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Sports Reporter, Rocky Mount (N.C.) Telegram

Discussion in 'Journalism Jobs' started by benjones, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. benjones

    benjones New Member

    Thanks for your interest. We are narrowing our choices for finalists.
  2. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    A hire has been made.

    Matt LaWell, (soon to be) formerly of the Athens (OH.) Messenger, will be joining the Telegram Sports staff in a few weeks.
  3. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    Congrats to Matt, we hope to see him soon.
  4. Lynn_Hoppes

    Lynn_Hoppes Member

    I've met Matt.
    He has the right attitude to be successful.

  5. Jeff Gluck

    Jeff Gluck Member

    This is great news, I've already heard good things about this guy. Congrats to Matt.
  6. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    Sorry this is an old topic and I'm certain Ben's already been through the hiring process a couple of times by now, but I happened upon this and thought I'd chime in, seeing I was SE there for probably the longest tenure of anyone since Bob Williams (?).

    I was hired in the fall of 1993 -- I believe as Ed D.'s replacement when he went to Burlington -- right about the time Dan left to start the Bridge and made Charles SE there. At the time, we had two full-time sports guys and Brent Feeny, and got a page and a half during the week -- rarely a section front -- and four to six pages for Sunday. The biggest event in town was the ACC Golf Tournament, which warranted a special section.

    I had to fight like hell to get permission to cover UNC, Duke, State and ECU on a regular basis -- and had to provide a content plan to go to Memphis for the ECU-Stanford Liberty Bowl. A few years later, we were the only daily east of I-95 with credentials to the Carolina Panthers -- and had plans to go to the Super Bowl, had they beaten the Packers.

    By the time I left in 1999, we were up to three full-timers, a handful of stringers, a minimum of three pages during the week, including an agate page and usually a full eight-page section of Sundays. Plus, we were usually given a color front more often than not.

    While I was there, we did pretty well on advancement. Every guy on our staff over that six-year period went somewhere (with the notable exception of one writer who high-tailed it back to Pennsylvania after his probation).

    * C. Jemal Horton went to the Macon Telegraph, then to the Washington Post, Indy Star-News and Charlotte Observer as columnist.

    * Corey Brown went to Rock Hill and is now the IU beat writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal.

    * Bill Barnhart left for the Pocono Record and ended up doing UConn women's basketball for the Hartford Courant.

    * Patrick Brannan is subjected to bad baseball every night as an Orioles beat writer in Maryland.

    * I went to TotalSports.com in Raleigh, and when it blew up in February, 2001, landed at Turner Broadcasting with NASCAR.COM, where I've been for the past six years, watching cars go real fast in circles.

    A lot of that credit has to go to Cox, and to a large part, ME Jeff Herrin. Jeff understands that Sports is a critical element there -- and he's been willing to give the guys room to try new things.

    I can't tell you how awful things were under Thomson. We were using obsolete equipment in a run-down building. At the time, we were able to transmit on TRS-80s from the road -- IF we could find a phone.

    Guys like Rudy and Charles are from Down East and know how hard it is to make a career of it there.

    The Tele-a-Lie is a good place to start out. If you're fresh out of J school -- or have some small-town daily or weekly background -- and want a chance to hone your skills, go to Rocky Mount. As others have said, there's more than just preps/community, although that's the bread and butter.

    You will write A LOT. You will write every day. You'll have the chance to work on gamers, features, columns. It doesn't pay a lot but the experience will pay dividends, if you're serious about wanting to make a career in this business.

    I consider Rocky Mount to be a "teaching" newspaper, the place where you have ample opportunity to hone your writing skills before you try to land a bigger and better gig. I treated it as such. When I hired people, I was looking for someone who had the basic skills but appeared to have the potential to improve.

    For instance, I had 14 years experience in broadcasting, but only a limited amount of newspaper experience when I was hired. I took the job to work on my layout skills and build a portfolio.

    I never assumed anyone would stay in Rocky Mount -- nor did I expect to be there as long as I was. I one time asked Johnnie Batchelor how many sports editors he had worked with in his 30 years in paste up. He couldn't tell me the exact number, but it was more than 20.

    So why did I stay so long? Gwen was in the process of completing her teaching credential at ECU, so there was no reason to rush into a desk job somewhere. Eight years later, I finally landed a beat.

    You can go in two directions at a small paper like Rocky Mount: Can you either suck up to the coaches and be a shill and a homer, or try to treat everyone with the same respect and professionalism that you'd use at the pro level. I chose the second -- and required my guys to do the same.

    Did I ever consider myself "accepted" there? No, but I have fond memories of my time in Rocky Mount, and the experience I gained has helped me in the eight years since I left.

    -- Mark
  7. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    Mark, when you mention the TRS ("trash") 80, you're dating yourself.lol Hey, that little Radio Shack computer was a gem in its day.
  8. bigbadeagle

    bigbadeagle Member

    Jeff Herrin is a good guy and does what he can for his folks. Thanks to Mark, the Telegram made inroads with the Carolina Panthers and the Triangle schools without sacrificing the preps and the other local stuff.
    Moving the press ops to Greenville made for a tough situation, not being able to have any input into your own deadlines. That was post-Mark.
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