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4:14 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Sports Journalism Is The Goooaal At Argentine School

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 9:46 am

Every day, from early morning until late at night, the Superior School of Sports Journalism in Buenos Aires is packed. And most of its 600 students hope to spend their working lives covering sports.

For years, Roberto Bermudez has been teaching in the ornate mansion that houses the school.

"Many have been frustrated athletes, whom I always tell, 'Here we don't make athletes, we make journalists. You have the opportunity to be a journalist,' " Bermudez says.

And in Argentina, where the people are mad for sports, and soccer in particular, there are plenty of opportunities for sportswriters and broadcasters, which has spawned an educational industry of sorts.

While a big U.S. city like Chicago may have two baseball teams, Buenos Aires and its suburbs have a dozen first division soccer clubs, each with its own stadium, fan base and radio station. Then there's pro basketball, horse racing, the tennis circuit and even professional volleyball.

Bermudez says it's an environment that's helped the sports-reporting schools flourish.

"I do not know if there is any other place in the world where there are so many schools," Bermudez says of the sports-reporting academies.

A Dozen Academies

Indeed, in Buenos Aires alone there are about a dozen such institutions. Each year they churn out hundreds of sportswriters, broadcasters, camera operators, Web designers and sports analysts.

In Juan Carlos Peralta's popular class, the focus is on the intricacies of soccer: the strategies, the plays, how defense is played and goals are scored. Peralta is a perfect teacher — he still plays professional soccer for a club just outside Buenos Aires. He's also a graduate of the school.

"I try to use my experience as a player to teach the kids, and from my experience working with different coaches and teams in my sports career," Peralta says. "I teach them the basic concepts of soccer and so that they learn how to watch soccer."

The central idea at the school is to teach students to cover every aspect of sports — to write up game summaries fast and photograph the big play, and also to work as play-by-play men, the guys who have that distinctive way of announcing a gooooooaaaaaaal!

On a recent night at the school, the focus of a mock sports radio program is on the delivery of sports news with peppy banter.

Diego Galanternik, 20, does it with verve, talking about the latest in the soccer world. Like a lot of the students, he's been crazy about sports since boyhood — so crazy about it that he's a reserve on a professional soccer club.

"My family always said to me, soccer isn't everything because those who get to the top are so few," says Galanternik. "And so I had to be prepared for something else in my life."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Maybe the U.S. gets a little sports obsessed - Tom and I certainly do. But if you want true fanaticism, try Argentina, where the passion for soccer and other sports seems to know no bounds. In a city like Buenos Aires, there are a myriad professional teams and covering them all requires an army of sportswriters and broadcasters. As NPR's Juan Forero discovered, this has spawned a sports reporting industry.

JUAN FORERO, BYLINE: Every day, from early morning until late at night, the Superior School of Sports Journalism is packed.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE SPEAKING SPANISH)

FORERO: Six hundred students enrolled, most hoping to spend their working lives covering sports. Roberto Bermudez has for years been teaching at the converted ornate mansion in the city's center.

ROBERTO BERMUDEZ: (Spanish spoken)

FORERO: Many of them are frustrated athletes, he says, but I always tell them we don't make athletes here, we make journalists. And sports reporters, it seems, are in need in Argentina. While a big U.S. city like, say, Chicago may have two baseball teams, Buenos Aires and its suburbs have a dozen first division soccer clubs, each with its own stadium, fan base and radio station. Then there's pro basketball, horseracing, the tennis circuit, even professional volleyball. Bermudez says it's an environment that's helped the sports reporting schools flourish.

BERMUDEZ: (Spanish spoken)

FORERO: I do not know if there is any other place in the world has so many of these schools, Bermudez says. Indeed, in Buenos Aires alone there are about a dozen such institutions. Each year they churn out hundreds of sportswriters, broadcasters, camera operators, Web designers and sports analysts.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE SPEAKING SPANISH)

FORERO: In Juan Carlos Peralta's popular class, the focus is on the intricacies of soccer: the strategies, the plays, how defense is played and goals are scored.

JUAN CARLOS PERALTA: (Spanish spoken)

FORERO: You would know better. Peralta still plays professional soccer for a club just outside Buenos Aires. He's also a graduate of the school.

PERALTA: (Spanish spoken)

FORERO: I teach them what I learned as a player, Peralta says, so they learn the concepts and better understand the sport when they watch it. The central idea at the school is to teach students to cover every aspect of sports - to write up game summaries fast and photograph the big play.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Spanish spoken)

FORERO: Also to work as play-by-play men, the guys who have that distinctive way of announcing when a goal is scored.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Goooaal.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FORERO: A little music marks the start of a mock sports radio program at the school. The focus on a recent night is delivery of sports news with peppy banter.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FORERO: Diego Galanternik, age 20, does it with verve, talking about the latest in the soccer world.

DIEGO GALANTERNIK: (Spanish spoken)

FORERO: Like a lot of the students here, he's been crazy about sports since boyhood - so crazy about it that he's a reserve on a professional soccer club.

GALANTERNIK: (Spanish spoken)

FORERO: But he says his family told him few succeed at professional soccer so make sure you have another option in life. That brought him here to learn the ins and outs of covering sports.

Juan Forero, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.