Palmerton grad follows his love for sportswriting at Penn State
Tyler King knows what he wants to do with his occupational life, and he’s already doing it.
The former Palmerton Area High School award-winning scholar and current senior at Penn State University is an emerging sports journalist who has already built quite a resume for himself.
“I wasn’t much of a sports fan at first,” he said, “but then I became one, and since I also love to write, I thought it was a perfect match for me.”
Making his mark
At Palmerton, King ran cross-country, and in 2016, he played on the only District Champion baseball team in school history. He also became a member of the school newspaper staff and worked his way up to editor-in-chief during his senior year.
“Although I read strictly the sports pages, I got exposed on a larger scale how important journalism is to society in general.”
Climbing the ladder
During his first year of college, King joined the staff of the Daily Collegian, an independently published newspaper by students at PSU with a circulation of 2,000.
“I was assigned to cover the freshmen wrestling team. My younger brother wrestled, so I knew enough to get by.”
As a sophomore, King covered the Nittany Lion girls’ volleyball and the men’s basketball teams. At the start of his junior year, he moved over to write about the football team. He has also interned with the Times News former managing sports editor, Ed Hedes.
“I knew Tyler from his childhood days, and just like his two younger brothers, he was always into sports,” recalled Hedes. “I read some of his stuff he wrote for the Palmerton newspaper, and I knew journalism was perfect fit for him.”
King took another step up when he was covering the PSU football team.
“Football gets year-round coverage,” he remarked. “I then applied for the football editor’s position and was put in charge of four other writers.”
King moved to the top step of the ladder when he recently applied and was appointed managing editor of the Collegian, one of three executive editors of the publication. Along with that responsibility, he covers Penn State football for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Covering the big events
Sportswriting often requires the coverage of major events, and King certainly has gotten opportunities to travel for assignments with the Collegian.
As an independent study project, King is currently writing feature stories about players and teams in the Little League World Series at Williamsport.
“The Elizabeth Troopers from New Jersey were named after Thomas Hanratty, a state trooper who was gunned down after a traffic stop in 1992,” King said. “He had played Little League Baseball in Elizabeth.”
Baseball coaching strategy was another interesting story for King when he discovered how the team from Virginia managed the number of pitches their kids threw in a game.
“Little League has a pitch count rule that requires a pitcher to have one day rest if he should throw more than 20 pitches in a game. Virginia, who has made it to the United States semi finals, has used all their pitchers in every game, because they never exceeded the daily count.”
King also had the opportunity to cover Penn State in the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York and their football team, which lost in the Citrus Bowl played last December in Florida.
“For a big program like Penn State that tries to compete for national championships, the Citrus Bowl was a nice event, but not the kind of high-level game they have played during their storied history.”
King has experienced his share of criticism when he has offered his written opinions, especially about Penn State football when they’re not playing well or he may think they should improve other aspects of the program.
“The Collegian is not directly affiliated with the university, so we can publicly criticize the sports teams,” King said. “Of course, everything that is written goes through the executive editors before it gets to print.”
Some of King’s written opinions about the football team have been criticized on the PSU Facebook page.
“You kind of know that you’re going to get some readers upset when you say this or that about the team. You just deal with it because it comes with the job.”
The love of his labor
When asked about what he likes to do during his free time away from his studies and his work at the Collegian, King offered a simple and direct answer.
“I don’t have free time by choice.”
He works his passion all of his time now and he doesn’t see much of a change in what his future may have for him.
“I really don’t have any other future goals other than to get a job in journalism and do what I love to do.”
“He’s got quite the knowledge of every sport,” said Hedes, “and I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.”
Expect to see Tyler King’s byline under the headlines of many sports stories for years to come.