Oct. 16, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Association continues tradition to aid aspiring writers
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ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association awarded two scholarships to students attending college this year, with both recipients pursuing goals of becoming a sportswriter.

Receiving the scholarships were Bennett Durando of Webster Groves, Mo. and Kylee Golden of Phoenix, Ariz.

Durando, a freshman in the School of Journalism Honors College at the University of Missouri, was selected to receive a $4,000 scholarship, with $1,000 given annually for four years to the son or daughter of a USBWA member. Durando is the son of St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Stu Durando and former sportswriter Elizabethe Holland.

Durando credits his experience as sports editor and reporter of his high school student newspaper, the ECHO, as key to developing skills as a sports journalist. "I became a vocal leader," Durando said. "I frequently advised staffers how to get informative quotes out of interviews, to write with journalistic style and creativity, and to report accurately and meaningfully."

He received numerous awards for his writing from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. He also won a scholarship from the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference and was selected to participate in a national conference in Washington, D.C.

"Bennett has great potential to be an effective and enthusiastic leader in the journalistic field," wrote his English teacher at Webster Groves, Kristin Moore. "He is a young man with exceptional integrity, and he is committed to reporting fairly and reasonably."

Durando said his love for journalism and community stretched beyond school hours. He helped out as a counselor for a youth journalism camp, hoping their experience at the camp sparked an appreciation for journalism.

He also served as a volunteer in several community-fundraising and service projects while in school.

"I hope to become a better leader and citizen at Mizzou and as a professional journalist," he said. "I believe we need strong journalism now more than ever, and that supporting it is something good citizens should do."

Golden, a freshman at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, won a $1,000 scholarship for her feature on Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss and two childhood friends who traveled to Phoenix for this past year's NCAA Final Four. Golden's story was judged the best entry in the USBWA's Full Court Press sports journalism seminar and scholarship competition during the Final Four.

"It was during one of the press conferences, and Williams-Goss was talking about his two childhood best friends who came all the way to watch him play," Golden wrote. "I just got the idea that would be a good angle to get his friends that have been there with him through this entire process and now see their best friend in the Final Four."

Golden called the friends of Williams-Goss and wrote a story that incorporated a connection to his youth and offered personal insight into one of the biggest players on college basketball's biggest stage. Christi Britt, Golden's journalism teacher at Horizon Honors Secondary School in Phoenix, had high praise for her student.

"Kylee has what it takes to be successful in anything," Britt said. "Her initiative, drive, and love of learning will make her a key player in any field. She knows how to write a good article. She asks the right questions, sees through a fresh, original lens, and has a way of capturing the essence of a moment." Golden said she doesn't have a favorite writer, but reads the work of several writers to gain a better perspective.

Golden has verbally committed to playing lacrosse at Chatham University in Pittsburgh where she plans to continue working toward her goal of becoming a sportswriter.

"I don't know if I want to stay in one specific sport," Golden said. "I love sports in general. It's been a part of my life for my entire life. I want to be a sports journalist. It's something that I'm interested in. I love writing it."

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.