School of Communication & Journalism

Sam Butler: MLB.com

Sam Butler spent the summer watching the Texas Rangers play baseball... and then writing about it:

I moved out to Texas and covered the Texas Rangers as part of MLB.com’s Associate Reporter program for the summer/fall of 2017. The job is technically an “internship,” but I performed all the duties a full-time reporter who covered the Rangers would. I was in the Rangers’ clubhouse every day, talking to players and Jeff Banister, the Rangers’ manager. We wrote 4 or 5 stories a day for every home game, sometimes more if certain events happened. There’s a reporter above me who actually covers the Rangers year-round, but throughout the season there’d be times he didn’t come into the park for home games, and when that happened I’d be solely responsible for any and all stories that showed up on Rangers.com. And occasionally, when the visiting team's reporter didn't make the trip, I had to cover the Rangers' opponent, so I got to see some other teams, like the Astros, Mets and Angels, up close as well. It’s a fantastic experience. I’ve learned a ton, and I’ve met some great people.

Every year around October, MLB.com puts out a call for the program. Bill Hill, one of the editors there, accepts submissions. You mail your resume, an essay, and a handful of clips you’ve written to him, and you wait. He whittles the pool down to about 70 applicants or so, and then you have to send in a few more recent clips. You’ve got to also send in a game story about one of the previous year’s World Series games — Bill sends the postgame quotes and video link to the game — and from there 30 are selected to have this internship, one at each team in the MLB.

My advice to anyone who wants to do something like this is to take every possible advantage you can in your time at Auburn. Work, work, work, and work early on in your time at school. You won’t be able to land an internship like this if you only submit classwork; you have to get clips from outside stories you’ve done. I actually applied for this internship the year before as well, but since I didn’t have as many outside clips, I didn’t even make the first cut of finalists. Meet as many people as you can while you’re in school, and talk to everyone who is in the field you’re aspiring for. You never know who will have a freelance assignment they need taken care of, and that could turn into something else down the line. Say yes to everything. Oh, and work at the Plainsman.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you’ve got to take initiative. It’s okay to do exactly what you’re told, but I’ve figured out how to keep my eyes and ears open at all times, because you never know what you’ll overhear or see. And DO NOT be afraid to ask dumb questions. The first few days, while I was just starting, I probably annoyed the heck out of my boss because I wouldn’t stop asking him things. I wanted to know anything and everything about how the job operated and what I needed to do to be successful.

Soak it all in. If someone offers you advice, take it. If you make a mistake — and you will, trust me — learn from it and figure out how to avoid it the next go-round. Don’t be so scared to take risks that you end up wasting your short time there to make an impression.

Your time at Auburn is a whole lot shorter than you think it will be. MUCH shorter. And it’s one of the few times in your life you’ll have every resource in the world available to you — a lot of times for free — and be surrounded by people who want to help you succeed. Put yourself out there, and take advantage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Information

Ric Smith

Prof. Ric Smith

School of Communication & Journalism
232 Tichenor Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
(334) 844-2757
smithrw@auburn.edu

Last Updated: July 26, 2018