return home with more people who recognize George Mason University as the school that has “that strange guy that wears the funny suits directing their band.” STORY BY CODY NORMAN
Visit CourtsideSeats.onmason.com or download the mobile application by scanning the QR code to the right.
Pick up a copy of the new and improved Broadside every Monday.
Visit us at our office located in the lower level of Student Union Building II (The Hub).
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 14
Long Road to Success 14
April 2, 2012
As he walked through the pathway created by cheerleaders and teammates to receive his framed jersey on Senior Night, guard Cam Long had one arm wrapped around his mother, Myrtle, and the other around his brother, Rendell. Just seven years earlier, Long was involved in an incident in Palm Bay, Flor. that forced his mother to send him more than 850 miles north to live with his brother in Woodbridge. Rendell, Long’s eldest brother by about 15 years, was a former football player at Florida State University and took his troubled sibling into his home as a sophomore in high school. “Just [Rendell] being able to help me move up here and not allowing me to be the knucklehead I was in Florida was really a great thing for me,” Long said. “It just showed how much my brother really loved me.” During his sophomore season at Freedom High School, Long’s coach and former Mason basketball player Ahmad Dorsett called coach Jim Larranaga with some recruiting advice. “He told me that he had a sophomore down there that he thought was going to be big time,” Larranaga recalled. “[Long] was 6-foot-4; he was athletic; he could shoot the basketball. And it came during a year that we were going to be graduating all of our guards. Signing a point guard that year was huge for us.” Following several visits to George Mason University, Long signed with the Patriots during the early signing period and became a member of the basketball team in 2007. Just three games into his sophomore season at Mason, Long contemplated applying for transfer. He was unhappy with the way he was being used on the court and thought he would have been better suited as a score-first guard. “Sometimes people think they deserve a lot of things,” Long said. “I thought I was a great player and I didn’t feel like I was getting the respect that I deserved.” He approached the coaching staﬀ with his objections on one of the team’s early road trips. “at is not an uncommon event, for
a player to question his decision. But, when [Long] came in to talk me, he told me that he didn’t think that I trusted him. And I told him, ‘Listen, you’re in the starting lineup and you’re playing more than 30 minutes a game. ere is no bigger sign of how much confidence I have in you than how much I play you.” Long responded: “ere is a big difference between playing 30 minutes of my game and playing 30 minutes of [Larranaga’s] game.” He described the conversation as both confusing and understanding. “I found out that they wanted the same things I wanted,” Long said.”And, after sitting down to talk with them, I felt more free.” e next evening – on Nov. 22, 2007 – in a game against the East Carolina Pirates, Long played a much diﬀerent basketball game and enjoyed the best game of his early collegiate career, going for 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists. After making the decision to remain a Patriot for the remainder of his college career, Long began to endure cramping issues during his sophomore and junior seasons. Mason athletic trainer Debi Corbatto tried everything. ey called people within the NBA to see how they dealt with cramping issues at the professional level and submitted Long to blood tests on a weekly basis, leaving his body feeling very weak a majority of the time. “ere was just so much frustration going on with that,” he said. “It was something that you thought would never go away. It took away my aggressiveness during games. I thought the harder I played, the faster the cramps would come.” Larranaga and Corbatto discovered that one of the underlying issues was a result of poor dieting. ere were not enough carbohydrates and protein in his diet so the cramps were a result of his body not having enough energy. About mid-way through his junior season, Corbatto began treating Long with a very simple medicine: he was asked to begin eating cups of Jell-O before and at halftime of every game. “We never could figure out exactly what was causing it,” Long said. “But we
Cody G. Norman
Washington Wizards Midnight Tipoff
When the Washington Wizards visited the Patriot Center back in Oct. 2010, I was able to get press credentials to cover the event for Broadside. Upon arriving at the event, I spotted my favorite coach of all time, Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans. While many of the other reporters were speaking to Flip Saunders and other Wizards players, I was writing a unique story using Coach Izzo as my focus.
just noticed that I was gradually able to play more. It went from 20 minutes to 25 minutes. And now, all of a sudden, I’m playing 35 minutes with no issues. It’s been a huge sigh of relief.” Over the last four years, Long has put up rather awe-inspiring numbers. He is on pace to finish his career in the top 15 of nearly every oﬀensive statistical category, most recently surpassing the millennium mark in scoring earlier this season. After he finishes his career with the Patriots, Long hopes to get an opportunity to continue his basketball career in the NBA. “e NBA would definitely be a great thing,” Long said. “Like any other basketball player, that has always been my dream.” His back-up plan, however, is very unlike most other basketball players. If basketball does not work out for him in the long run, Long plans to move somewhere warm and take up a career in the real estate business. For now, though, Long remains the humble leader of the Patriots who prepare to challenge for the CAA Conference Tournament championship while both Myrtle and Rendell Long cheer him on from the stands. STORY BY CODY NORMAN
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 15
Former Mason Basketball Player on “The Next” Mason Pride
Cody G. Norman
April 2, 2012
Jordan Baird Competes for a $1.5 Million Recording Contract and a Chance to Open Up for the Jonas brothers A crowd of several thousand of his newest fans roared with excitement as Jordan Baird was called to the stage. It was early August and Baird had just been announced the winning contestant on the Baltimore show of “e Next”. He glowed with excitement as he paced across the stage to thank his mentor, Joe Jonas, and acknowledged the crowd for allowing him to move forward in the competition. e moment was surreal. “I was pumped,” Baird said. “e whole place was going crazy. But then I got backstage and they told me they were not actually disclosing the winner.” Not knowing his standing within the competition, Baird was forced to watch the show on television to find out if he would be advancing. As senior co-pastors of e Life Church in Manassas, Baird’s parents hosted a viewing party at the church where many members of the community gathered, awaiting the results. For a second time on the show, Baird sat with his family and anxiously anticipated the announcement. Finally, after enduring the
hour-long show, Baird heard the news he had been waiting for: he would be moving on to compete in the semifinals at Orpheum eater in Los Angeles. “e place went crazy. It was berserk,” Baird said. “It was really cool to be there and to be able to share that with everybody.” Nearly a month before the winning announcement, Baird was taken by surprise when Jonas arrived in Manassas. While teaching a music class for children at the church, Jonas unexpectedly walked through the door – met by a chorus of screaming teenagers – and revealed that he would be mentoring Baird throughout the duration of the show. “When he walked in, I was pumped,” Baird said. “I really thought we would be the best fit for each other.” Baird and Jonas were a perfect fit for one another because they share a similar life story. Both men grew up singing in the church where their fathers served as pastors. ey are the middle of three brothers and both played high school sports, honing a com-
petitive spirit that has translated into the music industry. “He really brought a lot of his experience,” Baird said. “He is the man when it comes to performing and singing on stage – and singing to the ladies.” Jonas spent nearly 72 hours in Gainesville, Baird’s hometown, and immersed himself into his mentee’s lifestyle. In between song preparation, Baird and Jonas found time to attend church, play table tennis and hit the gym for a game of basketball. “He really helped me with my stage presence and filling up the room,” Baird said. “It’s a diﬀerent world once you get here and his experience really benefits me throughout the show.” Performing on a national stage, however, is nothing new for Baird. Aside from singing the National Anthem in front of 9,800 fans before last year’s homecoming game, Baird made the top-40 in the 2009 season of “American Idol”. In the summer of 2011, he was eliminated from the X-Factor after just one performance. “I have done [American] Idol and I have done X-Factor,
and I got cut from those,” Baird said. “But this is the biggest platform I have ever had. Win or lose, I still have millions of people who have seen me sing. I will still have this huge momentum, this huge following. It’s a great opportunity.” Even despite his previous success, Baird and his father give a lot of credit to the experience and education he has received as a music major at Mason. “Before [Mason], he was not ready for this stage,” Baird’s father said. “Even though the music is very different in style, his performing at [Mason], his teachers, his choir directors had to be in place. ey have played an incredible role, whether they are aware of that or not.” Much unlike any other music competition on television, “e Next” is what Baird describes as a “quick-hitter.” It gives contestants an opportunity to perform on live television at least three times, with the live-show portion of the competition beginning and ending within one week. “You’ve got to bring it and you’ve got to be ready to put it all out there when you get the
chance,” Baird said. “at’s just the nature of the show.” Instead of discovering new, unpolished talent, “e Next” found their niche in finding local heroes with a huge following of regional fans – proven artists on the brink of success. “[e Next] set me up to do well,” Baird said. “Giving me Joe was a huge plus for me because his music targets the same demographic as I would probably target with mine.” With the competition narrowed to just seven contestants, Baird will begin his quest for the grand prize, a $1.5 million recording contract and an opening act in his mentor’s tour, at 9 p.m. on Sept. 27.
“I’m going in to this thinking I’m going to win,” Baird said. “at’s the approach I take; that’s the approach I always take. I’m a competitive person. But winning doesn’t just mean taking the whole thing. Winning can come in a couple diﬀerent forms.” With the show’s non-elimination form, Baird will perform again at 9 p.m. on Oct. 2 before the two-hour finale at 8 p.m. on Oct. 4. “Jordan is a special kid,” Baird’s father said. “I think this is his time, whatever that means. He is doing what he’s supposed to be doing and having a blast doing it. He was made for this moment.” STORY BY CODY NORMAN
Do Not be Satisfied with Getting an Education. Experience Your Education.
The New Century College Integrative Studies Program encourages students to engage in active learning, independent inquiry, and research that responds to the needs and opportunities of a diverse society. Students gain new knowledge through interdisciplinary classwork in a variety of subjects and apply what they’ve learned in real-world extended classroom experiences.
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 16
NCLC 345: Create a Meme
This meme, created in NCLC 345, served as the inspiration for Courtside Seats. It demonstrates my ability to think creatively, as this idea was transformed into a self-sustaining business model within the Office of Student Media at Mason.
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 17
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
2011 NCAA Tournament Coverage
Colleges Capitalizing on NBA Lockout As the NBA lockout cast its shadow over the game of basketball this fall, some colleges saw the lack of professional basketball as an opportunity to pounce on hoops-starved fans. And through various marketing techniques, several schools capitalized on the opportunity to enhance their fan base. “It makes sense for us to attempt to fill that void,” said Wayne Hogan, associate athletic director at Georgia Tech, which competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In order to appeal to a wider audience, the Yellow Jackets have moved 10 of their home games into the Philips Arena, home of the NBA's Hawks in downtown Atlanta. And despite the NBA owners and players reaching a tentative labor agreement, Georgia Tech will keep their full slate of games at Phillips Arena in hopes of boosting a fan base that had dwindled in recent years. “We feel the temporary move downtown combined with the NBA lockout gives us an opportunity to cultivate an expanded fan base,” Hogan said. “We hope we might win a few [NBA fans] over and they might find our product equally appealing.” Georgia Tech is certainly not the only school to try to take advantage of the lockout.
And it's not just major-conference teams looking to cash in. In Boston, where professional teams like the NFL's New England Patriots, the NBA's Celtics, the MLB's Red Sox and the NHL's Bruins rule the landscape, college teams struggle to find their place among the professional behemoths. Northeastern, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, is trying its best to squeeze its way into the mix. “We’re in a battle year in and year out with some great sports team,” said Matthew McDonald, assistant director of athletics and communication at Northeastern. “is may be our opportunity to generate excitement for college basketball.” So far, it seems to be working. “Northeastern is providing a great product at a great price,” said Terry Connors, a longtime Celtics’ season ticket holder who recently purchased season tickets to see the Huskies. Connors kept his season tickets with the Celtics, but was one of the first Bostonnatives to take advantage of the unique oﬀer from Northeastern. His brother, Mike Connors, is an assistant coach for the Drexel Dragons, a CAA opponent. And Huskies’ coach Bill Coen is a graduate of the same school, Hamilton
College, as Terry Connors. “It all fits well for me,” Terry Connors said. “It gives me a chance to go out and see some great college basketball. e CAA has been on the rise since 2006, so this is a great opportunity to get out there and see those guys compete.” American University, another mid-major program from Washington that is looking to stand out in a city that has top-flight college programs such as Georgetown and Maryland, as well as the NBA's Washington Wizards, has reaped some benefit from the NBA's extended time oﬀ. e school was awarded a six-game package to have its games broadcast on Comcast Sports Network, which is usually the home to game coverage of the Wizards. rough the Eagles’ preexisting relationship with the network, they will get Washington Wizards’ broadcasters Steven Buckhantz and Phil Chenier, along with Washington Post columnist John Feinstein, to serve as their play-by-play announcers. Two of those games have already been aired, but they still have two more scheduled in December, one in January and another in February, despite the fact that the Wizards will be back in action later this month. “It makes our fans, our basketball coach, and our
university very excited,” said Keith Gill, athletic director at American. “Being able to get top flight broadcasters reflects our commitment to being the best.” Florida State, also a member of the ACC, has taken the opportunity to collect sponsorship money for the entire athletic program. Just as their football program was able to take advantage of the NFL lockout, the basketball team has been able to increase advertising revenue for the program. “It has actually been a two-part process for us,” said Jason Dennard, director of marketing at Florida State. Even as the NBA season returns on Christmas Day, collegiate programs are hoping to continue their recent success, attracting fans and monetary support to a more stable college basketball system. “People like to invest their money where it makes them feel good,” Dennard said. “And, right now, they feel good investing in college athletics instead of the NFL or NBA after their lockouts.” STORY BY CODY NORMAN
When the Mason Patriots made the NCAA Tournament in 2011, I was given the opportunity to join the team as a member of the media in their travels to Cleveland, Ohio. Despite a second round loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, the tournament provided me with an outstanding opportunity to network with professionals such as Bob Ryan (Boston Globe).
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 18
NCLC 390: USA Today Internship Reflection 18
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
When I first walked in to the USA Today building in McLean, Va., I was amazed by the beauty of the building and, admittedly, found it a bit comical that there were so many security check-points to keep me from entering the building. e entire building was quiet and filled with men and women dressed in nice business attire, bringing to life what I have always pictured as a true business setting. I walked into the sports oﬃce, which was filled with memorabilia and posters of a variety of teams around the nation, and was awestruck by the first professional newsroom that I had ever seen. I immediately knew that I wanted to move forward with the internship, having the opportunity to meet a few of my favorite writers who work for USA Today. On my first day of work, I
put on my shirt and tie and headed oﬀ to the professional work setting. However, to my surprise, I arrived to see a room full of employees from the sports network desk who were dressed in sweatpants and sweatshirts. at was the first of many misconceptions about this place. I had always pictured USA Today as a hightech, professional setting with the ability to put out news as quickly as anyone in the nation. I was sadly mistaken. e building was full of antique laptops that were slower than any desktop in the Johnson Center, making it extremely diﬃcult to accomplish some of the most simplistic tasks. After working with Cesar Bristo, who showed me the ins and outs of the web writing program, Newsgate, for about an hour before I was scheduled to be-
gin work. Yet, when the others arrived, each of my three peers wanted to re-teach everything I just learned without consulting each other – or me – to find out what I already knew. Miscommunication, or even a lack of communication, became a common theme throughout the entire experience. Unfortunately, I am not entirely sure that I was able to take a whole lot from this experience. I was not challenged in any way, as I was consistently ask to perform the same tasks over and over again. Most unfortunately, the tasks that I was being asked to do required little to no knowledge of journalism or communication. I was, however, able to obtain a byline on USAToday.com and can now put this internship experience on a resume for
future employers. at is, perhaps, the most value I was able to get out of the internship. e entire experience was full of challenges. First and foremost, the hours were so late at night that it would have been diﬃcult for anyone to balance a 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift with classwork, student media, a radio show and work at the campus bookstore, but I did learn how to better organize my time in an eﬀective manner that would cause the least amount of stress in my life. Early on in the semester, I was stressing myself out so much that I wound up in the hospital with an anxiety attack, so it was a big step for me to learn how to organize my time and prioritize certain things in my life. My morals, as well, were challenged in the workplace when my
coworkers began speaking negatively about the boss and watching pornographic movies in the oﬃce. But I was able to combat these obstacles and take the internship for what it was, and putting the onus on myself to figure out how I was going to make the experience worth the long hours. With some of the things I have learned with USA Today during the internship experience, I can work to become a more well-rounded journalist. First, I will continue to hone my skills as a sports journalist, venturing outside my comfort zone to really challenge myself as a writer and reporter. I will be taking classes in the Spring of 2012, the first semester of my senior year, that will focus on my communication skills, while also enrolling in a Spanish
According to everything that I heard on 106.7 e Fan prior to signing on to do an internship with them this semester, interns were not treated very well and seemed to be harassed a bit on-air. I expected the job with Mike Wise and Holden Kushner to be a very similar situation in which I would serve as the shows “whipping boy” for an entire semester in order to develop a few contacts within the sports media world and, to be honest, I was very nervous. e experience was new to me and I was not 100 percent sure what to expect. However, from the first day I arrived at the station in Fairfax, I was treated respectfully and was able to use the positive work environment to benefit each of the goals I set
forth prior to beginning the internship in February. I was given an opportunity to speak with and get to know Washington Post columnist Mike Wise, who has made a career in the field I hope to enter upon graduation. Being able to pick his brain for little things – from the overuse of the “race card” and constant comparison athletes make between themselves and slaves, to the eﬀectiveness of George Mason’s hiring of coach Paul Hewitt to head the basketball program – it was an extremely valuable experience that helped me to grow as a reporter in the field of sports journalism. Mike is a true professional and is a perfect example of what it means to be a multi-platform journalist. As he has moved be-
yond print journalism to test the waters in radio, online and television, Mike has inspired me to become a more well-rounded journalist. He explained the importance of taking every opportunity to network, using the media room as a means to meet people within the profession. rough Mike, I was able to develop a preliminary network with sports communication professionals, specifically within the radio business. I got significant opportunity to observe the interaction between co-hosts and the producer during preshow meetings to determine what leadership roles, creative mindsets and decision making techniques best fit in radio broadcast. I developed a professional relationship with
co-hosts Mike Wise and Holden Kushner, producer Chris Johnson and other hosts at the station including Cakes (from the Junkies) and LaVar Arrington (former Redskins linebacker and host of LaVar and Dukes). My background already covers an incredible amount of experience within the blogosphere, as I have been able to adapt to the ever changing market of sports journalism to become a successful blogger. I am currently the lead blogger for RightDownEuclid.com within the FanSided network; I am the founder and lone contributor to a recently established George Mason University basketball blog which has seen more than 700 unique visits in its first month of activity. I have been able to
start developing relationships with athletes at the professional and collegiate level as the sports editor for Mason’s campus newspaper, Broadside. My background has allowed me the opportunity to experience the professionalism of the sports media environment, as I have been a credentialed member of the media for the Colonial Athletic Association and NCAA basketball tournaments in Richmond, Va. and Cleveland, Ohio. With all of the things I have learned with Mike Wise during the radio show, I can work to become a more wellrounded journalist. First, I will continue to hone by skills as a radio talk show host throughout the next semester (at
course that may help me to communicate with professional athletes in the future. I also plan to enroll in several classes that teach photography, television broadcasting and other communication classes that will help me to become a better speaker, on the radio and in person, and writer. rough my experiences at the oﬃce with USA Today, I have realized the importance of becoming a master of multiple crafts and testing the waters in a variety of diﬀerent news mediums, while mastering the art of proofreading and revision.
NCLC 490: 106.7 The Fan Internship Reflection
least) as a co-host for the Morning Breakdown and Sports Break. rough my experiences at the radio station with Mike, I have realized the importance of becoming a master of multiple crafts and testing the waters in a variety of diﬀerent news mediums. And I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to have spent time learning under one of the greatest sports journalists in the Washington DC area. *These pieces have been severely edited for brevity. They were nearly twice this length when original turned in for class but did not fit in the alotted space without editing.
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 19
April 2, 2012
Cody G. Norman
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
To whom it may concern, Please accept this letter as a personal recommendation for Cody Norman. Cody worked as an intern for our organization, ProCamps, Inc., during the spring and summer of 2010 on our events in the Washington DC area. During his time with us, Cody had a significant impact on the success of our business and our individual event. roughout his time with the company, Cody worked on a variety of key projects including assistance with organizing, planning, and marketing events representing Chris Cooley of the Washington Redskins. With many projects being left up to Cody’s autonomy, he displayed great character, reliability, and timeliness in his work. With his help, our summer event for Chris Cooley was a spectacular success. Another notable aspect of this internship is that Cody was here for the betterment of himself in his drive for experience, being that little to no compensation was received for his eﬀorts. roughout his time here, Cody showed himself to be a person of detail, fortitude, and foresight. From my observation, Cody not only proved himself to his supervisors here at ProCamps, but was
also well respected by his fellow interns. We feel extremely fortunate to have had Cody as part of our team as he was a perfect fit with our corporate culture. All of his hard work and dedication to our goals speak highly of his character and work ethic. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions regarding Cody Norman. LETTER FROM ADAM TRICK, PRO CAMPS INCORPORATED
To Whom it May Concern: I am writing on behalf of Cody Norman, a student at George Mason University who interned with USA TODAY Sports in the Fall of 2011. His internship was with the organization’s Digital Desk, which is primarily responsible for the publishing, programming and packaging of digital content to multiple platforms. Despite a full plate of schoolwork, as well as responsibilities with his school newspaper and radio station, Cody was the consummate intern during his time with USA TODAY. What impressed me most
about Cody was his work ethic. He has the ability to handle an endless lists of tasks in a timely manner and, more importantly, in a professional fashion. Cody quickly learned our publishing tools and understood the importance of adding material for packaging purposes. He came up with good story ideas and followed through to get several bylines on USA TODAY Sports’ web site. And he did all that while performing his duties as beat writer for the George Mason men’s basketball team and creating a special 40-page magazine to preview the team’s season. I have all the faith in Cody and know that he is at the beginning of a successful career in sports journalism. I strongly believe that Cody would be a valuable addition to any organization and recommend him to the fullest. I would gladly fulfill any request for further information. LETTER FROM TIM GARDNER, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Dear Selection Committee, It is without hesitation that I write this letter of recommendation for Cody Norman who is applying to George Mason University graduate program. I first met Cody in fall 2009 when he was enrolled in my communication newspaper workshop course at George Mason University. It was obvious to me that Cody was an exceptional student: He was extremely bright, had a professional demeanor, and was disciplined and dedicated when completing assignments as Broadside Assistant Sports Editor. His articles were thorough, organized, clear and concise. Cody’s standard of excellence and body of work with Student Media is unmatched. He has served as Broadside Sports Editor and Managing Editor, and currently serves as Broadside Editor-in-Chief. He hosts a weekly talk show on WGMU radio, and serves as editor-in-chief for Courtside Seats, a magazine about Mason’s basketball that he founded in 2011. is semester, he will add hosting a cable talk show about Mason sports to his accomplishments. Working with Cody is a gift. He is both a team player and a leader. He is tenacious about getting the facts,
committed to a high standard in excellence in whatever he creates and relentless in creating a positive work environment for his staﬀ. Cody is a professional, start to finish. Academically, Cody has excellent research and writing skills, as well as having outstanding critical thinking skills. Cody is both intuitive and reflective and has excellent skills in synthesizing information. Cody is extremely bright and an amazingly fast learner --regardless of subject. Cody is first among equals. He has an uncanny ability to know how to work with each staﬀ member. He knows when they need help and he knows when they can navigate a story on their own. He is well respected by his staﬀ and is considered a student leader on campus by both students and administrators. It is not unusual for me to hear from administrators about Cody’s excellent work product and his high degree of professionalism and superior leadership skills. As Student Media Director, I have worked with hundreds of talented students over the past ten plus years; however, Cody is in a class by himself. No question that he is an excellent candidate for graduate school and has the
requisite skills, knowledge and attitude to succeed. He is the type of student that will take advantage of every learning opportunity presented to him in graduate school. ank you for this opportunity to write about Cody. He is the best. Please contact me by phone (703 895-0226) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need additional information. ETTER FROM KATHRYN MANGUS, DIRECTOR OF STUDENT MEDIA
Tune in to the Courtside Seats pregame show 45 minutes before select men’s basketball games this season on WGMURadio.com Cody Norman & Daniel Zimmet will be broadcasted live from courtside for ALL men’s basketball home games and scheduled away games. Click on the picture to hear the Mason Madness show from Oct. 12
Portfolio_Layout 1 10/30/2012 8:20 PM Page 20
George Mason University, 2012