Tell us about yourself:
Hi, my name is Sébastien Kraft. I am a French-American sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. Additionally, I am one of six news anchors for PSN News, a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy (PLA) and the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, and a scholar in the Schreyer Honors College. Further, I am a freelance writer for MarketScale, a company based in Dallas, Texas, as well as a former reporter for The Daily Collegian, and I love writing; thus, I ultimately consider myself a multiplatform journalist – at least, that’s what I put on my business card. I have also tentatively founded my own production company, S.C.R. Kraft Productions, which, while not yet incorporated or a “LLC,” is the label under which I now operate cinematically. Check out S.C.R. Kraft Productions on YouTube!
Why did you decide to pursue your involvement?
I think I have always wanted to work with people to deliberate and arrive at some sort of consensus about what the truth really is. It’s not about singling people out, but rather coming to understand and realize that different people have different priorities and concerns. As a journalist, the innate ability to synthesize numerous varying viewpoints is quite unique and powerful.
Why do you think your involvement is important and meaningful on campus?
I think my involvement speaks to the representation of Penn State students in reporting the news and “working in the gray,” as the PLA slogan states. For example, I wrote an article earlier this year for The Daily Collegian about students losing their campus discount at the Off the Ground coffee shop in Redifer Commons due to a partnership with Starbucks. Speaking honestly and directly with students and the administration in South Halls campus dining helped illustrate both sides of the issue and inform students of the advantages and downfalls of the new Starbucks location.
How does your work with the Curley Center for Sports Journalism allow you to use your gifts and talents?
My work with specifically the Curley Center for Sports Journalism allows me to create films and explore stories that may, at times, be outside the public limelight. For instance, my most recent short documentary (https://vimeo.com/373054914/68e3823908) addressed the slow emergence of a Team USA Olympic handball team prior to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, for which the U.S. possesses an automatic bid. Team handball is a fairly obscure sport stateside, and it was truly a pleasure interviewing the great athletes and human beings who persevere through the sport’s challenges. Two days ago, my handball film was accepted into the 2020 Dunedin (Florida) International Film Festival! I attended the 2019 edition of the festival thanks to a grant from the Schreyer Honors College, as a film I shot in Paris with Amnesty International (https://youtu.be/GD9vZTYkbLc) was also selected! Thus, whether it’s Schreyer, the Curley Center, PLA, or PSN News, this involvement serves as a gateway to countless opportunities!
How can journalism make a difference in this world and on campus?
I think journalistic reporting in general, whether for film festivals, PSN News, or the school paper, is essential because it is in fact a public service. For my handball doc, I interviewed a New York City team handball player from Kosovo. He told his story of growing up during the war and “living in constant crisis,” and how sports led him to surmount the obstacles he faced. It is these kinds of stories and my access to them that remind me I made the right choice in choosing journalism and coming to Penn State.
Anything to say for students who want to get involved with PLA, the Curley Center, or any of your other involvements?
Apply at will! Applications are open for PLA (academy.psu.edu) and through February 14 and the Curley Center and PSN News accept new students every semester. Don’t hesitate!