Kelly Whiteside has covered everything from the World Cup to the Olympics for various outlets, including USA Today and Sports Illustrated, but she is taking a new path in sports journalism. Instead of reporting, she will be teaching the craft as an instructor at Montclair (N.J.) State University this fall.
What motivated you to pursue teaching journalism and the academic aspect, after your career in journalism and at USA Today?
At various points throughout my career, I was an adjunct professor at Rutgers and at Columbia, my alma maters, so I always knew I wanted to teach full time. The stars simply aligned in my favor this year. I was offered a job teaching sports journalism at Montclair State University, which happens to be a two-block walk from my house. With my daughter in preschool and after so many years on the road, it was simply time for a home game. (I recently checked my Marriott account and learned that I’ve spent two years of my life at a Marriott. Combine that with all the other hotel nights while covering five men’s World Cups, three women’s World Cups and seven Olympics, and that number gets scary. I have no idea how I’m going to live life without a concierge lounge.)
What is your goal in your first year of being a college-level instructor?
I hope to learn how to use Google Calendar! Seriously, I have to get used to having an office and meetings upon meetings. I’m teaching three classes each semester and by the end of the year, I hope the students love the craft as much as I do. Journalism became a major for the first time this fall at Montclair State, the campus is just 14 miles from New York City, so there will be great opportunities for students as the sports program grows.
How long have you been a member of AWSM and why did you initially join?
There is no short answer here. I have been a member of AWSM since applying for an internship my senior year at Rutgers — runner-up! The following year after graduate school, I applied again for an AWSM internship — runner-up again! Both times Christine Brennan delivered the news as only Chris can (a super long voicemail, full of encouraging words). The consolation prize that summer of 1991 was an internship at Sports Illustrated, which I turned into a job as a staff writer. So I basically owe AWSM all my Marriott points. Seriously, the opportunity AWSM provided, and the support and friends I made along the way, led to a charmed career.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in sports journalism?
It’s a great job. Sports intersects with every aspect of society and allows you write about every issue imaginable. Learn how to be multi-platform journalist while in college, but also learn how to write well and think critically.
What is one non-journalism thing that some of our members may not know about you?
My favorite shows are Sesame Street and Homeland. I’ve been know to watch Elmo the Musical long after my daughter has left the room. I recently took a selfie with Super Grover 2.0. And we have a season pass to Sesame Place — for my daughter of course.