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Three local journalists share PLU experiences

October 13, 2008

A PLU education made a difference

Three journalism graduates, from three decades, representing three Seattle media outlets shared insights on sports reporting during a Homecoming panel discussion Friday. Art Thiel ’75, Tom Glasgow ’81 and Chris Eagan ’95 spoke on how their PLU education helped them in their careers and on the nature of sports reporting and how it has changed. A sports columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer who is also heard on KPLU, Thiel reflected on how majoring in journalism at PLU has helped him in unexpected ways. He said because there were few required courses to qualify for the major, he was able to take courses in art, history and economics.

“A good reporter needs to know a little bit about everything,” Thiel said. “My PLU education served me well in that way, giving me a breadth of experience to cover stories that are different, unusual or beyond my field of endeavor.”

Glasgow, who reports for KOMO Radio and is a Mariners’ pre- and post-game host, and Eagan, who covers the Seahawks and sports features for KING TV, agreed. They said that PLU gave them a chance to get involved in all aspects of sports reporting as freshmen, an opportunity they might not get at other schools.

For Thiel, sports reporting gives him the great satisfaction that comes from finding complete resolution in an event that has a clear beginning, middle and end. “It’s something that is not always part of other life experiences,” he said.

“I agree with Art,” Glasgow said. “And for me sports is the one place where you can go to an event and almost always see something you didn’t expect – an amazing catch or a buzzer-beater shot. That’s the purest appeal of covering sports.”

Eagan said that while covering major sports teams is at the core of his work he finds high school sports and small college sports offer some of the most compelling stories.

All three journalists agreed that the priorities in sports coverage have changed over the years with less time and space devoted to the topic by both broadcast and print media.

“For us in print, the economic reality is that our shrinking news hole due to tightening budgets means we have less space to cover our beat,” Thiel said. He said that will result in even less coverage for those teams like PLU that traditionally have had a smaller fan base.