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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Teacher reports on WNBA

Cohen+gives+coaching+advice+to+girls+varsity+basketball+team+during+their+rivalry+match+against+Berman.
Jordan Levy
Cohen gives coaching advice to girls varsity basketball team during their rivalry match against Berman.

For the past two years Matt Cohen, history teacher and assistant girls basketball coach, has been to almost every Washington Mystics home game. Cohen has now been a reporter for Winsidr, a website that reports on the WNBA, for three seasons and has written over 60 articles

Cohen was introduced to the founder and CEO of Winsidr, Aryeh Schwartz, by Director of Athletics Becky Silberman after Schwartz mentioned he was looking for a beat writer for the Mystics. Based on previous conversations with him, Silberman knew Cohen would be enthusiastic about and qualified for the job and what it entailed.

“I know how passionate he is about the WNBA and I know how knowledgeable he is,” Silberman said. “He was interested immediately.”

As a reporter for Winsidr, Cohen writes articles and serves as a media member (someone who has access to players and coaches before and after games for interviews). Some of Cohen’s articles focus on specific players, within and outside of the Mystics while others are more statistic based. 

For human interest stories, the first step is an interview with a player or coach, while for others, like mock player drafts (a guess of recruitment of players to different teams), Cohen spends hours doing research on the topic, such as watching film or finding background on players, before beginning to write. 

“A lot of people will do the bare minimum,” Schwartz said. “…There’s so many more facets to things and I think [Cohen] does a really good job of instead of just scratching the surface, really digging in there.”

Because of his role as a reporter, Cohen has had to learn to balance his work as a reporter with his obligations as a teacher and coach. He prioritizes grading, meeting with students and lesson planning, while still writing an average of four articles a month. He primarily finds the time on weekends and at night.

“I don’t want to be distracted,” Cohen said.  “I want to be able to focus on what I’m doing, and I want to be able to give 110% to what I’m doing.[It’s important to] be consistent with your time, be consistent with how long things take you… If you’re going to be committed to the process you want to make sure that you’re giving yourself that time to do it.”

Before starting his work for Winsidr, Cohen had no previous experience as a journalist, so when applying for the position he was unsure about how qualified he was compared to other applicants. As a history teacher, Cohen knows the basics of writing and how to write a persuasive piece, but before 2022 had never written an article. Cohen also appreciates the opportunity to integrate his coaching skills into his articles.  

“I really love writing,” Cohen said. “I love that there are casual fans out there who like the way I break some stuff down. … And so one of the things that I’ve really enjoyed is really being able to tap into the coaching side of things and looking at X’s and O’s and what kind of systems different teams are running offensively or defensively.”

According to Cohen, it’s important to share these athletes’ stories so others not only know who these women are as players, but also as people. As a fan, Cohen was already interested in and dedicated to the WNBA before becoming a reporter. Cohen says he is glad that his work has an impact on the league and the players themselves. 

“I don’t take for granted the fact that [I get to go to games],” Cohen said. “I have this access to talk to players, talk to coaches… and [I] get a chance to really tell the stories as honestly as I can. It’s awesome.”

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Jordana Dauber
Jordana Dauber, Reporter

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