Every week, Syracuse University professor Aileen Gallagher helps Longreads highlight the best of college journalism. Here’s this week’s pick:

Americans spend a lot of time with sports, so “healing power of sports” stories that elevate games beyond, well, games, have an undeniable appeal. But sports writing, when trying to transcend its subject matter, can run a little purple. Combine a sports-as-life story with a national tragedy, and you risk drowning your subjects in overwrought prose. With that in mind, there is much to admire in Isabelle Khurshudyan’s story on ESPN.com about a youth sports camp in Newtown, Conn. Kurshudyan, a student at the University of South Carolina who wrote this as a summer intern, demonstrates impressive restraint and respect for her subjects and their experience by letting them do the talking. Her straightforward, spare approach to writing gives the piece its own gravity.

Newtown Youth Sports: A New Normal

Isabelle Khurshudyan | ESPN | 13 minutes (3,309 words)


Professors and students: Share your favorite stories by tagging them with #college #longreads on Twitter, or email links to aileen@longreads.com.