John DiCarlo currently holds the position of Managing Director of Student Media at Temple University. He also runs the The Temple News, the Templar Yearbook and WHIP, Temple’s student internet radio station. Along with those positions, he teaches the Sports Writing and Advanced Sports Reporting classes in the Journalism department. Along with being a Temple owl, DiCarlo is Hawk Hill’s very own Sports Journalism teacher.
Growing up, DiCarlo always knew he wanted to be a writer. Honestly, it didn’t come as easy as he hoped at first. DiCarlo wrote his first article for his Jr. high newspaper, he described the article as “terrible, It was so fan- based.”
This is tip #1 for sports writing from DiCarlo- Do not, and I shall say it again for the people in the back, DO NOT write like a fan.
You are the audiences trusted news source about a game or an interview. Don’t clutter it with your own opinions.
If Nelson Agholor, a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, has a not so great game, report on the facts. I promise you your uncle Jim will not disown you. Report the facts and leave your “jersey” at home.
DiCarlo continued to write throughout highschool, this included yearbook and any publication he could write for. When he made the decision to attend Temple University, DiCarlo knew exactly what he had to do if he wanted to make it in the sports reporting business. This led DiCarlo straight to The Temple Newspaper. DiCarlo put his heart and soul into The Temple Newspaper. He accredicts all of his accomplishments to this and said,
“It gave me everything, It gave me the confidence to write.”
Tip#2 from DiCarlo – write and continuing to write about anything. If you’re passionate about sports writing, do it. DiCarlo suggests getting involved at your school newspaper or any other publication, just get your work out there.
While writing for The Temple news DiCarlo became friends with coaches like John Chaney. Chaney is best known for his 741 Career wins but he is also a member of The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Temple News gave Dicarlo experiences like this left and right. It also provided DiCarlo with networking experiences that are crucial if you want to succeed in the sports writing industry.
After college, DiCarlo did some freelance work in Philadelphia. While there he wrote for many publications including The Daily Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer. While writing for these papers, DiCarlo wrote about many major Philadelphia sports teams including The Philadelphia Eagles, The Philadelphia 76’ers, and The Philadelphia Phillies.
While writing for these teams DiCarlo constantly had to enter professional press boxes and locker rooms.
“You have this mix of trying to enjoy the moment, but your also focusing on working,” DiCarlo added that the press box is “Crazy and Hectic, but a good crazy and hectic”.
Yes, it was terrifying for a newly 25 y/o sports reporter who didn’t have any anywhere as much experience and the people next to him. But, he realized, he had to start somewhere. He addressed the fact that, just like any other profession, you need to work your way up. DiCarlo stated that,
“ This is a craft, if you practice it – you will get better.”
Tip #3- Everyone is scared at first, this means you care about your job. DiCarlo believes that if your not a little nervous or scared before an interview, you don’t love what you’re doing. Being scared once and a while reassures you that you care about the work your producing.
Sports reporting is a tricky business to be in. After many years of being on the road and travelling here and there for free-lance work, surprisingly enough to DiCarlo, he landed a job back at his Alma Mater.
While today DiCarlo still does some free-lance work in his free time, his calling in life now is higher education and teaching the craft of sports writing to others. DiCarlo expressed that one of his favorite jobs at Temple is getting to write about upcoming recruits for Temples athletics. He expressed how amazing it is to see what differences an athlete makes going from high school to college. Dicarlo loves seeing the improvement and enjoys giving Temple fans the run-down.
DiCarlo acknowledges the fact that sports reporting is a tough industry to get into but
“ If your passionate about it go for it.”
DiCarlo opened up about the Pros and Cons of working a full time sports reporting job and said that the pros are-
“No two days are the same, you get to learn so much. You get to cover a lot of great things and meet a lot of great people.”
The cons would be- “It depends on who you are, but you have to travel a lot…You have to be willing to start small and sacrifice.”
In ending, when posed the question: “What do you hope your SJU Sports Journalism class takes away from your teachings?”
He answered with :
“Meeting deadlines, being curious, just asking the right questions, and just knowing if you trust the reporting process that you will get better.”