November 02, 2021
Inside the Pressbox
Koby Braunstein ’22 has always been passionate about sports. Watching them, playing them, researching them, reading about them. You name it. This past summer, he had an incredible opportunity to jump in feet first to the fast-paced sports world by interning for Hartford Athletic, a professional soccer team based in Hartford.
Braunstein never expected to be an integral part of the team as he quickly became. “I started in June interested in whatever they wanted me to do for them,” said Braunstein. “I wanted to be part of the team, whether that was behind the scenes or on the front lines, and I ended up doing a lot of both.”
Braunstein immersed himself in everything they asked of him, working in the press box at Dillon Stadium amidst the go-go world of sports communication. He was in charge of the game recaps to tracking statistics and sending them to the news outlets like ESPN, and posting on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. He also interviewed the players for articles and, through his work, developed a rapport with them.
Braunstein admitted, “I wasn’t sure what I expected going in, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” He has been a long-time fan of the team, invested in them since their inaugural season in 2019, often going to many of the games and getting to know some of the players. “It was fun being able to be up close with professional soccer players from all over the world, including from Africa, Europe, and South America,” he said.
Braunstein’s boss at Hartford Athletic, John Ponziani, was a positive and impactful influence throughout the summer. Braunstein said, “I would show him generally my ideas, and he would let me run with them. He would say, ‘You be you. I am not going to hold you back in any way. Develop your style. If you make mistakes, that’s ok. Just remember the best policy is honesty.’”
When asked what advice he would give to a budding sports journalist, Braunstein said it was the same advice he has tried to follow himself. “Just telling it like it is. I struggle with this, too, sometimes. I think we try to elongate things or expand on things when in reality, you just need to stick with simplicity and get the information out there.”
Braunstein admits the job was a bit nerve-wracking initially, but it became easier over time. “I developed a relationship with the players, and interviewing them became just like any other normal conversation.” Braunstein’s interviews with the players were posted to the team’s social media channels, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and the organization was always sure to credit his work. It was a hectic world, and Braunstein was learning in real-time on the job. He shared one of the most stressful aspects of the job was writing the game recaps in a time crunch. “I only had 45 minutes,” said Braunstein. “If a game ends around 9:00 p.m. and the news goes on at 10:00 p.m., the media would need it beforehand. During the game, I would be working to do the statistics while watching every play so if there is anything important that I want to highlight, I am able to.” This urgent, looming deadline-driven writing was something that Braunstein had to get accustomed to. “I am very meticulous, and I think about every word. That is how I treat any writing assignment. I have high expectations.” He noted that Kingswood Oxford had prepared him well for all types of writing. He especially credits Ms. Schieffelin’s journalism class, in particular, for the skills necessary to write all different types of articles and pivot in his style on a dime. Braunstein also writes for the KO News in its sports department.
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