June 20, 2023

WDET interns win broadcast award for sports reporting

Headshot of Ryan Schira
Ryan Schira

DETROIT – Winning an award as an intern never crossed Ryan Schira’s mind.

And why would it? After all, as a college student, working at a radio station was more about opportunities and making connections.

So, when Schira found out that he and fellow WDET intern Nate Pappas took home first place in the 2023 Society of Professional Journalists Detroit Excellence in Journalism Awards, he was astonished.

“I didn’t even know our story was submitted,” said Schira, who graduated last month from Wayne State University with a bachelor of arts in journalism with a broadcast concentration. “I definitely think it was a great story, but I was shocked.”

Schira and Pappas, who attends Central Michigan University, received top honors for sports reporting in the Broadcast category. The awards were announced during a ceremony held at the San Marino Club in Troy, Michigan, on May 15.

WDET STORY: DCFC supporters aim to be the most passionate sports fans in Detroit

The two interns won for their story on the rabid fans of Detroit’s newest pro sports franchise, the Detroit City Football Club (DCFC), which plays its home matches at historic Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck. For their story, the intern duo captured the culture, passion and energy that surrounds the soccer team before, during and after each home contest.

“I thought Ryan and Nate did a great job in particular with sound,” said Diane Sanders, manager of strategic initiatives at WDET. “There was a lot of noise, but they were able to provide clear audio. For both of them to be new in journalism, they managed the event and the story very well.”

A neighbor who happens to coach soccer at Rochester Adams first told Schira about the Hamtramck team. So, he attended a couple matches with his girlfriend and roommate.

“It was intense, but it just fit Detroit,” said Schira, who also called WSU baseball and softball games this season for Warrior All-Access. “It was a great atmosphere, and there’s nothing quite like it in the city. It’s just unique. When Nate and I went back to get the audio, everybody was so welcoming. The fans might get after the opposing teams and there’s really no filter on the explicit words that they use, but it’s all for the fun and the atmosphere. They’ve made it their own and it’s really evolved.”

In all, WDET received 12 awards this year for its broadcast and digital coverage, but only one first place award, thanks to two summer interns.

“The fact that two interns had the opportunity to do a story like that in their first semester at WDET was big for us,” Schira said.

A change of heart led Schira to Wayne State and a journalism trajectory. He was working toward a career in special education when he decided to shift gears at the start of the pandemic. Following his junior year at Western Michigan University, he decided to switch majors and transferred to Wayne State.

“I realized that I couldn’t see myself teaching every day,” said Schira, who graduated from Rochester Stoney Creek High School in 2017. “I love teaching and I love kids, but I decided to transfer to Wayne State when COVID hit.

“I always had a broadcast/journalism major in my mind. I liked doing it in high school when I was on the morning announcements and hosting homecoming events. Then I got injured in football my senior year, so I had to sit out basketball season. I asked my AD, Rick Jakacki, if I could do the P.A. announcing and be close to the team that way.”

Ryan Schira has demonstrated a versatility as a multimedia journalist, working as a freelance photographer covering Detroit area high school games and practices for SBLive.com.

Perry Farrell is an assistant professor of communications who spent more than three decades as a sportswriter with the Detroit Free Press, and he’s complimentary of Schira’s work in and out of the classroom.

“Ryan is driven to do well and has made such a great impression everywhere he goes,” Farrell said. “I am excited for Ryan and his future. He will do well in whatever endeavor he chooses. He is well deserving of the award and I’m glad I had a part in his development.”

A two-term intern at WDET, Schira began working alongside news reporters, where he learned valuable reporting skills. He also did freelance photography for SBLive.com at high school practices and games and was a contributing writer at The South End.

"During the time as a news intern, he captured photographs for his stories. He later enrolled in a photography class, knowing that those skills would help him be a more versatile journalist.

Following his first term with WDET, he applied for the opportunity to be a photojournalist intern, which led to the story about the DCFC.

“Ryan has a fantastic work ethic,” Sanders said. “He was always available to help with events at the station. He is a very polite and well-mannered young man. I'm sure he will go far.”

Though he’s currently undecided about his future, Schira hopes to eventually turn sports into a full-time career.

“I really want a sports focus and I know that’s hard as a young journalism major because you have to get your feet wet,” he said. “But I’ve always loved sports, I’ve always played sports. I have this education background. I like being around kids. And I’m also thinking about going back to Wayne State to get a master’s in sports administration.”

HEADER IMAGE: Ryan Schira captured this photo of a soccer fan at a Detroit City game at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck last August.

Faculty spotlight


Bill Roose
Phone: 313-577-5699
Email: bill.roose@wayne.edu

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