Daniel A. Nelson, 24, has been awarded the 2013-14 Otto J. Bos Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Journalism, helping the SF State student to reach his goal of carrying on a family tradition in sports journalism.
Nelson will become the 22nd recipient of the scholarship, which was created to honor the memory Otto J. Bos, a 1970 graduate of the Journalism Department who went on to become a government and politics reporter for The San Diego Union and then the chief press aide to Pete Wilson, who served as mayor of San Diego, a U.S. senator and then governor of California. Bos, who also had been an All-American soccer star in college, passed away of a heart attack in 1991.
Family, colleagues and friends created the scholarship to encourage and recognize meritorious students. The scholarship promises to cover tuition fees (currently approximately $6,450) for a full year at SF State and ranks as the department’s largest award.
Nelson transferred here in Fall 2012 from Santa Barbara City College, where he was sports editor for the campus newspaper The Channels. He will be the sports editor for the Golden Gate Xpress in Fall 2013. He expects to graduate in Spring 2014.
Nelson said the award will help him follow his parents into sports journalism. His father, John Nelson, was a sportswriter for the Associated Press in New York and Vice President of Fox Sports in Los Angeles. His mother, Jill Barnes-Nelson, also was a sports reporter with the Associated Press. Both parents now work as reporters for the Mojave Desert News in eastern Kern County, California.
“I guess it’s in my blood,” said Nelson. “They are really excited. I send them clips all the time.”
Nelson interns for Mets Merized Online, a website that focuses on New York Mets baseball. The sports site assigned him to cover the July 8-10 Mets-Giants series here.
In addition to enjoying athletic competition, Nelson said he is fascinated by the business side of sports and hopes to be able to investigate stories on the dollars and numbers that drive professional sports. As an example of the kind of story he would like to develop, Nelson cited an ESPN documentary called “Broke,” which showed that many successful athletes end up penniless because they lack the knowledge to manage their finances. “They might go to college, but they really don’t get an education,” he said. “And then they don’t get a financial adviser who can tell them how to spend their money.”
Scholarship applicants must submit an essay that “offers a coherent and well-organized analysis of the strengths, weaknesses or problems associated with news media performance.” Like many other students who applied for the scholarship, Nelson examined the positive and negative impact of Twitter and other social media on journalism. The judges singled out Nelson’s entry for his careful attribution of facts and statements, the strong organization of his essay and his use of “short, punchy sentences” and original phrases.
The scholarship judges all had close ties to Bos. They were: Former reporter/editor David Kutzmann, who studied at SF State with Bos and worked with him at The San Diego Union; Lynn Ludlow was one of Bos’ former instructors in the department; and Michael Grant, a former columnist at The San Diego Union. The scholarship committee is chaired by Prof. Jon Funabiki, who also went to school with Bos and worked with him at The San Diego Union.
Nelson shares a lineage of sorts with last year’s scholarship winner, Rhys Alvarado, who also attended Santa Barbara City College and worked on the The Channels newspaper before transferring to SF State. Alvarado will become editor of Xpress magazine next Fall.
Daniel Nelson's winning essay can be read by clicking the following link (PDF).