Joe Gisondi
Introduction Education & Training Conference Presentations Community Publications Funding & Grants Frequently Taught Courses Research & Creative Interests Professional Affiliations Update your profile

Joe Gisondi

Professor of Journalism Office: 1835 - Buzzard Hall
Phone: 217-581-6003


Office hours for Spring 2024:  MW 1:45-3 p.m.
T 3:30-5 p.m.

I worked at several newspapers across Florida for more than 20 years, mostly in sports – Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today, Clearwater Sun, Fort Myers News-Press – before coming to Eastern in 2002. I taught for six years at Valencia Community College where the student newspaper earned three national ACP Pacemaker Awards, four regional ACP awards, and numerous state awards. At Eastern, I advised the Daily Eastern News from 2004-08 during which it also earned several national ACP Pacemaker Award nominations for its print and online editions, winning the online category once. I teach primarily reporting and sports media courses. The second edition of the Field Guide To Covering Sports, a text used in college classrooms across the country, was released by SAGE Publishing in 2017. The University of Nebraska Press published my nonfiction book, Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot, about people who investigate sasquatch all across America in December 2015.  I have also been co-host for a sports media podcast at WEIU-FM for the past two years. Check out my sports media website as well.

I am also the co-publisher/editor of, a website that focuses on local athletics off-campus -- primarily high school, community college and youth sports where students can get hands-on experience writing features and game stories, can cover beats and can develop multimedia skills.

I recommend those interested in sports media take advantage of the multiple hands-on experiences here at Eastern. Besides Coles County Sports, students can cover college athletics for both the Daily Eastern News and WEIU-TV's nightly NewsWatch, can write features for the yearbook (Warbler) and can develop play-by-play skills through WEIU-FM and other area stations. Plus, we have sports media major and minor options. EIU enables students to immerse in sports media through various outlets and courses.

Education & Training

Master of Fine Arts, Creative Nonfiction, Spalding University
Master of Arts, Literature, University of Central Florida
Bachelor of Arts, English, University of South Florida

Conference Presentations

I help with two national college sports journalism workshops, in Nashville, Tenn., and Minneapolis. Additionally, I have presented more than 80 sessions at the following national, state or regional conferences – Journalism Educators Association National High School Journalism Convention, College Media Advisers, JEA regional conference, Illinois College Press Association, Texas Center for Community Journalism, and Illinois Community College Journalism Association. Here are some of the session titles – “Writing Sports Profiles,” “How To Write Visually,” “Covering Games for Print and Online,” "How To Ask Questions That Relly Count," “Covering & Blogging Prep Sports,” "Lead Writing," “Invigorating Your Sports Section,” “Keeping Score: Developing A Game Plan,” “Writing Second-Day Game Stories,” “Writing Sports Profiles,” “Blogging Sports,” “‘Virtual’ Football Coverage,” “So You Want To Write A Textbook,” and “How to Invigorate Your Sports Section,” "How To Critique Your Publication," "Writing Game Stories Worth Reading."


former board member, Charleston Futbol Club


Wrote Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot (University of Nebraska Press), published December 2015.

Wrote The Field Guide to Covering Sports (Congressional Quarterly Press/Sage Publications). second edition published in August 2017.

Developed interactive webinar for the Poynter Institute's News University entitled “Introduction to Sports Reporting.”

Wrote chapter on Hope Solo in Athletes Breaking Bad: Essays on Transgressive Sports Figures, which is available July 7, 2020.

Wrote chapter published in The Tiger Woods Phenomenon: Essays on the Cultural Impact of Golf's Infallible Superman.

Wrote essay entitled "Title IX Needed Now More Than Ever," published in The Contemporary Reader, 11th edition, by Pearson.

Wrote series of stories on Illinois Route 1 that were published in the Decatur Herald & Review (summer 2013) – "Danville stadium and its team part of rich baseball heritage," "Ferry shuttles commuters, and a few Asian carp, from Illinois to Kentucky," "A storeowner and a biker continue to navigate life's obstacles," "Story seekers visit final resting place of accused witch and killer," "Proud veteran helps care for courthouse in deflated downtown," "Bill Cobb offers up produce and wisdom from his roadside stand."

Co-wrote chapter entitled "Relating To Student Media" published in The Resource Handbook for Academic Deans, third edition.

Co-authored "Writing Visually" in Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication (Winter 2017)

Funding & Grants

Achievement and Contribution Award, Research, Eastern Illinois University (2010)
Redden Grant for the Improvement of Undergraduate Instruction, Eastern Illinois University Foundation (2011)

Achievement and Contribution Award, Balanced, Eastern Illinois University (2016)

Frequently Taught Courses

Writing for Sports Media
Sports and the Media
Advanced Reporting
Feature Writing
Investigative Reporting
News Writing

Research & Creative Interests

Sports media, Title IX, historical fiction, paranormal

Professional Affiliations

Illinois Community College Journalism Association – Executive Director
Illinois Press Foundation/Dow Jones Newspaper Fund summer journalism workshop – director
National College Sports Journalism Conference, program director
College Media Association – board member and former chair of several committees
Illinois College Press Association – former president and vice president
Investigative Reporters and Editors – member