Sports journalism students get 'exciting' opportunity at U.S. Open

June 13, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Each year, hundreds of media members attend and cover the U.S. Open for outlets across the country. This year, that contingent will include four Penn State students.

Matt Martell, Anna Pitingolo, Mark Puleo and Roger Van Scyoc will head to Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh to report on the championship for the USA TODAY Network through a partnership with the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, housed in the College of Communications.

One of golf’s four majors, the tournament runs throughout the week, with championship play scheduled for Thursday through Sunday (June 16-19).

“I’m so excited,” said Pitingolo, a senior journalism major from Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. “This is such an incredible opportunity. It’s something that in a million years, I never thought that as a college student I’d be traveling to a major event like the U.S. Open.”

Pitingolo and the other students will be writing about golfers with local ties to media outlets served by the USA TODAY Network. The senior expects to be getting up early and getting home late, with long days at the course. In addition to the experience covering such a popular event, Pitingolo is also looking forward to networking opportunities.

“If the event itself hadn’t sold me, that certainly did,” Pitingolo said. “I’m excited to meet people, other sports journalists, even if I can just pick their brains for a couple minutes in between holes. I’m just really excited for that opportunity.”

John Affleck, director of the Curley Center and Knight Chair for Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State, will be supervising the students on site, and acting as a liaison with the network’s editors.

“It’s tremendously exciting for us to be able to offer our students this opportunity. We’re very grateful to the USA TODAY Network for this partnership,” he said. “Also, the chance to cover the Open in Pennsylvania and at one of the most challenging courses in American golf just makes it that much more special.”

College of Communications alumnus Pete Kowalski will also be at the U.S. Open, serving as the director of championship communications for the United States Golf Association.

Founded in 2003 and later named for the first editor of USA Today, the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism explores issues and trends in sports journalism through instruction, outreach, programming and research. The Curley Center’s undergraduate curricular emphasis includes courses in sports writing, sports broadcasting and sports information, as well as classes that examine sports’ place in culture and sports as a business.

Students in the Curley Center get an abundance of hands-on opportunities. The combination of the College of Communications, one of the largest programs of its kind in the United States, and the 31 varsity sports programs at Penn State, provides fertile territory for aspiring sports journalists. 

What the Curley Center regularly offers often goes far beyond campus, too.

Students have covered the Croke Park Classic, NASCAR, the Final Four, the Olympics and the Super Bowl in recent years. Most recently, Curley Center students chronicled the historic trip by the Penn State baseball team to Cuba. Later this year, sports journalism students from Penn State will cover the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

The center was established with Distinguished Professional in Residence and Professor John Curley and Doug Anderson, then dean of the College of Communications, serving as founding co-directors in 2003. It was named in September 2006 for Curley, whose more than five decades of newspaper experience included work as a reporter, editor, publisher and, ultimately, president, CEO and chairman of the Gannett Co. 

Last Updated June 21, 2016