by, Pete Janny & Anna Woods, Sports Editor & Editor-in-Chief
The Manhattan College communication department has found a diamond in the treasure chest of journalists; not the rough.
Since 2017, Jared Diamond has served as the national baseball writer for The Wall Street Journal working for the publication in different roles since 2011, including one season as the New York Yankees beat writer and three as the New York Mets beat writer. After graduating from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications, Diamond, still only 32 years old, has enjoyed a fast track to stardom in the sports journalism industry. Diamond has seen it all in recent years from traveling to MLB ballparks to witnessing the biggest MLB interviews. None of that will be changing for Diamond anytime soon.
However, Diamond does have a new endeavor to look forward to as an adjunct professor in the communication department.
Diamond, who currently resides in Jersey City, New Jersey with his wife, is scheduled to teach a sports writing and reporting class next semester at Manhattan. His addition to the department figures to have a huge impact on the expansion of the sports media concentration at the college, which in recent years has seen a lot of growth, thanks in large part to the arrival of the ESPN production truck.
“I’m very excited for us to work with a relatively young journalist who is familiar with the job market and the kinds of things students will need to learn,” said Michael Quinn, associate professor in the communication department. “It’s great when adjuncts can move directly from their work to the classroom, particularly when they are as skilled as Jared.”
In anticipation for Diamond’s arrival next Fall, the communication department has invited him to give a virtual talk on Feb. 23 that will be open to every member of the community. Plenty about Diamond’s career in the industry—including his insights into the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal—will be discussed, and he will also try to delve into his expectations for the class next semester — although the bulk of the curriculum is still being planned out. Anybody qualified enough to be in academia can teach the basics of a subject, but Diamond is looking to bring more than just that as someone who is well versed in the contemporary trends of the industry.
“The one thing I learned from being an industry is just how crucial story idea generation is and how to come up with ideas that are new and original and haven’t been written before,” Diamond said.
Diamond’s dream job from an early age was to cover baseball. Like many other sports journalists, Diamond had his own dreams of playing the game before settling on the next best thing: the chance to write about it. Technically, his experiences covering the Chicago Cubs’ historic World Series run in 2016 and the Astros scandal in 2019 were work responsibilities; even though it felt like the farthest thing from that for someone as passionate about journalism as Diamond is.
“I was sort of born to write about baseball, obviously, my name, people often will bring that up that it’s fitting that this is my job,” Diamond said jokingly. “So I guess I didn’t really choose baseball as much as it was chosen for me. But you know, I loved it. [Baseball] was always my favorite sport, really… it was sort of where I really wanted to be.”
Just because Diamond’s specialty is within sports does not make him feel more or less included in the greater community of journalists — that’s because the art of news reporting has parallels across the spectrum of the industry. Diamond actually sees himself as more of just a sports journalist given the wide range of topics that overlap with the sports world.
“Sportswriting forces you to flex every single part of your journalistic brand,” Diamond said. “ In the span of a week, you could be covering, you know, science or health, and then labor, and then economics, and then crime, whatever else is every sort of piece of the puzzle that makes the newspaper tick, all plays into sports somehow.. And I think that’s definitely been a good lesson during the pandemic, just how many hats you’d have to wear in this job.”
As cliche as it may sound, the suggestion that it’s never too early to start becoming a journalist resonates with many professional writers like Diamond. He started doing journalistic work at age 15 before taking his talents to The Daily Orange, the student newspaper of Syracuse University, where he worked his way up to sports editor.
The memories and lessons connected back to his time at Syracuse are things he’ll never forget, because he was challenged in ways that helped mold him into a professional. Like, for instance, the legendary six over time game between Syracuse and UConn in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Diamond and one other writer had the pleasure, and challenge, of covering that game, which is something he says he’ll never forget. It’s stories like that which make being a journalist so rewarding.
“That was an incredibly, incredibly memorable experience,” Diamond said of being at Madison Square Garden on Mar. 12, 2009. “Because one it was just an insanely historic game. But my memories of it was what it was like being a college journalist covering something like that.”
According to Diamond, the key to becoming great is to write, write, write and write some more. By practicing the mechanics, as well as unearthing unique ideas, any journalist puts themselves in a position to stand out.
“The best way to learn how to be a journalist is to do journalism,” Diamond said. “If you have a good idea, don’t just sit on it, go write it, go find someone that will publish it, you’ll be surprised someone will.”
Diamond’s upcoming lecture looks like the perfect introduction to the college community, especially for the students interested in journalism. Diamond’s hoping for a nice turnout, not only because of what he has to say, but since he too is excited to reciprocate the interest and respect that the community will likely show toward him. In choosing to join the communication department, Diamond has already signaled his commitment to investing in the potential of aspiring journalists at the college.
“[Journalism] is not dead,” Diamond said. “The way I know that is because the demand for the work that journalists do has never been higher. There will be journalism, and there will be a way to make it work.”
And with that, off he went to covering Trevor Bauer’s introductory press conference with the Los Angeles Dodgers as if it was just another day in the life of a national baseball writer.
The virtual talk about his work will be held Tuesday 2/23 at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the communication department.