Some students get lucky and fall into college clubs or activities. Jake Shindel is one of them — sort of.
The 6-foot 4-inch, 20-year-old junior at Towson University graduated high school in 2020, the “lost” year (and especially, the “lost” spring) due to the start of COVID-19. A friend put him in touch with someone who did a podcast and wrote a sports column for the college paper, “The Towerlight.” Soon, Shindel took over with podcasts on basketball and football, and then went on to continue the column, “All Net.”
Today, he serves as both senior editor and sports editor. (He noted taking journalism electives in his junior and senior years of high school, too.)
Shindel grew up in Ellicott City, Md., attended Mount Hebron High School and was a member of Temple Isaiah in nearby Fulton. The oldest of three boys (his youngest brother is a freshman in high school, and his other brother is a freshman at the University of Maryland), he went to Hebrew school, had a bar mitzvah and was confirmed.
On campus, Shindel has gone to Hillel events, Chanukah menorah-lightings and Shabbat dinners sponsored by different organizations, including the Jewish fraternity AEPi. In a twist, he agreed to be on the other side of the coin—a member of the press talking to the press.
Explain your draw to journalism. What is it that you like about writing, editing, taking photos?
I enjoy journalism because it forces me to be up to date on what is going on in the world at an international level, a national level, the state level and the local level. I like talking and meeting new people, and journalists are some of the most unique people you will meet.
What was the most interesting or influential story you wrote or edited?
Over the summer, I had an internship with “The Daily Record” (in Maryland), and I did a story about how MTA ridership was still struggling to recover since the pandemic. I
talked to my mentor a couple of days later, and he said that my article was mentioned
in a Maryland Department of Transportation meeting. I noticed that the Associated Press (AP) wire service, “U.S. News & World Report” and other outlets posted follow-ups to my story, hyperlinking it in their articles.
How has something you have written been received on campus? Have you gotten reader feedback?
Currently, I am working with our editor-in-chief and our photo editor about the club Turning Point USA, which has a chapter at Towson. It hosted two controversial speakers on campus, and then racist and homophobic text messages from their group chat were leaked. The series of articles that we are still in the process of releasing has gained lots of followers on Instagram and thousands of views on our website.
Why do you think so many Jewish men and women are attracted to the media, especially the written word?
Maybe because the percentage of Jews in the United States is very low. Written media is a prime way of getting your voice heard, and letting your opinions and work be seen by many people. As a result, I think many Jews gravitate towards the media.
Where do you expect your journalistic work will land you in the future?
I hope to have a job where I can cover sports all the time. Whether it’s with ESPN, The Athletic (a subscription-based sports website providing national and local coverage), local newspapers in a sports market or any other media outlet, I would love the opportunity to cover a specific NBA or NFL team, and be involved with the ins and outs of their processes and games.
Name your favorite sports team(s) and why.
My list is a bit weird. I am an Eagles fan when it comes to football because my mom was born near Philadelphia. I’m an Orioles fan for baseball because my dad is from Baltimore. I don’t follow hockey too much, but for basketball, I am a Clippers fan. I felt it would have been unfair to side with Philadelphia for basketball because Baltimore doesn’t have an NBA team.