Journalism student uncovering sports stories in the Steel City

Jonathan F. McVerry
July 14, 2021

(Editor's Note: This is the seventh in a series of stories about Bellisario College students completing summer internships.)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A lifelong sports fan, Andrew Destin was thrilled to be back in a stadium watching live sports. It was an April Pittsburgh Pirates game, and it was his first post-pandemic event. Knowing he’d return in the summer to cover sports in the Steel City made the experience even more exciting.

Destin is a senior journalism major at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. In June, he started a sports reporting internship at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Over the course of the summer, he will be covering athletes, teams and leagues in one of the most storied sports towns in the country.

It’s not difficult to see where Destin’s passion for journalism and sports comes from. He played basketball and baseball through high school, and even explored playing baseball in college. Growing up in Saratoga, California, two newspapers — the San Jose Mercury and San Francisco Chronicle — were delivered to his home daily. More recently, the Destin family subscribed to The New York Times too. The news has always been a big part of Destin’s life.

“I grew up with a very good understanding of the industry and that was ingrained in me,” Destin said. “I am so passionate about what I’m doing. I could rant for hours about [sports] and the stories I’m doing for the Post-Gazette and the pitches I’m putting out there. It’s all fun for me.”

“When I was at the Pirates game in April with my roommates, it became real. I was so excited to get there. I knew it was going to be great.”

— Andrew Destin, senior journalism major

Destin works alongside Post-Gazette sportswriters and a team of other interns from schools across the country. He said they all push each other to be their best, which is exactly the challenge Destin was looking for when he applied for the internship.

Last summer, he was going to be a play-by-play broadcaster for a small baseball league in New England, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19. He had that opportunity again this year but entering his senior year he wanted to shoot for a bigger market.

“I sat down with Bob Martin [assistant dean for internships and career placement] and I basically told him I wanted something bigger, something more substantial so I could get my work out there to more people,” Destin said.

In January, he got an email from Martin about an opportunity in Pittsburgh. He applied and got the position. But it didn’t sink in until April. “When I was at the Pirates game in April with my roommates, it became real. I was so excited to get there. I knew it was going to be great.”

Post-Gazette interns are encouraged to pitch their own story ideas and they enjoy the independence of covering most events in person. They also get tasked with a variety of assignments. Destin has covered a Pirates game and a match involving the Riverhounds, Pittsburgh’s minor league soccer team. He’s written about a youth soccer academy in Monroeville and hopes to attend Pittsburgh Steelers training camp later this summer.

“[The local sports stories] are something I'm taking pride in right now,” Destin said. “Everybody wants to read about the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, but there's other important stories that deserve to be told.”

I can live in a box, it's fine. I just want to be a reporter.”

— Andrew Destin, senior journalism major

Destin says he is a storyteller through and through, but “if it’s about sports, all the better.” During his time at Penn State, he has taken nearly every opportunity to tell stories. He was a sports editor and reporter for the Daily Collegian where he managed 30 reporters and edited between 20 to 30 stories per week. He is also a sports director for CommRadio and has conducted live broadcasts of 11 Penn State sports.

“Andrew is very old-fashioned in the sense that he does not stop working on a job until it has been completed and completed to the best of his ability,” said Jeff Brown, CommRadio general manager. “I can assign virtually anything to him and walk away, knowing that he has it taken care of, and the work will be of professional quality.”

Destin has also done play-by-play for the Big Ten Network and worked as a producer with PSNtv, Penn State’s student-run television network. Last year, he interned with WPSU Radio, central Pennsylvania’s NPR station.

Dating back to high school, Destin has always stayed busy. When he got to Penn State, he wanted to find ways to “fill up my 3 to 8.” He sees a busy schedule as a way to learn and improve. He knows he’ll need to be at his best so he can keep telling stories in the crowded and noisy sports world.

“If it’s print, if it’s radio or if it’s TV, I want to be involved in the strength of the [sports journalism] industry,” Destin said. “It’d be nice to have a big old house or a mansion or whatever, but for me that doesn't really matter. I can live in a box, it's fine. I just want to be a reporter.”

  • Andrew Destin in the Post-Gazette newsroom

    Senior journalism major Andrew Destin works in his cubicle in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newsroom. He is interning in the newspaper's sports department this summer.

    IMAGE: Provided
Last Updated July 16, 2021