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Advice for teen sports writer

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by teensonsports, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. teensonsports

    teensonsports New Member

    My middle school son has recently started interviewing pro athletes, agents, and other sports personalities. He types these and posts them on his website. His goal is to create a sports related site with articles written by and for a teen audience.

    He is interested in spreading the word about his site (to attract a larger audience), but is having very limited success via press releases to news organizations. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    I am extremely proud of his vision, focus, and determination ---- and certainly want for him to succeed. This experience has helped him improve his self-confidence and his communications skills.

    I am a school principal and don't have much experience or advice when it comes to sports media.

    I appreciate any help!

    Kind regards,


    P.S. His site is teensonsports (dot com)
  2. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Good for your son. Best of luck to him.

    That said, bear in mind that news organizations have a job to do, and they get a bazillion releases. It usually takes something truly "newsworthy" to get their attention, and a middle schooler interviewing athletes isn't likely to be that unless there's something remarkable in his work (i.e., he interviewed an athlete who never talks to anyone, or an athlete said something crazy or off-color or whatever). He's got his own media organization, in a sense, and it's not realistic to expect other media organizations to want to talk to him and direct traffic to his site, perhaps at the expense of their own.

    I'm sure your son is already all over social media, that's probably the best place for him to keep pushing his product.
  3. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    The original post and Playthrough's response reminded me of Graham Bensinger, who I haven't heard much about in a while. When he was still in his teens he got a couple of high profile interviews, that combined with his age, had people talking. I remember him interviewing OJ Simpson about Nicole's death. And he did an interview with Terrell Owens when he was with the Eagles, in which TO badmouthed Donovan McNabb.
  4. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    There's some kid in the DC area who had a column in the Fredericksburg (Va.) paper when he was like 12 or something. Does a bunch of radio now, I believe. Grant something or other.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Grant Paulsen. I totally forgot about that kid. I ran across him years ago. The Redskins were bringing him around practices and/or credentialing him and someone had him on a radio show somewhere, but I can't remember where. My memory is that he was basically a 13 or 14 year old kid giving his 13 or 14 year old opinions and his parents were promoting him like crazy as some wunderkind. He did some Letterman appearances, in which he was the novelty act of the day, if I remember correctly. I met the kid a few times and I don't remember thinking there was anything all that special about him, other than I thought it was cool he was so interested in broadcasting and sports. Has he actually turned it into a real career?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2015
  6. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    You better learn his name! According to his Web site he is a freshman at George Mason.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2015
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Looked at the site. Your son looks really ambitious. Good for him.

    I would suggest -- if he isn't already doing it -- that he get a Twitter account and Facebook page and post links to his interviews there when he gets a new one.

    It could help drive traffic to his site.

    I also would try to sell the story to the local media -- TV or newspaper -- with the angle of local youngster as a sports writer.

    It's kind of timeless so it might be a story they leap at in the slower summer months. I would try to push it when he gets an interview from a well-known athletes.

    "Here's a possible story you might want to consider of a 13-year-old who has interview these athletes. His latest was Stephen Strasburg. Here's a link to the interview. His website is xxxx.

    Drop in some interesting information, he spends xxx hours a week on it. Gets interview by emailing hundres, dozens? Whatever.

    Good luck.
  8. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Grant Paulsen's uncle (I believe) is Scott Paulsen, who has been on Pittsburgh radio for nearly 25 years now. He did a very funny morning show on a rock station for a long time and now does afternoon drive sports talk on the ESPN station in Pittsburgh. Grant Paulsen had a show on the XM baseball channel for a while. Not sure if he still does. It was OK. Nothing special aside from his age.

    In terms of the original post, maybe you should approach Sports Illustrated for Kids about having him freelance or do a column. That way you can cross-promote his blog in there. He'll probably need to do more than the "standard" interview questions. Looking at the site, it seems like asks pretty basic questions. I realize he's a kid and you're going for a youth audience. But if he gets at people's personalities more, the interviews would be more interesting.
  9. CR19

    CR19 Member

    One way he can help drive up traffic is using news sites around St. Louis, like the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Fox Sports Midwest, etc. He should try to comment on websites, and he should put his website on his profile. Then, guys who go online can click on his name and see his site. It may help, but it isn't a sure-fire solution.

    But, your son is really helping himself (if he wants to enter sports media). Creating an audience, even when he's in middle school, can really help out in the long run. He could try talking to the local newspaper. The sports editor may consider it. However, the best way to promote the website is online.

    I wish your son all the luck; you don't usually see a middle schooler with his own website and interviews with pro athletes.
  10. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member

    Bryan -

    Please PM me - my PM to you didn't send for one reason or another.
  11. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Don't let him sail around the world alone.

    Seriously, nice site, but smile for the camera kid. How can I enjoy this if you are not?

    Now get me a beer (root), newb.
  12. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    Congratulations to him, nice job.

    I would try to add some kind of offbeat question to each interview -- favorite band/concert, funniest celebrity-meeting story, something like that -- and then pimp that out to any websites connected with the subject. (i.e, fan sites for that particular athlete/team).

    "Chris Bosh talks about the time he spilled a drink on Adam Sandler" or something like that, will get traffic to the site, which will get it talked about, which will make it easier to grow it.

    But I hope he's doing this mostly for fun and the experience of it, no matter what happens. Just being able to talk (or email back and forth) with bigtime athletes should be a kick in and of itself, at his age.
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