CORVALLIS, Ore. – Lindsay Schnell, the sports editor for the Oregon State University Daily Barometer, has received a prestigious NCAA Freedom Forum Sports Journalism Scholarship – an award designed to encourage talented college journalists to pursue sports writing careers.
Schnell, a junior from Sandy, Ore., is one of just eight collegiate sports writers nationally chosen for the award.
“It’s really an honor and it’s just starting to sink in,” Schnell said. “I’ve wanted to be a sports writer since I was a kid. My dad was a coach and my mom a basketball referee, so I grew up in a gym. We always had Sports Illustrated around the house and one rainy day I sat down and read an article called ‘Rapture of the Deep’ by Gary Smith – an amazing story about free diving – and I was hooked.
“He has a way of telling a story that makes you feel you’re right in there with the characters,” she added. “He brings it to a level that the story matters to someone who is not an athlete. That’s what I want to do – write profiles about athletes as people. And SI is my dream job.”
Schnell is off to a good start. A 2005 graduate of Sandy High School, she was named the Oregon High School Journalist of the Year by the Oregon Journalism Education Association. She explored major journalism schools but decided on OSU after attending a newspaper camp on campus because she could begin writing for the school newspaper as a freshman.
This is just Schnell’s second year at the university – she took enough advanced classes in high school that she is a junior – and the young journalist already has covered three national championship tournaments. OSU hosted the NCAA gymnastics championship last year, and Schnell also traveled to Oklahoma City to cover the Beaver women’s softball team, and to Omaha, Neb., where OSU won the 2006 College Baseball World Series.
She covered the baseball national championship working as a stringer for the Bulletin newspaper in Bend.
Schnell also went to El Paso, Texas, in December to cover the Beavers’ stirring come-from-behind football victory over Missouri in the Sun Bowl. In her “spare time,” she freelances for College Sports Television, writing for CSTV.com.
“She’s amassed quite a portfolio for someone who is only 20 years old,” said Frank Ragulsky, OSU’s student media adviser. “Lindsay is very passionate about her work and very driven. To win such a prestigious award is quite an honor for her and for the Daily Barometer.”
The Daily Barometer has won several national awards in recent years, including national college newspaper of the year – a surprising feat for a university without a journalism school.
“Lindsay is a pistol,” said Steve Bagwell, managing editor of the McMinnville News-Register, who teaches courses at OSU as an adjunct professor of New Media Communications. “She routinely out-thinks and out-hustles the competition. I think she has the makings of a real blue-chipper in professional sports writing ranks.
“She aspires to write for Sports Illustrated some day,” he added, “and I wouldn't bet against it.”
Schnell does indeed hope to parlay her $3,000 NCAA scholarship and Daily Barometer experience into a professional sports writing career, preferably at Sports Illustrated.
“They have such tireless, classic writing,” she said. “It really makes me want to work with the best, to be the best. I’m ridiculously competitive. Of course, if ESPN the Magazine came along and offered me a job, I wouldn’t say no…”