Harrisburg, PA --- Lia Eustachewich attended the Clyde Hirt Journalism Workshop six years ago, but its impact continues to this day.
Eustachewich, who attended Baruch College in New York, participated in the 2007 workshop, held annually the week of the Hambletonian at Meadowlands Racetrack. The free workshop, entering its 11th year and sponsored by the U.S. Harness Writers Association with the support of other industry groups, gives college students the chance to learn from media professionals while covering harness racing’s most prestigious trotting race.
Students, under the guidance of the New York Post’s Debbie Little and New York Daily News’ Dave Little, write pre-race and post-race stories that appear in newspapers and on websites across the nation.
|Elizabeth Lewis-House interviews John Campbell while Lia Eustachewich (right) looks on during the 2007 Clyde Hirt workshop.|
“The Clyde Hirt workshop drove me to work in real time, under real deadlines with professional editors,” Eustachewich said. “As a young journalism student, the honest, raw feedback I received from both Debbie and Dave on my stories was more than I had ever gotten -- and the published clip I got for my portfolio was invaluable, and still is, six years later.”
Each year during the Dan Patch Awards banquet, USHWA conducts a fundraiser to benefit the Clyde Hirt Journalism Workshop to help offset the costs of hotel rooms, ground transportation during the event and meals. This year, a 50-50 raffle is being held. Tickets are $25 each and limited to 400, which would create a winning payout of $5,000 if all tickets are sold.
Tickets will be available at the Harness Racing Congress, which begins March 1 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., until the raffle drawing at the Dan Patch Awards dinner on March 3. Presale tickets are available until Saturday (Feb. 23) and can be obtained by completing and returning this form or by going to www.ushwa.org. Attendance at the awards banquet is not required to win.
(Corey Alexander, a University of Maryland Eastern Shore student who participated in last year’s workshop, created a video showing the day-to-day activities. To watch the video, click here.)
Eustachewich is now a general assignment reporter for the New York Post. She previously worked for Patch.com in New Jersey and the New York Daily News, covering everything from homicides to high school sports and breaking news. She also wrote about harness racing and became a member of the U.S. Harness Writers Association.
She also returns each year to work as an advisor at the Clyde Hirt workshop.
“The workshop helped me build a solid foundation as a reporter,” Eustachewich said. “It taught me how to have guts, how to learn quickly and most importantly, not blow deadlines. And still, to this day, even though I now serve as an advisor, I learn something new -- about harness racing, reporting, writing, editing -- each year.”
Michael Casagrande attended the workshop in 2005 while a student at Western Kentucky. After graduating, he worked as a sports writer in Indiana and took it upon himself to cover harness racing. Currently, he works for the Sun Sentinel in south Florida as the University of Miami beat reporter.
“The workshop helped foster employment opportunities and professional relationships that continue eight years after I participated,” Casagrande said. “You never know who you’ll meet.”
Mike Mazzeo, who attended the Clyde Hirt workshop in 2009 while a student at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, is now a writer for ESPN.com.
“The Clyde Hirt Journalism Workshop gave me insight into a sport I had previously known nothing about, and it was great seeing my work published in a professional newspaper for the first time,” Mazzeo said. “I would encourage all aspiring journalists to participate.”
Other workshop “alums” include Jessica Schroeder, who attended in 2005 while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is now the Outreach and Membership Enrichment Coordinator for the U.S. Trotting Association, as well as Elizabeth Lewis-House, who attended in 2007 while at the University of Findlay in Ohio and currently handles public relations and marketing at Winbak Farm in Maryland.
Schroeder also assists with the workshop on a regular basis and conducts, with workshop participants, the Hambletonian Day driver/trainer autograph session at the Meadowlands.
Kim French and Charlene Sharpe, who both attended the workshop in 2006, while at the University of Louisville and University of Richmond, respectively, are writers and frequent contributors of harness racing stories to industry websites and publications. Shawn Harvey, who participated in 2011 while at the University of West Virginia, now works for CBS Sports Network.
Other industry organizations supporting the Clyde Hirt Journalism Workshop include the Meadowlands Racetrack, Yonkers Raceway, the U.S. Trotting Association, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and the New York City chapter of USHWA.