Benjamin Simon Capstone


For my capstone, I expanded upon my website called The Empire, which covers college basketball in Philadelphia. When I first started The Empire with my co-founder William Derry, who graduated from SLA one year ago, we had to design a website and create a domain. We also had to find a way to create a following. That started with contacting media representatives at each college to secure press credentials. This way we could interview players and coaches, attend games as media, participate in press conferences, and seize all of the opportunities regular media members have. As a result, we were able to better compete with other sites covering college basketball. 

Over the past year, I’ve continued working on the site and using our press credentials to attend events as media, which were expanded this year. While in our first year we could only go to Penn and St. Joe’s games, this year we secured press credentials at Drexel, La Salle, and Temple. We created a YouTube channel and additionally established a GoFundMe page to help increase resources for the site in the future. Throughout the maturation of the site, I’ve learned about writing, professionalism, and the in’s and out’s of being a true sports journalist. Creating and editing content on near weekly basis has given me constant practice. I’ve also had to learn how to write professional emails and act properly in media events. I’m excited to continue building The Empire as the city's go-to college basketball sites. 


Anderson, Monica, and Andrea Caumont. "How social media is reshaping news." Pew Research Center. N.p., 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 02 Feb. 2017. <>.

The article is used to understand the ways in which social media is redefining news circulation. The article displays the modern day use of social media in multiple different formats, providing clear infographics, data, and words. It is clearly labeled and touches on a couple topics, including the comparison between varying social media sites, the use of news in social media, and how social media affects the news. The article provides details when to post articles, where to post articles, and how to post articles in order to get the best circulation on social media. The Pew Research Center is a highly regarded group that consistently completes fantastic research. 

Barca, Jerry. "Benjamin Simon Interview with Jerry Barca." Telephone interview. 15 Feb. 2016.

Jerry Barca, a sports journalist for Forbes, completed an interview with me where he spoke about what is expected of journalists who cover college athletics. What are they allowed to do? What aren’t they allowed to do? Where is the line drawn? He has been around the business for awhile and was able to share a lot of his experiences in the interview. Barca is a highly regarded journalist who has written multiple books about sports, including one about the Notre Dame football team in the 1980s. He is an expert on college athletics and has dealt with them since he was in college himself. 

BBC Academy. YouTube. YouTube, 26 Oct. 2015. Web. 02 Feb. 2017. <>.

The video gives multiple vantage points for the listener to learn about interview techniques. Throughout the video, a narrator explains the skills that he uses as an interview and he then shows examples from his own interviews. The video flashes from the narrator speaking about the techniques he equips with actual interviews to scenes from BBC’s newsroom, where the journalists are having a meeting. The source gives an opinion of interviewing  principles. Instead of reading a source, it was interesting to actually listen to someone’s opinions and hear them put those skills to work in an interview. It helped to visualize and understand how professional journalists navigate through interviews. The video was created by BBC, one of the world’s leading news outlets. They are very successful and it is a result of strong interviews. Their opinion is credible. 

Crichton Danny, Ben Christel, Aaditya Shidham, Alex Valderrama, and Jeremy Karmel. Journalism in the Digital Age. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017. <>.

The site focuses on how journalism was once widely recognized as the “fourth estate” of government and how it has changed over the past centuries. It provides an idea of how media needs to progress with the new landscape while also giving background on media’s history over the past century. Where is journalism headed? How can new websites be designed to match that? It is important to understand the trend of journalism before diving head first into it. Written in a scholarly tone, the site was created by students at Stanford and is full of fantastic information that shows its trustworthiness and well researched aspects.

DeMers, Jayson. "50 Free Ways To Increase Your Twitter Followers." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 17 June 2015. Web. 02 Feb. 2017. <>.

One of the most important aspects of running a website is having a strong social media following. Twitter is especially significant in the journalism world. In order to build a website in today’s world, a social media presence is imperative. The site was used to help brainstorm ways to better The Empire’s reach on social media. The more followers that a website has on their Twitter page, the more circulation that their articles can receive. The cited article was released by Forbes, one of the most well known business magazines in the world. The author, Jayson DeMers, is a former CEO and founder of a marketing firm. Reliability was not in question when reading the aritcle as it was clear that DeMers had a clear sense of how to build a Twitter brand. 

Feinstein, John. The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry. N.p.: Penguin Random House, n.d. Print. 

One of John Feinstein’s most recent books, The Legend’s Club, documents the story behind the historic rivalry between North Carolina coach Dean Smith, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, and North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano. The book gave an in-depth view into college basketball and how it operates. It also displayed how good research has to be done and how to craft a well researched story. The book was written by John Feinstein, who is highly regarded sportswriter, and has written 35 books with two New York Times best sellers. He was also a student at Duke and writer for the school newspaper when Smith, Krzyzewski, and Valvano were coaching. He is very knowledgeable on college athletics and has been around the game for multiple decades. 

Gelb, Zach. "Benjamin Simon Interview with Zach Gelb." Telephone interview. 25 Mar. 2016.

Zach Gelb completed an interview with myself. Gelb is a former WHIP radio host and student journalist for the Temple media outlets, During the conversation, Gelb provided ideas about how to deal with being a journalist covering college athletics. Different than Barca, Gelb is younger and at the time of the interview, he was just finishing his work with the Temple athletics. Temple is one of the teams that The Empire covers, so he was able to specifically reference how to handle working with the Temple athletics department. He also knew how to navigate the newly changing landscape of journalism because of his youth. He provided ideas of how to attract followers, connect with sports information directors, and create connections with other journalists. Gelb is definitely a reliable source which is backed up by his large following and extensive experience journalism experience.

"How to Write a Profile Feature Article." Student Voices. New York Times, 1999. Web. 2 Feb. 2017. <>.

Writing a feature article is a great way to capture someone or something’s story. In this article, the New York Times captures different ways journalists should go about writing basic feature articles. It gives 14 bullet point tips, along with a longer explanation in paragraph form at the end of the post. The article gives a really clear set up about how journalists should go about writing feature story. The New York Times is one of the world’s most trusted media outlets. They are well respected and have a long track record of success. Although the article was created in 1999 and journalism has since changed, the basics of how to write a feature story is still the same. This source is clear cut, easy to understand, and one of the most direct teachings on feature articles available online. 

Mencher, Melvin. News Reporting and Writing. 8th ed. N.p.: Mcgraw-Hill College, 1999. Print.

The book’s chapter on interview principles provided clear information about how to do a strong interview. It starts with a fictional story about man who is trying to quotes for a good article from a poor interviewee. Throughout the chapter, the author explains the rules interviewers are expected to abide by. The book is used to gather tips about how to create the best article from an interview. It also explains the distinction between interviews for feature articles and news articles. The book is full of great information and is referenced on many sites, including Columbia’s School of Journalism, as a source for learning about journalism techniques. The author of the book, Melvin Mencher, is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and was teacher at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism for 28 years.  

"Social Media." NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2017. <>.

One of the most important aspects of journalism today is social media use. This cited source specifically documents the different guidelines that NPR staff members are expected to follow for social media. It is important to read and understand the NPR social media ethics handbook as an aspiring journalist because it gives clear instructions as to how to handle social media. Although not everyone is a staff worker for NPR, it is helpful to view the expectations that they hold their writers to. This site gives great insight to the do’s and dont’s for their journalists on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other networks. NPR is one of the country’s most trusted media outlets. It’s legitimacy and track record is a product of how they compile guidelines like the one here.