Orange Fizz bubbles with Newhouse pride

By Debbie Lechtman

May 10, 2012

Alum’s website/blog pops with student input

Being an Orange fan has no expiration date. Just ask Damon Amendolara, an ‘01 broadcast journalism alumnus and founder of the popular sports blog Orange Fizz. What began as a small personal online journal in 2008 has now grown into a website that receives an average of 200,000 hits per month, employs numerous Newhouse students, hosts its own radio show at The Score 1260 on Saturdays from 9-10 a.m. and gets press credentials to Syracuse University football, basketball and lacrosse games – including those in the Big East and NCAA tournaments.

“I was working in Miami at the time, so I started Orange Fizz as a way to reconnect with Syracuse and be a part of the SU community again,” Amendolara says. “There were tons of these types of websites popping up, so I wanted to join in.”

Student writers pump up the Fizz

According to Amendolara, the website owes its success to its staff of student writers, all of whom are current students or soon-to-be alums. He decided to expand the blog when he started getting so many hits from passionate Syracuse fans that he felt he could no longer handle the blog by himself. He contacted a couple of students that he knew and asked if they would like to write for the website. From there, Orange Fizz only grew. In fact, at the past Elite Eight game against Ohio State, the blog had a high school senior and future SU student reporting from Cincinnati.

Dave Van Moffaert, a senior broadcast journalism major and Orange Fizz staff writer, says that working for Amendolara has given him real life broadcasting experience that he would not be able to get elsewhere. “I’ve hosted one show [on Orange Fizz Radio], and it’s a real professional radio station, compared to a student run radio station like WAER. [Orange Fizz] gives SU students a huge opportunity,” Van Moffaert says. “It’s definitely something to beef up our resumes.”

According to Van Moffaert, Orange Fizz has even established itself as somewhat of an authority come recruiting season. “We call football’s National Signing Day ‘Fizzmas,’” he says. “It’s kind of a play on Christmas for us. We get so many hits that day.”

“It’s really the students that have been the catalyst behind Orange Fizz,” Amendolara says. “In some ways, it’s less of a blog and more of a long form website. Our aspiring journalists at Newhouse are incredibly talented.”