David Cobb, Troy Provost-Heron, and Dargan Southard jokingly call themselves the “bro-migos” of journalism.
Now these three friends, all students in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, have hit a grand slam in the internship world: each has won a coveted internship to write for Major League Baseball’s website for the upcoming baseball season.
Each year, the league hires one intern to cover each major league team for mlb.com.
Cobb, a senior from Memphis, will be covering the Saint Louis Cardinals; Provost-Heron, a junior from Weston, Florida, will be covering the Tampa Bay Rays; and Southard, a senior from Maryville, Tennessee, will be covering the Colorado Rockies.
“I’ve known about this opportunity since my sophomore year,” said Cobb, who was a finalist for the job as a sophomore and an alternate last year. “It’s probably the best sports writing internship there is. They’ve developed quite a following.”
Southard, who was a finalist last year, said the experience could be just the foot in the door he needs to fulfill his career dreams.
“This internship is a big deal to me because it’s what I want to do—be an MLB reporter who covers all the teams and travels the country,” he said.
All three of the students said being chosen for the internships wasn’t sheer luck. Each said he’s been working hard, in and out, of the classroom to hone his journalism skills.
All three have worked for a variety of campus and area publications during their undergraduate years. All three currently cover the UT football team—Cobb for The News Sentinel in Knoxville, Provost-Heron for The Daily Beacon, and Southard for The Daily Times of Maryville. And all three have developed a substantial following of sports fans on Twitter.
“Being at the games, the practices, watching people who get paid to write about athletics—all of this has prepared us a lot for this,” Southard said.
Cobb agreed: “Covering UT athletics is a major thing, and I’ve been covering UT football since I was a sophomore.
“And we’ve established ourselves as journalistic people on Twitter. For the most part, I don’t tweet about going to get a Chipotle or my cravings for Papa John’s.”
Those extracurricular gigs have demanded a lot of time; juggling the demands of work and school has made for some long days and nights.
But the three agree that real-world experience—ferreting out sports news, crafting stories, and meeting deadlines—has taught them to be journalists.
“I think we’ve separated ourselves because of work ethic,” Southard said “These internships are the pinnacle of our college journalism careers so far.”
Applying for the mlb.com internships was rigorous, the students said. First, they had to submit resumes and 750-word essays. After being chosen as finalists, they had to take a writing test. They were given twenty-four hours to watch one of last year’s World Series games and file an 800- to 1,000-word story, incorporating game-day quotes they’d been sent.
Southard was the first to get the call. He had just sent a message to the other two when Cobb’s phone rang. Within ten minutes, Provost-Heron also got a call.
“We thought there was no way all three of us would get it,” Cobb said. They celebrated by going out to dinner together that night.
The students will leave for their respective ball team cities soon after classes end.
“They’ll kind of ease us in,” Southard said. “The first couple of weeks we may do some sidebar coverage, some notebook stuff. After that, there will be some nights we’ll be the only ones there from mlb.com.”
They’ll cover each home game of the season. And, if the bats cooperate, they may see their teams through the playoffs and to the World Series.
Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, firstname.lastname@example.org)