(Photo Credit: Chris Cason)
During my days as an intern at Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, I met Chris Cason, a then employee of examiner.com. Since covering the Chicago Bulls, Cason has also covered the Miami Heat/Indiana Pacers Eastern Conference Finals, among other sporting events.
Allana: Tell me a little about your current position and how you got there.
Chris: I would describe my current position as a part-time freelance pro basketball writer. My mentor Anthony Gilbert actually vouched for me to the editor of a sports site called mvn.com. I had only written blog posts on my Facebook page up to that point and now I was blogging about the Chicago Bulls; the team I grew up watching and cheering for examiner.com contacted me about a year later asking if I would join them as they were just starting up and looking for good, young and hungry writers. Being that mvn gave me my first shot, I told them that I would only come aboard if they would fight the league and Bulls with me to have me credentialed, if only for practices. They fought, the Bulls gave me an opportunity to see what my intentions were and the rest has been history.
A: How do you think blogging/writing for the web has affected the sports media world?
C: Immensely! News comes in quicker and there’s always a rush to be first. It’s good to have information out there before everyone else, but what’s lost in that process is fact-checking and getting the information 100 percent correct before it’s reported. That goes from anything dealing with trades, injuries and other news. It’s also made athletes more guarded with the media because they don’t want to say anything that might mess with their “brand” or say something that will be headlines in the morning, making him/her have to answer tougher questions. One bad quote or tweet can be spread to hundreds of thousands in mere minutes nowadays.
A: Where do you see it going?
C: That’s a great question. I see it starting to get a bit watered down because anyone can throw a blog up and write whatever they want and I just hope the line doesn’t become blurred on who and what’s authentic from what’s not.
A: What are some of the challenges you face?
C: The challenge is just to continue to build a reputation of credibility and have fun with it. I take what I do very seriously because I know how it feels to be the starving guy, outside in the cold, looking inside the shop window at the four-course meal. There’s also the challenge of just being yourself. Athletes as well as anybody can tell when you’re genuine and know when you’re trying to put on a show.
A: Favorite parts of it?
C: There’s covering some of the best athletes in the world on a nightly basis, but there’s also the human element to it that I’ve gained great value in. We hold the professional sports world up to such a high standard, that we easily forget that they’re human just like us. One of the favorite parts of what I do is just to see the off-the-court side of these guys; the side that is there when the lights and cameras are away. That’s a privilege that would probably top watching some of the performances I have seen over the years.
A: Is social media part of your job as well? If so, what kind of role does it play?
C: It plays a vital role in getting information out, keeping fans updated as well as keeping track of what’s going on in the sports world. It’s kind of crazy to think now that employers look at how many followers or likes you have on social media sites, but you have to keep up with the times or you’ll get left behind.
A: What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a similar career?
C: My advice is to remain persistent in your pursuits. Never accept “no” as the final answer and have fun.
Follow Chris on Twitter to stay up to date with all his latest work!