William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications student Shane Jackson is well on his way to landing his dream job as a beat writer for a Major League Baseball team.
Jackson, a senior from Melvern, Kansas, and fellow Jayhawk journalist Scott Chasen, a senior from Olathe, Kansas, were recently selected for prestigious reporting internships with MLB.com. After finals week in early May, Jackson will report to Cleveland to cover the Indians, and Chasen will travel to Kansas City to cover the World Series champion Royals.
“Anyone who knows me knows I want to cover baseball professionally,” Jackson said.
According to Bill Hill, assisting managing editor at MLB.com, applications of 300 students nationwide were reviewed before selecting 30 interns — one for each professional team. KU was one of six schools to have more than one student selected. Jackson and Chasen become the 10th and 11th interns from KU in the past nine seasons. During the internship, the two will work closely with the MLB.com beat writers.
“He definitely cares about baseball more than any human being I ever met,” Chasen said of his classmate.
Chasen was covering the NBA D-League Showcase in California for valleyofthesuns.com when was notified he had been selected. He has worked with the website for two years.
“I was thrilled to be selected,” Chasen said. “I spent a long time focusing on the process.”
Both students have been active in various hands-on media opportunities at the J-School. Chasen is in his second semester as the sports editor at the University Daily Kansan. He hosted Rock Chalk Live, a pregame show for KUJH-TV, and a weekly podcast, Triple OT, through Media Crossroads.
Jackson has developed his print and radio skills. He is a play-by-play broadcaster for the Ottawa, Kansas, radio station, covering high schools sports. His other play-by-play duties have included KU baseball. Jackson also worked at KLWN Radio in Lawrence, 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, Missouri, and in media relations for the T-Bones baseball team in Kansas City, Kansas.
In his application for the internship, Jackson shared his passion for baseball, and his essay focused on John Lowe, who recently retired after 29 years as the Tigers beat writer for the Detroit Free Press. Jackson had interviewed Lowe for a radio segment.
“I visited with him for a day, and he let me know about the demands of beat writing,” Jackson said. “From that moment on, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
In preparation for the MLB.com interview, Chasen researched the job duties of the position and also visited with KU alumnus Rustin Dodd, the new Kansas City Royals beat writer and former MLB.com intern. Writing on tight deadlines with game stories expected to go live moments after the game is among the primary responsibilities.
“It is the most simulated environment you can have to being a beat writer,” Chasen said. “I want to come out knowing a lot more, knowing more people and becoming more confident in myself as a journalist. It will help develop my writing, especially deadline writing.”
Chasen is looking forward to covering the Royals, coming off consecutive World Series appearances.
“The fact that Alex Gordon is coming back extends their title window,” Chasen said. “There’s a certain energy to covering a good team.”
To show their commitment to the beat, Jackson and Chasen plan to continue the internship through the entire baseball season and delay their graduation from KU by a semester.
Like previous years, Hill was impressed by the talent and preparation of the KU students.
“Unlike most newspaper internships, we put extra emphasis on beat experience and strong game coverage when selecting our interns,” Hill said. “The reward for the students is that when the internship ends, they can market themselves as students who understand how a beat reporter thinks and operates on a daily basis.”