Thursday, June 4, 2009

On the NFL

By Ronnie Turner

Mike Reiss and Gary Estwick cover NFL franchises in two different markets, but the message that they brought to Thursday’s discussion on covering professional football was the same: be passionate about your beat.

Being passionate about your beat means staying on top of it.

“Any time a team makes a more, you want the people who read your blog to know,” said Reiss, who covers the New England Patriots and the NFL for the Boston Globe. “You’re basically an Associated Press wire service for the team that you cover.”

Unlike beats such as baseball and basketball where a lot of the games are played in the evening, football writers typically have their days start early. Reiss said that he gets up at about 6 a.m. each day during the regular season to check headlines from other newspapers that cover teams around the league before making his way out to practice.

Estwick, who covers the Tennessee Titans for the Nashville Tennessean, said that the early start is usually advantageous for NFL writers.

“It’s a morning beat,” he said. “It’s good because you have so much information that you have to turn around quickly.”

Reiss and Estwick both stressed the need for reporters at any level to develop sources that they use to break stories, especially with the challenge of gaining updates on injured players, trades and signings from coaches and teams’ media relation staffs.

And more than anything else, they said that reporters should love what they do.

Reiss and Estwick certainly love their jobs.

“Covering the Patriots, based on what they’ve done this decade, has been awesome with a capital ‘A,’” Reiss said.

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