Q&A with Wes Goldberg

(Photo Credit: Twitter/Wes Goldberg)

I recently got in contact with Wes Goldberg, Editor of AllUCanHeat and writer for Bleacher Report, to discuss the world of sports blogging.

Allana: Could you tell me a little about your current position and how you got there?

Wes: My position boils down to two things: creating the most interesting, thoughtful, forward-looking content for readers and helping others do the same. I do most of the posting but I also manage a team of writers. I got this gig after working briefly on another site in the network as a contributor and when an editor position for the Miami Heat site became available, was offered the opportunity.

A: How do you think blogging has affected the sports media world?

W: In general, blogging has created more stages to disseminate information. Mostly though, it’s impacted the rate at which information is disseminated. In turn, it’s impacted the editing process at newspapers and the way writers write. Go to almost any newspaper website and you will see the beat reporter’s blog that he/she posts the most recent information too. Editors don’t edit the blogs, so beat reporters have even more responsibility to edit their own work. It has resulted in more immediate content for readers, but it’s also resulted in the I-Got-It-First Era of Sports Journalism, which can lead to inaccuracies. What a newspaper published used to be taken as fact, without a doubt. Now, with everyone rushing to be first, we aren’t as sure.

A: Where do you see it going?

W: Blogging is becoming more legitimate. Bloggers are starting to realize that they aren’t beat reporters and readers are starting to understand that too. It’s become an alternative, and a complement, to traditional media. Readers can get their news from beat reporters and shape their opinion after reading various blogs. Blogging will start fusing with traditional media though, as bloggers are increasingly being allowed access and old-school reporters jump ship from papers to large blogs like Bleacher Report and Grantland.

A: What are some of the challenges you face? Favorite things about it?

The biggest challenge is increasing exposure and accumulating loyal readers. Unlike traditional media outlets, All U Can Heat is not an established brand. Therefore, we have an increased responsibility and pressure to make sure everything posted is top-notch. It takes one bad article or misspelled name to turn people away from the site forever. By far, my favorite thing is the ability to be as creative as I want and not answer to a boss. I get to cover my team as I see fit without dealing with red tape of an editor. 

A: Is social media part of your job? If so, what role does it play?

W: Social media is a major part of the process. Twitter and Facebook act as the public relations and marketing departments of our site. This is where we advertise our content and interact with our potential audience. Just like advertising, the more the better. Social media helps get our brand in front of people and communicate our message. Not only does social media help our audience find us, it helps us find our audience. It helps us find out what people want to read, what they are talking about and how we can meet those needs.

A: What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a similar career?

W: Write with courage. Be comfortable in your role as someone who presents opinions and analysis and be confident in your own ideas. More importantly, be yourself. The blogosphere has a way of shaping content, don’t be afraid of doing your own thing. The personality of the writer is as important as the information presented by the writer. After everything I write, I ask myself, “would I have a beer with that guy?” 

Check out AllUCanHeat and follow Wes on Twitter!

Q&A with Chris Cason

(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!