Erin Fish G’18 covers Women’s World Cup in Uruguay

by Peter Benson

January 17, 2019

The television, radio and film graduate was one of 16 students selected for young reporters program

Erin Fish G'18
Erin Fish G'18

Erin Fish G’18 had to stop playing soccer in college due to injuries, but after she graduated from the television, radio and film master’s program last spring, she got an opportunity to revisit her passion for the sport by covering the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay as part of the International Sports Press Association’s (AIPS) Young Reporters Program. Fish was one of 16 reporters chosen to participate in the program, which combined classroom training and live tournament coverage.

“This was almost like an internship,” Fish says. “You wake up and you learn but then you go out and apply yourself. The great part about this was that there were mentors that were overseeing us along the way.”

We caught up with Fish to ask her about the experience.

What did it feel like once you knew you were going?

I was so excited. I got to go cover a FIFA World Cup! That's pretty cool. I needed to be prepared for everything. I made little flash cards for myself. I was trying to be as prepared as possible because I was going to a new country. I knew nothing about the country so I was trying to figure out everything I could about that. I made myself a little travel notebook and prepared a player notebook. That was my life for a good few weeks.

What was your favorite part?

The people that I was around. There were 16 of us from all different countries and then three different mentors from different countries as well. It's unreal the cultural aspect, how different things can be. We got into touchy subjects in the classroom environment and we were able to communicate with each other and share openly our thoughts and our opinions and what's right and wrong culturally. It was such an eye-opening experience. I felt like I was in my own little bubble because I was from America. And I really was.

What were some of the challenges?

This is going to sound cliché but myself. I battled myself over everything, confidence-wise. Doing the right thing. Growing as an individual and as a reporter. In the three weeks, I think I grew a lot. The mentors were all completely different. They all brought different sides out of me. One was extremely sweet and gave good advice and really helped me with my writing. One was really motivating. The other one was just brutal. Brutally honest all the time. He just expected so much out of me. But it pushed me. I learned from that. 

You won an award for Best Young Reporter at the tournament. Was that a surprise?

I didn't think I was going to win. I thought I was going to come in third cause that's where I was throughout the majority of it. There were these two reporters that were really, really good. They're older than me and have a lot of experience. I thought that they were both going to win. At the end, I made a short movie because they asked me to do it. I pulled an all-nighter. That was what put me over the edge, I guess.

How did Newhouse prepare you to cover the tournament?

I think Newhouse prepares you so much for the journalism world. I was one of the top reporters in the program because of what Newhouse had taught me. You learn so much from your professors at Newhouse and they just prepare you for being able to actually put yourself out there and cover a real-life sporting event. It was a really cool experience to share that with everyone else. Newhouse definitely gave me an advantage over other people.

How has this opportunity prepared you for your career?

If anything, it's given me the confidence to know that I can do it. When I look back on what I just did, I just covered a World Cup. I got to travel to a different country for three weeks and live with people from all different countries. It was the kind of experience that not a lot of people get to do. When I think about what I just did, I have to remind myself how awesome it was. I have to be like 'Wow, that was really cool. Give yourself a break.'

Peter Benson is a graduate student in the magazine, newspaper and online journalism program at the Newhouse School.