Viner joins Journal staff
When Aaron Viner was watching sports as a child with his family and began giving play-by-play comments before the announcers, he didn’t realize that skill would carry him into a career as an adult.
Hailing from Eldridge, Viner said that he has always loved sports, but didn’t have the agility to participate. He attended North Scott High School where he competed on the speech and drama teams. Not wanting to give up sports, he decided to study broadcast so he would be able to give reports on games. He attended the Western Illinois University in Macomb, where he graduated in May with a degree in broadcasting with a minor in journalism.
Viner arrived at the Washington Evening Journal about four weeks ago. Since beginning, he has learned the passion of Demon supporters for their team.
Tell me about your background in journalism.
I got a lot of good experience when I was in college. Originally I went to college to become a play-by-play announcer for sports. I did a lot of that. I was one of the main announcers for the men’s basketball team for three years and I was an announcer for their Division 1 football team for a year. I did a lot of announcing. I saw that as more of a hobby. At the beginning of my sophomore year I started writing for the paper. I really started to enjoy it once the sports editor I had at the time left. He was awful. I ended up taking the assistant sports editor job the second semester of my junior year. My entire senior year I was the sports editor of the paper. I had basically a year and a half of sports editor experience. I was the main beat writer for the main basketball team and football team. I did a lot of traveling with the teams when I could.
Since you have been in Washington, what do you think?
I really enjoy it. The small town is something I am used to. It basically reminds me of Macomb if you took away the Division 1 University. Honestly, it is probably a little bigger than that. Macomb’s population was 20,000 but, 10,000 of that was from the University. It feels a lot like Macomb. My big thing is I have to go out and be social. I got used to having my own group of friends and not go out and meet people. Now I have to go out and meet people again.
What’s your favorite thing about Washington?
Right now the thing I found the most interesting is — I’ve only been at a few games — the passion the fans have here. They know a lot about what they are doing, and I am coming to realize that through all the people I have met. A lot of the parents are very involved and they know a lot about everyone on the team, not just their kid. I think that is very interesting.
What got you interested in sports communications?
That started at a young age. Growing up I always loved sports. I grew up in a sports family. My sister and my father both ran college cross-country. I was not gifted with athletic ability to play sports. I don’t have the coordination for that. I learned that when I was in elementary school. I wanted to stick around sports because I loved it. My mom actually suggested I go into announcing because I would be watching games and I would notice things like in formations. I’d say things right before the announcers would say it all the time. Mom said I should do that. I started thinking about it and I thought it would be really fun. I had a lot of experience in high school with performance and things like that. I did a lot of plays and musicals. I did speech team and made all state a couple of times. I knew I could talk well and I knew that I could translate that well into sports. If you can’t play, you might as well write about it.
What is the most important thing about covering sports?
My thing is whenever I go to a game — anyone can write a game story; they are pretty cut and dried because the big thing is what happened — the thing I feel you have to do is find the exciting thing. So a team one 5-1, great. What happened? Did someone only allow one hit? I’m speaking in baseball terms because that is what is going on now. Did someone strike out seven batters in a row? Something like that. There is a reason they say baseball is one of the most taxing beats. If you look at the majors, there are 162 games and there are going to be games where nothing happens. That is the trick — finding the hook. So there are 162 games; why do I care about game 52?
What are some of your hobbies?
I am a very big technology fan. I’m huge into video games and movies and TV. I probably watch too much of those. You can probably find me most nights binge watching Netflix and trying to find my new favorite sitcom or drama. I try to make sure to have two or three different shows going on at once so I can go in between each show. I find it fun to critique and make fun of movies a lot. I’m not sure why, but it is something that me and my friends have always done.
What does the future look like for you?
That’s a good question. A lot of that depends on opportunities. Right now I am not looking ahead too much. I am focused on getting established here. When I first got into journalism my first thought was to be a multimedia journalist — things you would see if you went to the Big 10 network Web sites. You see people doing spots on TV — and I have the ability to do that — but they don’t just go on TV. They write for the Web. They have to take pictures and post things on the Web. They have to cut and edit highlights. I’m a broadcast major, but also journalism, because I feel they go hand in hand. I’ve done news packages for my college newscast. You approach everything the same way. Long term, I would like to get into a business like that, where you get to use the news multimedia.