Each day, Chloe Pavlech lives out unusual dual realities. In one, she is a senior point guard for the highly ranked Maryland women's basketball team. In another, she's a student journalist in Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. So when the Terps held their annual media day on Tuesday, Pavlech was in a unique position: a journalist turned into a subject, surrounded by dozens of reporters – ostensibly just like her – there to pick her brain.
She graciously took a few minutes to talk about this strange dynamic and about how college athletes deal with the media in this big, strange ecosystem. Our conversation is lightly edited below for clarity:
Testudo Times: I've covered a couple of different Maryland teams, but I don't think I've ever covered a journalism major who plays sports for Maryland. What's media day like for you? Because you do media stuff. You're a journalism major. How does it feel for you to be interviewed in a basketball uniform instead of on the other side of the mic?
Chloe Pavlech: It's a lot of fun for me. And a lot of my teammates, they probably won't tell you this, but they're terrified of media day. Not that they don't like talking in front of the media, but they're not as comfortable, whereas me, I do this every day. So it's cool, but it's also weird, because I'm used to asking the questions instead of receiving them. So, you know, I have to polish and work on my answers.
TT: I think about this a lot, just doing sports media and being a journalism major. People who are being covered and the people who are covering them, there's kind of a weird disconnect there, that we don't always understand each other. Do you feel like that gap exists? Do you feel like journalists and the people we cover, particularly in sports, understand each other well enough?
CP: Honestly, I do feel like we understand each other, but I think it's very important for the media to make that connection with the players first. You and I, we just talked about how we both go to Maryland and we're both in the journalism school, so that's our connection there. Whereas if the media went to ask a player maybe about their family, or sort of get to know them on a personal level, I feel like that disconnect could be bridged.
TT: When you're doing journalism work, what's your experience in that field? What are your interests?
CP: Right now, I'm actually very passionate about broadcast journalism in general. I have to actually do a lot of stand-ups and practices. So we'll be at [basketball] practice sometimes, or after practice, and my teammates will still be shooting. And I'll have the camera out, and I'll be practicing my stand-ups, and they think it's funny to throw balls at me [laughing] and call me names and all this stuff, but it actually helps me, because some of that stuff actually happens in the real world.
TT: Especially in college athletics, there's a really big industry. Sports media's a huge thing and sort of feeds off the system and vice versa. Every athletic program has media staff and an apparatus in place to deal with that. Do you think it's easy enough for college athletes to navigate how to deal with the media and best represent themselves and their school?
CP: For us, luckily we have Rose DiPaula. She's our media relations director, and she teaches us everything we need to know with the media and how to talk to the media. And hopefully every other program has someone like Rose, because I think she's essential.
TT: Last thing: I know you're in broadcast. Have you done internships or capstones or anything like that?
CP: I did an internship with Comcast SportsNet in Bethesda this past summer, so it was hard to get a lot of experience, obviously, because of the season, but during the summers, I'm able to do it. Right now I'm in [Maryland journalism program] ViewFinder, so we were just at D.C. United last weekend and I got to anchor our show there. So I get practice here and there. Not as much as I'd like, but it'll come.
TT: Hey, you could cover Maryland women's basketball and get all kinds of scoops.
CP: That'd be cool.
The college sports media is an interesting field. Thanks to Pavlech for sharing a bit on what it looks like from another side.