The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Bohls, Golden Visit J-1 Class

Local celebrities Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden, who write sports columns for the Austin American-Statesman, visited Mrs. Melanie Catuogno’s Journalism 1 class Thursday to talk about sportswriting. Bohls Golden Group

“None of us are really experts on sports,”  Catuogno said. “I was very excited to have some professionals come and give us advice about sportswriting.”

Bohls is best known for writing–not always favorably–about the Texas Longhorns, but he has worked at the Statesman for many years and covered every conceivable sport. Working his way up to Columnist, Bohls learned a lot by covering high school sports, including Westwood.

“High school [coverage] is hard,” he said. “You have to get all your own stats and chase down your own quotes. It’s not like college or the NFL where they hand you a quote sheet and call a press conference.”

Golden agreed. In his years of covering high school sports for the Statesman, he “spent a lot of time with [Westwood coach]Bart Bratcher and the baseball team,” and sharpened his writing skills by covering a wide variety of sports.

“Volleyball is the hardest,” Golden said. “It moves so fast and it’s hard to get your notes down without missing the next play. You really have to work hard.”

Students researched the two writers ahead of time and prepared relevant questions to ask. Every question elicited a long, detailed, and often humorous response from the Statesman pair.

“They were really funny to listen to,”  junior Tristan Siefert said. “They had such great stories to share and you could tell they really enjoyed telling them.”

Students asked for pointers on how to write a sports story that is more than a boring summary.

“The trick is to find the interesting angle,” Bohls said. “You have to write something that everybody doesn’t already know.”

The two sportswriters also advised the J-1 students to “do their homework” and find out as much as possible about their subject before the game or interview.

“People love to talk about themselves,” Golden said, “but you have to put them at ease first by showing them that you know something about them already.”

It is obvious that Bohls and Golden know a lot about sports. The pair tossed around stats, players’ names, and memories of long-ago games as they gave examples to the class. This kind of sports trivia knowledge is incredibly useful to a sports journalist. But how valuable is sportswriting to society in general, sophomore Hannah Bull asked.

“Who says it’s valuable?” Bohls joked. But then the conversation turned serious.

“After 9/11, sports held the country together like nothing else could,” Golden said. “After the Boston Marathon bombing, people went to a Red Sox game. It was a way of returning to normalcy.”

“Sports are a microcosm of life,” Bohls agreed. “There are winners and losers and heroes. Sports reflect our humanity.”

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About the Contributor
Lanie Catuogno
Lanie Catuogno, Faculty Adviser
Ms. Cat here. I've taught journalism and advised the Westwood Student Press since 2013. Before that, I taught graphic design and advised yearbook staffs in Texas and California for 20 years. My undergrad degree is in Plan II Liberal Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, and I have a Master's of Education in Reading. I was an ASNE (American Society of News Editors) Reynolds High School Journalism Fellow in 2013. I earned my CJE (national certification as a journalism educator) in 2016. I was proud to be honored with the Edith Fox King award for journalism teachers in 2018. I love my job and it makes me especially happy when the newsroom is hopping and all the student journalists are busy following up on stories. If you are looking for my teacher website, click here.

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