By REBECCA ISENHART
SCHENECTADY — If you’ve noticed a streak of especially detailed sports coverage over the past couple of weeks in Your Niskayuna, we have excellent news: You can expect it to continue.
In late December, sports reporter Michael Kelly joined The Daily Gazette to contribute stories to Your Niskayuna, as well as a new Gazette publication, Your Clifton Park.
With four years’ experience as a sports writer at the Amsterdam Recorder and a love for writing features about inspiring athletes, Kelly’s work promises to keep readers both informed and entertained when it comes to local sports.
“I want to tell people stories about the athletes they’re watching when they go to the games, and make people feel closer to them,” he said.
Kelly has been a sports fan for life, rooting for the New York Yankees and Giants, as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates. He grew up in Clifton Park with his parents and his older sister, Caitie. Kelly played basketball at Shenendehowa High School until he graduated in 2006, and also played some baseball growing up.
Sports were always a part of Kelly’s life, but the journalistic aspect of his career came later, while studying at Stony Brook University on Long Island.
“I was a math major for one semester,” Kelly said. “I ended up taking a bunch of writing classes and joined the newspaper. I fell in love with writing, not numbers.”
At the Stony Brook Independent, the student newspaper at his college, Kelly covered sports and the school budget, a responsibility that fell to him because of his semester of math study. He graduated in 2010 with dual bachelors of arts in journalism and history.
At the Recorder, his first full-time job, he started out as a general news reporter, but quickly shifted back to sports.
Inside the game
Whether writing about a basketball game or a wrestling match, Kelly said he enjoys focusing on small but interesting moments of games, as well as providing context about teams, athletes and coaches.
“I like to write about why things happened and how they happened,” he said. “I like to write sports that my mom could read and get to the end.”
That strategy has been a successful one for Kelly, who won New York State Associated Press Association awards in 2012 and 2013.
The first was the Mike Hendricks Young Journalist of the Year Award; the second was first place in features for publications under 15,000 readers.
Kelly said the award-winning feature, a profile of a track star with a tough childhood, was one of the most enjoyable stories he’s written. Its title was “Easy does it: How Izaiah Brown put it together, one piece at a time.”
As a member of The Daily Gazette team, Kelly said his goal is to continue to improve daily as a writer and reporter, while also helping community members feel closer to the players on their favorite local sports teams.
If you’d like to send Michael a news tip about a sports team or athlete in the Niskayuna or Clifton Park areas, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 518-560-0553.