2017-18 Star Tribune Jr. Reporter | Witnessing History
Growing up in Minneapolis, I know what a Minnesota Timberwolves game day looks like. The rumbling seats, massive overhead lights warming center court, echoing howls from fans intimidating opposing players at the foul line -- the fan atmosphere at the Target Center is unmistakable.
For most fans, March 28, 2018 marked a momentous night in Timberwolves history when Karl Anthony-Towns set the franchise’s all-time record for points scored in a single game. But for me, it was even more. It was metamorphic practice towards becoming a professional journalist -- a goal I’ve had since I was in eighth grade.
As part of the youth journalism experience created through a partnership with ThreeSixty Journalism and the Minnesota Timberwolves, I and a young ThreeSixty alumna were able to get a backstage look at what it takes as a media member to cover the Timberwolves.
Phone-recorder in hand and laminated press pass around my neck, I spent the day with complete media access for interviewing players, which included locker room access, pregame interviews, and a seat at the post-game press conference
Wow. I was closer than I could have imagined. Everything was better. Nearer. More vivid.
As the day wore on, having big-time Timberwolves players like Derrick Rose and Towns pass right by me down the arena halls became more natural. In just a few short hours I was getting the hang of it -- as a journalist, you hang around until the moment comes to make something unique into a side note. Then you turn that side note into a piece of a larger puzzle; once you get enough of those, you start to put together a story.
Normally, the wild reactions from Timberwolves fans shouting, “MVP! MVP!” in response to Towns’ performance would be what stuck most in my mind. On March 28, though, it’s the lessons I learned from the Timberwolves public relations staff, beat journalists and radio broadcasters covering the event, plus the reality that I took a Towns-sized step forward in my understanding of sports-journalism, that will last me a lifetime.
Zekriah Chaudhry is a senior at Minneapolis South High and will attend the University of St. Thomas as a ThreeSixty Journalism Scholar beginning in fall 2018.