By: Matt Martyn
Upon entering the Diamondback newsroom any given evening, you can see student journalists working hard on stories and articles for the next day’s paper. You can feel a sense of constructive urgency and team comradery throughout the early evening hours and into the night, as writers and editors scribe out essential facts and opinions. For the seniors graduating in May, this is their last semester as part of the team here at the University of Maryland. They have worked their way up the ranks and now mentor the younger members of the team.
One such graduating senior is Aaron Kasinitz, editor for the sports section of the Diamondback. Kasinitz developed an interest in journalistic writing at a young age; as his reading level matured, so did his desired content.
Calling nearby Montgomery County his home, Kasinitz grew up reading articles from The Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. He participated in recreational sports leagues, like baseball and basketball, gaining knowledge in athletics. As he neared his decision to attend the University of Maryland, his interests only intensified.
Upon entrance, Kasinitz applied to be a writer for the Diamondback but the paper denied him admittance. His efforts didn’t waiver, however, and he made it his goal to earn the position. In order to gain outside experience, he began writing for his local paper, the Montgomery County Sentinel, during the winter of his freshman year.
As a multimedia freelance reporter for the Sentinel, Kasinitz gained valuable journalistic experience, reporting and writing about local baseball and lacrosse teams. After writing for the Sentinel for almost a year, Kasinitz made the bold move to apply to the Diamondback again, but this time with professional clips under his belt. His resilient work paid off, as he received a warm welcome to the team in the first semester of his sophomore year.
As a first-year sportswriter for the newspaper, Kasinitz reported on the volleyball team. As he progressed as a journalist, the Diamondback promoted him to senior staff writer less than a year later, in May of 2013. In this position, he acquired more responsibilities in the newsroom. He even began writing for the larger sports programs, such as the football and basketball teams. Since his promotion, Kasinitz has written a surplus of stories ranging from Maryland’s journey into the Big 10 conference to more recent stories about Melo Trimble’s and Jake Layman’s decisions to return for the 2015-16 basketball season.
Just last summer, Kasinitz interned as a full-time reporter for The Oregonian, a news outlet that covers stories in the more populated cities in Oregon. During his four-month internship, Kasinitz wrote nearly 12 stories a week. His most popular work includes his coverage of the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and a lengthy story on a quaint boxing gym in the river-bound city of Portland.
Kasinitz’s exceptional work about one of the few female boxing trainers in the world, Chelsea McConnell, reigns as one of his best pieces. Other Oregonian staff members believed that this gym, run by McConnell, was not interesting enough for a profile, but Kasinitz persisted. Instead of giving up on the story, he created a detailed narrative describing the gym’s operations and its frequent visitors. Writing a heartwarming 2,500-word piece, Kasinitz shined light on a hidden gem in the city.
Now, Kasinitz is the sports editor for the Diamondback. Climbing the ranks to this position means he now governs a team of sportswriters and assigns stories. Instructing and teaching, he edits the stories these writers produce, fixing any grammatical errors and polishing sentences prior to publishing.
The senior multiplatform journalism major has certainly left his mark here at the university, receiving awards and venerations from multiple organizations for his work. The Sam Lacey-Wendell Smith Awards Luncheon, hosted by the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, honored Kasinitz as an “All-Star Student.”
“It was a great experience,” Kasinitz said. “It’s an honor to be mentioned with other great journalists like Rhiannon Walker and James Brown,” two other award-winning students.
Kasinitz prefers to take the humble route with his work and does not regard his awards as the best part of the job.
“My favorite part about working for the Diamondback is being able to come into the newsroom every night and work with my friends,” he said. The newsroom kindled numerous friendships for Kasinitz, as he collaborates daily with those who possess his same interests.
Although Kasinitz isn’t sure what he will do upon graduating this May, his future looks bright. The journalist already has an internship set up at PA Media Group for the summer. The 12-week program will help him gain even more writing experience as he begins his career. Kasinitz demonstrates there is always a story to be found, and he is truly an outstanding member of the Diamondback newspaper here at the University of Maryland.