by Beth Moller
For many students, college is an opportunity to find out what your passions are and to gain experience through classes, internships, part-time jobs, on-campus activities and workshops. For one University of Northwestern – St. Paul aluma, her journey has led her from the sports section of the Examiner to the Minnesota Vikings.
Lindsey Young, a 2010 graduate of UNW, has had a passion for football and sports in general for many years. She pursued an English writing major and found sports writing to be a good fit for her. “Creative writing plays a part [in sports writing] and taking journalism with Professor Trouten helped me decide on journalism [as a career],” Young explained. Writing for the Examiner, known as the Column at the time, led her to pursue a sports writing internship. In 2009-2010, the Minnesota Timberwolves became that internship.
“The [Examiner] was my first real experience,” Young said. “Then I had the internship with the Wolves which confirmed sports writing was something I enjoyed.” While confirming to Young what she should pursue after graduation, the road to a full-time sports writing job was longer than expected. Over the next five-plus years she worked in the ALPHA Center while doing freelance work on the side working for sports blogs and eventually the Minnesota Vikings. When a full-time position with the Vikings opened up, Young applied and was officially offered her current job of staff writer and assistant editor right before Thanksgiving in 2015.
Young has now worked for the Vikings for almost two years. “I love sports and that atmosphere. There’s energy, and it’s always changing and it’s exciting and fun,” she said. “I am really passionate about telling people’s stories.” The challenging aspect of working for a professional sports team can be the crazy schedule; however, Young added that it is challenging but rewarding. “I knew confidently that I wanted to do it. There’s an ebb and flow so it is easier when you know the offseason is less busy,” she said.
Young’s job has many roles which are different depending on the time of year. During the season, she is busy going to the Vikings’ practices, interviewing people, and writing stories. She also goes to press conferences and open media time. “I work on putting together stories, working with my editor, and transcribing interviews as well,” she added. During the offseason she also works full time but has different types of work.
To those interested in pursuing sports writing after college, Young had some advice: “Reach out to people to build work and content, and reach out to more than just the pro-level.” She met with people for informational interviews to learn about the sports writing field before being hired by the Vikings. Young added, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
She added that it is important to be detail-oriented and be good at interviewing and writing. Those skills can develop over time with more experience. “Treat interviews like a conversation and be a good listener. Let them guide the conversation and cut out questions if necessary,” Young said. “It is important to be a strong writer and build and improve on that over time.”
“There’s definitely a balance between being ready to work from the bottom up but also having enough integrity in your work to know that it is worth something,” she explained. “Don’t give up, continue to keep pushing through.”
UNW students tuning into Vikings games can now know that there is a Northwestern aluma working hard behind the scenes fulfilling her dreams and following her passions…and it all started with the Examiner.