Our first Detroit PAL sports writer gets published

Victor Jackson is The Big Fundamental. Well, that is the nickname I gave to this young freshman journalism student at Wayne State University.

He is also a trailblazer because he is the first Detroit PAL kid that I’ve helped train who produced a published story outside our PAL family. I hope he is the first of many and I hope his story in the South End is the first of many on how athletes at Wayne State University plan on using their extra year of eligibility because of Covid-19.

Jackson is a sleepy eyed quiet kid that buries his head, follows the rules and produces good copy.

My days of writing are over, but I want to pass along my knowledge to aspiring sports writers. In retirement I read small newspapers and I’m appalled how terrible some of the sports stories are — especially game stories.

I believe that editors take the time to train reporters who cover government, crime and social issues and cradle them to make them the best they can be. And they send sports reporters out to games and just tell them to fill space without direction. And you end up with a bunch of stories that have no meaning and do not give you the full picture of a team.

Our PAL kids range from middle school to high school kids. Most are from Detroit, but we also have students who meet Saturday mornings from Walled Lake, Brighton, Harper Woods and Grosse Pointe. Our next session begins at the end of the month and continues through November.

Now we are meeting virtually but I hope that we can return to PAL headquarters at the old Tiger Stadium site soon. That’s where I met Victor Jackson and about five or six other students who I believe have great potential in this field. We debate. We fight. We giggle and we have a wonderful time. It is the most rewarding time of my week.

I have a saying many of the kids seem to like. Get Gangsta with it. In other words allow your inner instincts and emotions to take over. We are having fun here. I never tell them what to write, but I want them in a certain mind set.

When you write a sports story, you are the expert on that team or game. I don’t care about play by play. But tell me what this game or moment means. Give me the thoughts and feelings of players and coaches. And where does this team go from here. Give me a story, not a boring book report.

I have become a busy body in my old age. I reached out to the sports department at Oakland University. I love to talk to the sports writers at CM Life during my trips to Central Michigan University. And now PAL.

But PAL is not my show. I am just a bit player. The program was set up by Delvis Nixon who wanted to give young people broadcast and journalism training. He allowed me to jump aboard along with WWJ’s Stephanie Davis, who could be a school teacher. She even has school teacher hand writing.

The goal is to motivate students to enroll in college and hopefully get into broadcasting or journalism. Victor Jackson is our Jackie Robinson, the first to reach college age.

Detroit PAL is not just about playing football, basketball or baseball. If you are a student who wants to learn more about broadcasting and sports journalism go to Freshnation.net and sign up.

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Published by terryfoster8

I am a 58 year old retired sports journalist, husband and father of two living outside of Detroit in search of his next big adventure in life.

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