Media Day Must-dos
So you’re in New York for the 2014 Super Bowl Media. It’s the first outdoors game to be played in the league’s history. What do you, as a journalist, do? Here is a guide to live by.
Talk to other media members
I was fascinated by the whole event when I first arrived that for the first 40 minutes I didn’t realize the likes of ESPN’s Rick Reilly and John Clayton were wondering around. So, I made a conscious effort to talk to them. Scary as it sounds it’s fairly common for media members to chat it up. I spoke to ESPN’s Adam Schefter for a quick 10 minutes – each minute was invaluable. He gave me sound advice that has only helped me as an aspiring reporter. And then there was the professor, John Clayton. A master of understanding the NFL’s salary cap, Clayton emphasized the importance of asking questions and becoming familiar with facets of the league that nobody else is willing to do. But more importantly, when you speak to these big wigs, make sure you shadow them and see what they’re doing in a professional environment to be successful.
Speak to the lesser-known players and coaches
Waiting to get a question in for Ray Lewis was like waiting in line for the Incredible Hulk at Disney World minus the fast pass. Majority of reporters ask the same questions and a prominent players’ response will be quoted and transcribed on some media outlet. Go find a player or coach who won’t be the point of emphasis. Quarterback Alex Smith was 40 feet away from Colin Kaepernick during Media Day with as much “fun” written on his face as a kid who just had his ice cream knocked over. Ray McDonald, a former Florida Gator, stood in the stands fielding questions from one reporter. One. McDonald was the only former Florida player to be competing in the Super Bowl. LaMichael James of the 49ers, who was responsible for a go-ahead touchdown in the NFC Championship game, went unnoticed for a majority of the day. Slowly but surely, he became an impact player when Harbaugh elected to run his Pistol formation – the offense that is en vogue in the NFL. There are so many angles and so little time. Find them.
Eat at the NFL’s media buffet
I had my doubts. I was unsure if the food was going to be borderline disgusting or pleasantly good. Luckily, it was fantastic. I had Louisiana-style shrimp gumbo with cornbread stuffed with cheese and herbs. Not only was the food good, the company was even better. I sat at a table, along with my classmates and Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, with Yahoo! Sports’ editor and other contributing writers. Here I made instant professional connections. My classmate, Adam Pincus, managed to transpose quotes for a Yahoo! Sports writer and in return jotted down his contact information. “It was worth it,” Pincus said. “I asked if he needed help, and certainly he did. If you throw your hand out there these guys will bite. They don’t want to do the boring stuff, and if you do a good job, you may have more work to do in the future.”
Enjoy the night life
I had the chance to go out on Bourbon Street shortly after enjoying dinner at the famous “Jacques-Imos” restaurant in downtown New Orleans. I had the alligator cheesecake. It topped off one of the best days of my life but it put a few things into perspective. As a journalist you’ll have these kind of chances to be a part of the rat race and be filled with adrenaline so enjoy it when it does happen. We love writing and talking sports more than anything in this world. And to think that you’ll get paid for it is motivating feeling.