The National Press Club Journalism Institute is spotlighting the next generation of journalists, students graduating from college or Master’s programs this spring into a challenging job market. We hope they’ll meet future bosses and colleagues here, who will reach out and support them in building journalism’s future together.
Name: Rob Kleifield
School: Arizona State University
Location: Tempe, AZ
Student media: Daily Wildcat
Internship: The Arizona Republic
What have you learned from your involvement with student media on your campus?
Kleifield: I served as the football beat writer for the Daily Wildcat during my undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona. I learned the most important journalism experience doesn’t come from a classroom, but rather out in the field doing actual reporting and crafting stories.
What have you learned from your internship experience(s)?
Kleifield: In my internship with The Arizona Republic, I’ve learned the significance of building relationships with sources, specifically with people that I regularly interact with on my beat. Originally, I was assigned to cover Phoenix Rising Football Club’s 2020 campaign. But, after COVID-19 shut down the sports world, I no longer had access to training sessions or games. Fortunately, I took the initiative to form a connection with Rising’s media relations contact during the preseason. Now, I’m able to write feature stories each week because he is willing to set me up with remote interviews with players and coaches whenever I ask, all in part because he trusts me.
What’s been your best moment in journalism?
Kleifield: So far, my favorite moment in journalism has to be traveling to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in fall 2018 to cover the Arizona Wildcats football game against the UCLA Bruins. Myself and two other Daily Wildcat reporters filed our stories from the media room just yards away from the field around 1:30 a.m. We were the last media members on site and were able to soak up the environment until the wee hours of the morning. I still can’t imagine a football setting more beautiful than “The Granddaddy of them all.”
What’s the wackiest story you’ve worked on?
Kleifield: I’m not sure if I should take this as a knock on my work, but I truly can’t think of a wacky story that I’ve written. So, instead, I’ll share a link to one of my favorite pieces from this semester.
What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?
Kleifield: I want to tell meaningful stories that have an impact on people’s lives. And, I want to give elite athletes a platform to share their own experiences and knowledge to the rest of the world. I believe everyone has a story worth sharing, it’s just a matter of identifying the best manner and time to do so.
If you could meet any journalist and ask for her/his advice, who would it be and why?
Kleifield: If I could meet any journalist it would be the legendary George Plimpton. I would ask him what gave him the confidence to throw himself into his stories, and I’d love some insight into his favorite journalistic endeavors. I admire Plimpton’s work because of the access he was able to earn and the relationships he built over the course of his decades-long career.
What do you want potential employers to know about you?
Kleifield: I want potential employers to know how motivated I am to report interesting and powerful stories in the sports realm. I’m an extremely hard worker with a Division I football background, and I’ve continued to grow my skill-set as a digital and print reporter, as well as a multimedia journalist. I’ve always been coachable, and I believe I have the demeanor necessary to thrive as a reporter and interviewer.
When you aren’t practicing journalism, how do you spend your time?
Kleifield: When I’m not reporting or writing stories for my internship, classes or personal website, I’m working out, reading, watching TV shows and movies and spending time with family and close friends.
If you’re a senior studying journalism, or know one, we’re accepting information here for students to feature in the future. If you’re a supporter, you can contribute here to scholarships for journalism students.
Tags: Class of 2020