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Thunderbolt Sports Media’s Growing Impact on its Community


(L to R) Photographer/videographer Larry Yin, Lead Writer Charlie Adams, and TSM President Tim Yean look on during a winter event at Ventetuolo Gym.

BY CHARLIE ADAMS, TSM LEAD WRITER

` A sleeping giant has seemingly woken up and taken Cranston High School East by storm. Thunderbolt Sports Media has made significant strides this 2022-2023 school year, expanding its presence on numerous platforms and establishing credibility within local professional sports media coverage. An idea that was born from just one student’s interest has grown into a legitimate pathway program that the school can use to attract prospective students.

Mo Holtzman, an East graduate of ‘21, was a founding member of TSM. His interest in sports media inspired the creation of a student-run group that became TSM. He has shown the possibilities that can arise from the experience he gained in high school as he attends Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications and will spend this summer interning in the sports department for local television station WPRI-12.

Holtzman’s apprentice in 2020, now successor, Timothy Yean seems likely to be the next success story that TSM facilitates. Yean assumed the position of president and is considered “the face” of TSM by many. Yean’s responsibilities have expanded this year but the increased student support makes it worth it, “it motivates me to push on and keep doing what I'm doing.” Yean attributed some of TSM’s growth to the school’s brand new partnership with Fans Only Sportz Network as he stated, “We're able to go out to games and have an entire crew of people to cover an event. Whereas last year, where we mainly just focused on football and basketball.” Tim Yean’s importance to TSM is felt by many, including school principal Mr. Thomas Barbieri. When asked about what separates East’s sports media program from any other competitor, Mr. Barbieri didn’t beat around the bush, “We have Timothy Yean, no one is better than Tim, as long as we have Tim, no one can compete with us, no one.”

Another core member worth mentioning when it comes to the growth of TSM is Charlie Adams (yes, myself). Adams approached TSM advisor Mr. Ken Simone in 2021 to join the group as a journalist, a pillar of sports media yet previously not part of TSM. Adams’ work on covering Thunderbolt sports has taken significant strides this school year as he covered many new sports. Through his platform with TSM, he has been able to have multiple pieces of his work published in the local Cranston Herald. Adams also expanded his versatility by creating many social media posts as well as recently joining Tim Yean working play-by-play for Fans Only Sportz Network. These invaluable work experiences were all made possible through opportunities provided by TSM.

The future of TSM looks bright, its main social media platform, Instagram, has reached nearly 6,000 accounts in just the past 30 days. Their newest endeavor, TikTok, has also seen virality as just one post racked up over 10,000 views in its first week. TSM Advisor Simone responded to the increased attention by saying, “The people who joined have taken our coverage to a level I never would have expected we’d be at in what is really our second full year providing complete coverage of East athletic teams.” Looking at the immediate future, Simone stated, “Moving forward, the immediate goal is to recruit new members from the classes of ‘25-‘27 who can sustain what the current crew has established.” Yean’s goals for the near future are more content based, “I'm planning an ‘athlete of the week/year event, which has been arguably, the most ambitious thing we have done yet.” There is a lot to look forward to with TSM, but for its members, the potential for internships and “real-world” experience is perhaps the most exciting. Simone agreed, “I would love to have students work covering sports for local media outlets.”

TSM is in good hands and growing fast, but we need to start planning for the future. Underclassmen who are interested in joining, or know someone who is, please reach out to TSM’s advisor Mr. Simone via email at ksimone@cpsed.net or even send a DM to @tbsportsmedia on Instagram. Any interests in photography, journalism, commentating, social media management, or anything you think might help contribute to our coverage of sports is welcome. TSM is a great way to discover your passion for sports as well as earn a significant amount of community service hours in support of Cranston East athletics.

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