Welcome to the first ever edition of Chicago Sports Media Watch, the newest and soon to be greatest blog on Chicago Now. What are we about? I think this link can give you a great synopsis. When I was asked to do this blog by CN Director Jimmy Greenfield, I immediately thought of the old Chicago Tribune column “Inside Media” I loved reading as a teen/college student.
This blog will aim to pick up where that column left off, but we’ll also have an emphasis on the media (tweets, blog reviews, message board evaluations, fun with Facebook Statuses, relevant mobile apps etc.) that didn’t exist when Teddy Greenstein and Ed Sherman penned it for the Trib.
Tell us about your experiences writing “Inside Media” for the Chicago Tribune, what was your favorite part of doing that column? What do you miss and not miss about it writing it?
Loved it. Mostly. It was cool getting to know some of the best in the biz — Mike Tirico, Jim Nantz, Mike Wilbon, Pat Hughes. I wrote something about sports radio feuds that was the most-read story in the paper that day. I reviewed books even though I couldn’t have graduated from high school without Cliffs Notes.
My wife would notice me watching “SportsCenter,” and if she tried to give me grief, I’d say: “Babe, I’m doing my job.” And it was true. I’d hear something during a game, maybe a funny or inane comment, and scribble down what was said. That’s how I got a lot of story ideas. Glad I covered sports media in the DVR era.
But after doing it for about five half-years (Ed Sherman took over during college football/hoops season and then handed the baton to me while he covered golf), I was ready to give it up. Two reasons: 1) I wanted to get paid to do work for places like the Score and Big Ten Network. (Couldn’t do it while I had the column); and 2) How often can you rip Ed Farmer? It gets old.
Did any media members take offense to what was written there? Any good stories from people confronting you about it?
Perfect lead-in. Yeah, Farmer and I got along when I covered the Sox for three seasons. But it started to go downhill after I gave him and Chris Singleton a ‘C’ for chemistry in the booth. Later on, I gave them a ‘D’ for overall quality (or lack thereof) and wrote that Farmer was stifling Singleton’s creativity. Ed had little respect for him; it was obvious to everyone with ears.
The next time I was in the Sox clubhouse, Ed tried to make a whole show of it. He asked me some baseball questions and announced something along the lines of: You don’t know the game. The funniest part was that Ed did this in the middle of the clubhouse, rather than asking to speak with me in private, because he thought the players would gang up on me. Instead they laughed at him for being a sensitive weenie.
Two others that stood out were Mike North and Jay Mariotti. North said something lewd about a good friend of mine, Rachel Nichols. So I wrote that it was time to pull the plug on his crass, low-rated show. He ripped me on the Score for a week! Finally I had to call him because he was in a salary dispute at the Score, and he said he respected me for reaching out. We patched things up and he offered me a daily gig on his Webio thing. The Trib editors wouldn’t let me do it because they said it would eat up too much time. God bless them. The Webio checks bounced; the financier turned out to be a crook.
Mariotti and I had some great clashes. One time Jay went about four days without writing, an eternity for him. So I called him and asked if he’d been suspended. He left me a voice mail asking why I’d listen to press-box gossip. “These are shitty, evil people,” he said of his fellow sportswriters. Oh, wait. He’s no longer a sportswriter. What a loss for the profession. Is my sarcasm coming through?
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone who knows Mariotti ever say anything good about him. And I loved it when Ozzie Guillen called him “a garbage.”
What advice would you give to young journalism students entering the media profession today?
Try to do a lot of things well – write, blog, tweet, do radio and on-camera work, etc. Bust your butt. Make contact with people in hiring decisions and keep in touch with them. So if and when a job actually opens, they will have you in mind.
Today at the Tribune you cover Northwestern, national college football, golf, some Bulls did I miss anything? Do you still have that sweet gig playing 18 holes with sports celebs?
You’ve got it covered. College football is my passion, and I love the intimacy of college hoops. But the Masters is my favorite week of the year. The “18 holes with …” column carries on into Year 4. I love doing it because I get to chronicle a different side of guys like Luke Donald, Jim Delany, Ryne Sandberg, Gar Forman and Coach Q. Oh, yeah.
Plus it allows me to get paid to play golf. I’m lining up some good ones for this year – Jarrett Payton, Robbie Gould, Tim Beckman, Paula Creamer, Dave Wannstedt, hopefully Steve Kerr, Robin Ventura, Scottie Pippen, Tom Izzo, John Toews and Frank Thomas.
And you have a regular spot on BTN, tell us about working with Big Ten Network
Yes, I’ve done the “Big Ten Football & Beyond” show for the last three years. Great times. Love working with Revver (Dave Revsine), Gerry DiNardo and C-Mart (Chris Martin). Three Northwestern dudes out of four. Poor Gerry.
Like Fitz would say “GO CATS!” When they were on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament last month, it seemed like your purple people have taken over sports media.
You can follow Teddy on Twitter (@teddygreenstein)
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.