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Working Journalist: Mike Sielski

A Sports Columnist in Suburban Philadelphia

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Working Journalist: Mike Sielski
Mike Sielski

Job: Sports Columnist, Calkins Media, Levittown, Pa.

Responsibilities: I write at least four columns weekly for a chain of three daily newspapers in suburban Philadelphia and their Web site, www.phillyburbs.com. I cover all the major pro and college sports institutions in the Philadelphia region: the Eagles, the Phillies, the Flyers, the Sixers, the Big 5, Penn State, etc.

A typical workday: I'm fortunate in that I really don't have a typical workday. I might be writing a column off a Flyers game at night or off an Eagles game in the afternoon. Or I might spend all day on the phone, tracking down interviewees and sources for a column. Or I might spend all day at Citizens Bank Park for a Phillies column. The variety makes the job fun.

Likes/dislikes about the job: As I said, I love the variety and freedom that come with being a sports columnist. I can cover something different and say something different every day. It keeps your mind sharp. As for dislikes, like all newspaper people nowadays, I'm frustrated by the lack of space and depth in our publications, but considering how tough these times have been for the profession, I can live with writing 700 words instead of writing 850.

Skills a journalist needs: Regardless of whether a reporter is using words or video to tell a story, whether a reporter is speaking on television or radio or writing for a print publication or Web site, he or she must have a wide base of knowledge, natural curiosity, and a way with the English language. Reading and writing are still the foundations of being a good journalist.

Advice to young journalists: Read. Write. Work your tail off. The formula hasn't changed.

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