Journalism majors earn spots in MLB's competitive national internship program

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two College of Communications students who grew up rooting for the New York Yankees have earned the opportunity to pursue their professional dreams in major league ballparks this summer.

Junior Matt Martell and his dad had season tickets and would often make the 45-minute drive from their home in Hopewell Junction, New York, to the old Yankee Stadium. For classmate Mandy Bell, Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles, was the closest ballpark to her hometown of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She and her father would try to get there as often as possible when the Yankees were in town.

This summer, Bell and Martell will find themselves at every home game in those stadiums — but this time not as fans. They each earned a spot in the highly competitive summer internship program conducted by MLB.com. Bell will cover the Orioles, while Martell will cover the Yankees.

“It’s going to be incredible,” said Bell. “It’s going to be so much fun. The fan inside of me is going to be bursting. Obviously, I have to try to calm that down a little bit. It’ll be so cool.”

The two will serve as second beat writers for their assigned teams. They will work with the primary beat writers and produce daily stories and sidebars, working every home game. In addition, when the primary beat reporter gets back from long road trips and has a few days off, Bell and Martell will take over the main role. 

In order to land the positions, Bell and Martell had to apply, provide writing samples, participate in an interview, and a complete a writing test.

“Once I got it, it was super exciting,” said Bell, who knew she wanted this internship when she learned about it as a freshman. “Personally, it’s just amazing to be able to do this. Professionally, it’s even better because there are a lot of different sports that you can get involved in just being a sports writer going through the broadcast journalism major, but baseball is the only sport that I really want to work in whenever I graduate college.”

Including Bell and Martell, Penn State has had 25 students selected to participate in the internship program in the last 10 years.

“I’m doing my dream job as a junior in college,” said Martell. “I’m getting paid to watch baseball. I’m not going to take this for granted. Being a Yankees fan as a kid, this just makes it that much more special.”

Bell is the sports director for CommRadio, the internet-based radio station housed in the College of Communications, and a feature writer for GoPSUsports.com, having covered field hockey, gymnastics and baseball. Last summer, she served as an intern for Little League, working at the Little League World Series. Martell writes for The Daily Collegian and has covered football as a freelance writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. As part of classes, he has covered the U.S. Open and the political conventions, and will make the trip to Panama with the international reporting class this spring.

Both Bell and Martell consider baseball their favorite sport. Bell, who played softball for 16 years, recalls visiting the old Yankee Stadium for the first time when she was 4 years old. Martell’s early baseball memories include wiffle ball in the driveway with his father, and mimicking everyone in the Yankees’ lineup when he batted. They both want to work in baseball following graduation, and they believe these internships will put them in a position to succeed.

“Now, I not only have an internship experience, I have it connected to MLB.com, which is the pinnacle of baseball writing, and I have the Yankees attached it,” said Martell. “I not only covered baseball for MLB.com, I covered the Yankees — the most historic franchise in American sport.”

“To be able to have both internships that I’ve had so far, bigger internships in Little League and MLB.com, it’s huge for me,” said Bell.

In addition to their other roles on campus, Bell and Martell are part of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, housed in the College of Communications. The Curley Center explores issues and trends in sports journalism through instruction, outreach, programming and research.

Along with core courses in sports writing, sports broadcasting and sports information, the Curley Center places an emphasis on internships and hands-on experience with broadcast, multimedia and print outlets as well as with league, sport and team publicity and sports information operations. The center emphasizes co-curricular activities (on and off campus), and the quality of students, as well as the reputation of the program, have produced many one-of-a-kind experiences.

Partnerships with news organizations have led to opportunities covering the Paralympics, the Penn State baseball team’s historic visit to Cuba, Penn State football in Ireland, the Olympics, the Final Four and many more.

"The Curley Center has built an impressive track record of internships for MLB.com, and the students have consistently gotten a great deal out of the experience,” said John Affleck, director of the Curley Center. “I'm not only happy we have two interns this year, but really glad to see they've been assigned to cover two of the game's marquee franchises."

Last Updated February 16, 2017