In a press conference held at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday, 60 young journalists took aim at some of the more recognizable faces of the Detroit Red Wings and fired at will.
John Nidhart, an Adams High School senior, was among the crowd. One by one, high school journalists from around Michigan stood up and asked Wings general manager Ken Holland, head coach Mike Babcock and current Red Wings players Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, and Valtteri Filppula questions on topics ranging from their recent record-breaking home game winning streak to whether or not they think the Wings are the greatest franchise in professional sports.
The press conference was all part of the Detroit Red Wings’ annual High School Journalist Day, where students get a chance to hone their skills by attending a team practice and a mock press conference.
Jake Lourim from Troy High School in Troy was enjoying his second year attending the event and said he really liked the experience.
Lourim had his questions ready for Babcock just before the press conference began.
“I really want to talk to coach Babcock. ... I want to ask him about how his team has managed to be so consistently competitive over the years and to give examples of that,” Lourim said.
Students are encouraged to write an article or create a broadcast piece about the event to compete for a grand prize of spending a 2012-13 Red Wings practice, lunch and home game shadowing USA Today hockey reporter Kevin Allen.
During the press conference Babcock asked the students if they knew what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives and said he wasn’t surprised when few students had an answer.
“I don’t even know what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Babcock said.
After the press conference, Bertuzzi gave Trenton Patch editor Nate Stemen tips for young reporters trying to break into sports journalism.
“It’s about respect and honesty,” Bertuzzi said. “I think when you get into journalism and you get the needling and poking at you to try to get an answer that wouldn’t make sense or put someone in a bad way is something that gets annoying to athletes, and if that continues then you’re going to end up getting shut down and you’re going to lose opportunities to speak to that individual.”