Episode Twelve – Zach Berman, Philadelphia Inquirer

scott-spinelli_imsureimoverthinkingthis (1)This week’s guest is Zach Berman, Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: is this as bad as it’s ever been for Philly sports teams? (1:29), the growth in demand for NFL content in the offseason and how fans now care as much about the business of sport as they ever have (2:58), has he lost any of his love for the NFL now that he covers it (6:22), how he lost his fanaticism when he went to college to become a journalist (10:20), is it sad that he no longer is a “fan” like he used to be? (12:06), what are the positives and negatives of Twitter as a beat writer with constant onus to provide content (15:27), the pressure to be first on breaking news and if that’s even a relevant thing any longer in the Twitter age (19:41), does he feel the need to include his personality more in his social media presence and does it bother him that this has become a trend among reporters (23:41), SnapChat as a tool for reporting? (28:36), do the gambling/fantasy football questions ever get annoying and why, sadly, he doesn’t have the ability to predict the future (30:55), why an internship after college isn’t the worst thing for a fresh-out-of-college writer (34:15), what his week look likes during the season–time spent at the Eagles’ facility, when he travels, what cities have the best press food, who pays for all this, where he sits during the game and, most importantly, what he’s looking for that you’re not during the game (39:15), why he says he’s least valuable to fans during the actual game and what he tries to provide to make up for that (48:09), why if you’re going to critique someone or something, you’d better be informed and show up the next day (49:42), what’s his goal for future work (54:14), how do you deal with grind of being a reporter and what do you do to improve as opposed to avoid simply pushing work out for another deadline (56:14), why he doesn’t see the trend of player-driven media as troubling for traditional media (59:43) and Zach takes his chance to ask me a question that’s been on his mind since I wrote my humor column in college: how do you become funny in print? (1:06:06)

Episode Eleven – John Jastremski

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This week’s guest is WFAN and CBS Sports Radio talk show host John Jastremski. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: how on Earth he maintains that upbeat attitude for his real life and radio life (1:41), the honest importance of being true to yourself on the radio (2:38), how he thinks he’d do in a different market sounding as “New York” as he does and the advice from Bob Costas that convinced him not to change his voice (3:54), what plays better and what he enjoys doing more, local or national radio? and how the two are done differently (7:28), how he handles topics that aren’t exactly his strong suit (10:01), where/how he gets his feedback of his work as a solo host of primarily overnight radio (14:04), the transition from doing only tandem radio in college to only solo radio as a professional and what he enjoys about doing it alone nowadays (17:21), John rants about the signal strength issues ESPN Radio in New York has (20:25), what specifically makes caller-driven radio his favorite style and why he hates hokey radio teases (22:27), establishing on his show that he’s the authority as a younger radio host (27:16), does his more lenient style of handling callers come from doing overnights? (29:40), how his mood determines how he handles idiotic callers (32:29), John’s pre-show prep, including his TV setup and why he doesn’t like to script anything (38:14), the experience of going through and winning the 2011 Fantasy Phenom contest to get a job at WFAN (42:15), why he didn’t introduce himself as “Fantasy Phenom winner” and how he gained respect as he began working there (49:45), a couple really good Mike Francesa stories (53:23), where he draws the line on bringing his personal life into his shows (58:06) and John takes his turn to ask me a question (1:00:00).

Episode Ten – Mark Medina, Lakers Beat Writer for L.A. Daily News

scott-spinelli_overthinkingThis week’s guest is Mark Medina, beat writer covering the Los Angeles Lakers for the L.A. Daily News. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: dealing with annoying/hating/trolling/critiquing fans (1:57), what it’s been like to go from living in Pennsylvania and Syracuse to Manhattan Beach (3:02), why neither of us really miss Syracuse–the place, not the university (5:17), how soon Mark got into the journalism extra-curricular scene at Syracuse (8:46), why he majored in broadcast journalism despite only wanting to really work in print journalism (11:28), the timing we both had in graduating in 2008, right at the true turn of social media as it related to journalism (15:00), the risk he took with two internships, as opposed to jobs, immediately after school in Virginia and Los Angeles (20:30), how/why he spent around $400 sending out nearly 100 resumes while looking for a job and how he got his L.A. Times gig from a cold-call application (22:05), a brief discussion about the WNBA and the Sparks (26:42), the good timing of getting let go from his internship right as the Times’ Lakers bloggers were leaving to go elsewhere (28:29), how he handled being the new guy on such an established beat and what’s been his biggest area of improvement since being that new guy (33:56), the balance between being a reporter and keeping your voice/personality involved without overwhelming your work (38:41), covering the D’Angelo Russell/Nick Young fiasco and the misreporting of it as a “bro-code” violation (41:52), covering something as serious, challenging and personal as the Lamar Odom overdose (43:42), the game-day routine of the beat writer (50:35), how he basically starts writing his post-game stories in the pre-game and have we seen the end of the game-story? (53:17), does he ever get to relax, not worry about breaking news or covering the team? (59:14), using an interaction I had with a snide Jim Boeheim as an example, Mark shares some of his best interactions with Kobe Bryant (1:06:52), a “Smush Parker is terrible”reference (1:11:04), and Mark takes his chance to ask me two questions, both regarding advice and preparation for those entering this industry (1:15:12).

Episode Nine – Sarina Morales, ESPN’s SportsCenter

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The guest this week is Sarina Morales of ESPN’s SportsCenter: AM. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: her absolutely bonkers sleep/life schedule now that she’s on a national TV show from 7 to 10 AM every day (1:47), Sarina and I debate why ANYONE uses SnapChat—hint, she’s in favor of it (4:29), what were her first “Holy Shit!” moments about being on SportsCenter (8:29), how she’s been able to remind herself that despite being new, she belongs (12:57), what it’s been like to learn on the fly on a national television show after coming from a non-on-air job (16:54), we debate the uselessness of small talk, cliches like “neither here nor there” and relationships (19:23), how one video she wasn’t even supposed to make for Nat Geo helped get her discovered, a la Justin Bieber, by a sleepless senior VP at ESPN (25:29), her continual habit of expanding her job way past what she was hired for (28:27), the balancing act of pushing social media content further without going over-the-top or out of her comfort zone (32:22), Sarina goes in detail about just how much work goes into getting SportsCenter ready for 7 AM (39:01), dealing with the stigma that “Women don’t know about sports!” (44:35),  dealing with men commenting more on her looks more than what she says (47:29), the double standard that the good-looking man gets fewer nasty comments than the good-looking woman, but that the man can respond sarcastically without being labeled a bitch (50:54), our new app idea, “Whelmed”, where you can leave mildly content/satisfied reviews (55:00), what it’s like to be recognized in person and the slow evaporation of her private life (57:50), Sarina joined Twitter in 2007, back when you had to text to tweet… why? (1:03:40), and Sarina takes her turn to ask me a question, which leads to a somewhat depressing but honest chat about the Spurs, why we take sports so (too?) seriously and why sports are important (1:07:33).