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November 12, 2019
NICK GUERRIERO: Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to today's CoSIDA Capital One Teachable Tuesday Webinar. Today's topic is Thank Your SID Week, and more on the Roles Through The Eyes Of The Media.
Before we get started, I would like to say a quick thank you to two of our corporate partners, Capital One and ASAP Sports. Capital One is the presenting sponsor of our continuing education and professional development series, while ASAP Sports provides the official transcript of each month's webinar.
As a reminder, the webinar and the ASAP Sports transcript will be posted later today in CoSIDA Connect, our membership online community. Please look for those links in the Connect resource library off the main page.
During today's webinar you can ask your questions live to our presenters, and please use the chat box, which you'll find on the right-hand side of the portal. If you have questions for our presenters, know that we will save some time towards the end of the webinar to address them and get all those questions in.
But great panel today here, and we'll get started with a little bit of introduction of everyone first. David Aldridge, the editor-in-chief of the The Athletic in D.C. Prior to that David was with Turner. For all you millennials out there, he is the sideline reporter for the NBA 2K game.
David, thank for being with us.
DAVID ALDRIDGE: My pleasure.
NICK GUERRIERO: Also with us today is Leah Secondo, TV analyst and sportscaster with many outlets, ESPN, Fox Regionals, CBS network, and ACC Network.
Thank you for being with us today, Leah.
LEAH SECONDO: Thank you.
NICK GUERRIERO: And out final panelist is Patrick Stevens, college sportswriter. Many of you know Patrick from his Twitter handle, @D1scourse. Patrick does a great job covering college basketball and college lacrosse.
Patrick, thank you to being with us. Looks like you're at a press conference today.
PATRICK STEVENS: Sort of. Just to have the place to actually be able to get this thing done without any interruptions. Just happen to be on a campus, so...
NICK GUERRIERO: Perfect. We'll get started with David Aldridge, D.A. You come from a different kind of background. You're a newspaper reporter. You were a TV sideline reporter. You did some college basketball, but you're with a new venture in the The Athletic, and for some of the SIDs out there, talk to us a little bit about what your new medium is ways that the stories for college athletics are being told through The Athletic.
DAVID ALDRIDGE: Thank you for having me here. I hope this is something that's helpful to all of the people watching and listening.
You know, I am in charge of the Washington D.C. bureau. We also handle the Baltimore bureau as well at The Athletic, so our group obviously has any number of pretty significant college sports teams to cover.
Whether it's University of Maryland, University of Virginia, Georgetown, so many, Virginia Tech. We have a presence, and Patrick helps us an awful a lot with a lot of those schools covering men's basketball, women's basketball, college football.
So whether it's here in D.C. or some of the other 40 plus bureaus we have around the country and in Canada, we have daily interaction with universities and colleges throughout the country, and all of them are very important to us.
We had an incredible presence at the Final Four this year. We had a number of people both locally and nationally covering UVA's run to the championship.
So it's vital. We need the cooperation of SIDs throughout the country and locally to bring us some of the stories that resonate with us.
We have published any number of them in the last year in the Athletic D.C., a lot with Virginia, but certainly, Nick, were very helpful with us doing a very good piece on American University a year ago.
So we go from the biggest D1 programs to the very small ones that have great stories.
NICK GUERRIERO: So David, talk a little bit about when you guys are pitching your stories, you get your stories pitched. Obviously The Athletic is a subscription base, online based, so it's not going to print that you'll find at your store.
But when your pitching your stories, what are some of the things that you look for from a sports information director to help with those stories?
DAVID ALDRIDGE: Well, the main thing is access, I think. We are a model that we're not writing a lot of the game stories. In fact, we're not writing any game stories. That's not what we do.
We want to tell good stories though about the players, the coaches, fans, administrators. Anybody who has a really good and compelling story, we want it in The Athletic. So we're always looking for something that's different, something that's unusual, somebody that has a particular hobby. If someone has overcome adversity, obviously that's something we're always looking at.
Doesn't always have to be triumph of the will and things like that. It can just be offbeat, funny stories. So the SIDs certainly have the pulse of their teams that they cover. They know the good stories. They know the student-athletes that are really good interviews. They know the coaches that are good with the media and ones that aren't.
But you can help us in so many ways by being proactive with that. I never am going to turn down a phone call, text, direct message from an SID that says, I have a good story for you that you might want to cover. We're always in the content business.
Now we're starting it get into video, so there are other ways to tell these stories. So I would just say be as proactive as you possibly can be with us with regard to ideas that you have about your teams.
NICK GUERRIERO: And, Leah, let's jump into the TV side a little bit. Obviously coming in as a broadcaster you're going to see teams possibly for the first time, maybe second or third time. What are some of the things you're looking for when you're coming to a school?
Like I said, could be the first time you're working with a team and could be a Division I, II, or Division III team.
LEAH SECONDO: First of all, thank you everyone for allowing us to be a part of this meeting this afternoon. You guys do countless hours and work, and sometimes aren't patted on the back as you should be sometimes.
We treat every game I think whether it's DI, DII, or DIII as if it's the Super Bowl, the game. I know my colleagues do as well. Whether it's print or TV, we want to bring and make your team really special for those two and a half, three hours.
So just like David said, being able to tell those stories and tell them in a fashion if the game presents itself that we have -- it's like preparing for that test or that exam. Sometimes you use all your material and sometimes you won't use any.
At least we have it there. I think that the communication to start, when we make initial contact -- which for me is sometimes as soon as I obtain my schedule; that could be almost a month, month and a half out -- so that we're on all your eblasts, we are on any communication that may happen with that sport. That's so important to us in our preparation as we get to your game.
That communication from that point on is key. A lot of times you don't have your game notes set to go yet for that particular game, but don't hesitate to forward us those game notes prior to the game, as well as skeleton notes for that particular game before you release them to the public.
That is so important and critical. We're all getting on planes and getting in cars trying to do two or three, four games as once. Being able to have that heads-up start so that we are preparing our notes in the 23rd hour is just so important to us.
NICK GUERRIERO: I guess another interesting point to maybe talk about would be if you're working at a school that may not have much media attention on a daily basis, what are some of the things that you'll ask for from an SID?
LEAH SECONDO: One of the things we certainly look for are bullet points. And not the obvious bullet points. Could be that your student-athlete spent the summer in South Africa as part of their internships. So many schools are doing this right now and obtaining credits for that upcoming fall semester.
Sore maybe as a team, a unit, they did a bonding session, a team building session in the off-season. Those are the types of stories that help us learn a little bit more about your team and kind of get away from the Xs and Os a little bit. From a play-by-play standpoint when we're preparing for games, yes, we look for the numbers and the stats, whether it's winning streaks or anything like that.
Those numbers need to be updated and followed through by updating in the notes. Sometimes on page one we'll see an updated version with one particular number, and then we go back four or five pages into our notes and we see a totally different number that doesn't make any sense.
So just be conscientious of your game notes. Look through your notes and double check your numbers and you figures.
From an analyst standpoint, I would say especially with the DII and III schools that sometimes don't get the television coverage as we move now to streaming, an avenue or link to be able to see your games online for the analysts. That is extremely important to being able to break down your team and what your team is doing Xs and O-wise, and so we can get to the facility hopefully the day before the game to watch your team practice and prepare.
NICK GUERRIERO: Patrick, jump into your side of it now. Coming in as one who is a freelances for different outlets and someone not many people -- you know, a sport like lacrosse may not be the most popular sport until we get close to Memorial Day.
Talk a little bit about what the relationship is between you as the writer and the SID, but also maybe talk a little bit about how important those game notes are. Because someone like you who has wealth of knowledge in college basketball and lacrosse, there may be a reporter who doesn't know the top 10 all-time scoring list at Maryland Lacrosse or American basketball.
PATRICK STEVENS: Let's start with the relationships there. I think one of the things that's important, in my case, I'm touching on a lot of different schools here in the Baltimore/D.C. area.
As much as I would like to sit here and be able to say that I am completely up-to-date on 13 different Division I men's basketball programs right now, reality is there is going to be some things that slip through the cracks.
So I think it's important for folks to be in touch and say, Hey, this is something interesting going on, or to be able to kind of get you up to speed if you haven't seen somebody two weeks into the season. You know, this guy that was supposed to be a reserve in the front court turns out to be one of the better players, and here is why he's turned into one of the better players.
On the game notes point, it's kind of interesting. It's something that depends on the size of the school. Obviously a bigger school there is a little more resources. I think one of the important things in this day and age as much as anything is to have an updated record book somewhere in addition to the game notes as well.
But if there is an updated record book online, that's incredibly valuable to be able to sort some things out. Even if the game notes haven't been updated or you don't have time to update those things on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis.
So it's absolutely true that's whatever is in those game notes, especially if you're coming in and seeing a team that you don't see a whole lot or you're just kind of floating in one time, I think that those are things that they almost have to be right because you're basically taking it on faith that what's in there is correct and you can use it and go from there.
NICK GUERRIERO: First question came in, and it's surrounding game notes. I'm going to ask everyone to chime in on this one a little bit. A lot of SIDs spend many hours on game notes. There are a lot of other things in our world right now that are happening. For each of you, what's one specific thing -- Patrick, you talked about the record book.
For Leah and David, what's the one thing you're going to look for that might be something SIDs should take a little bit more time working on?
DAVID ALDRIDGE: You know, obviously if you're doing a game, if you're broadcasting a game, the numbers - to Patrick's point - have to be up-to-date. I mean, they have to be up-to-date. We're counting on those numbers being right when we do our charts and play-by-play charts and our analyst charts. We're taking a look down to see, you know, Joe Smith shoots 42% from three. Can't be 38%; it has to be 42% if that's what's in the notes.
So attention to that kind of detail is very, very important. And certainly I think especially maybe for the smaller schools that don't get on TV or don't get as much attention as some of the Power 6 schools.
You know, again, any type of story that to Leah's point is off the court is going to be something that we're going to try to get in. If your school is only on TV once a year or twice a year and you've got a great story about your fifth year graduate senior going to Harvard Medical School when he's done here or she's going to take an internship on Wall Street when she's done playing, those are the great stories worth their weight in gold.
So the more information you have on things like that, I think those things are incredibly helpful.
LEAH SECONDO: To elaborate on what David said, I would say one-stop shopping. Many times we get these packets they're 30 to 60 pages. If the media relations person can put it all on one page. Maybe the page with the head shot, and have it almost - almost - like our play-by-play and analyst sheets. Have a head shot, where they're from, position, and just of all their nuggets that you might spread all over the notes on that one page. That would be extremely helpful, especially when you're looking quickly as the game's progressing to find a particular note.
NICK GUERRIERO: Patrick, what do you think? You read enough of those notes for different schools. I know we talked about this in the past, but if there is something that you think is really important that you as a writer cannot have.
PATRICK STEVENS: Yeah, I mean, you know how I am. I'm willing to look a lot of stuff up and all that, so getting back to the record book thing is important.
I'll point out something else that's not the sort of thing you're thinking about on a day-to-day basis in the middle of the season, but would be the sort thing that would be a really good thing for a lot of schools to look at in the summer or some sort of semi-downtime, and that is how much stuff ultimately gets lost as schools change from website provider to website provider.
You go back and look for stuff from five years ago to remind you of the last time somebody did something, and you get back five, six years and the box scores are gone. So that's the kind of thing that I think a lot of schools would be helpful for us on a day-to-day basis. I do think having probably two pages worth of these are the prevailing storylines. Like whether it's a statistical nugget or just something interesting about each player, those are the things you can probably condense pretty easily.
When you see stuff in the game notes and it's February and there are three paragraphs on what happened, play-by-play from a game in November, I don't know who that's really helping at that point. So getting rid of some stuff like that and just focusing on what is relevant right now is the stuff that's going to grab attention because as Leah said, you're probably not getting to page 52 of those notes sitting down and getting ready for a game.
NICK GUERRIERO: And please everyone keep sending in your questions. This one is for David and Leah. Take out college. Out our professional hats on. What are the pro media relations doing for game notes? I've seen many press rooms where their game notes aren't as elaborate maybe as you'll see from some of the college teams.
What are they doing to hit that mark? It may not be the previous set of game notes with the times and graphics and colors, but how do you know, David, when you're going to do a Lakers game what the most important number is for Shaq and Kobe?
DAVID ALDRIDGE: The notes aren't quite as detailed in the pros because they have 81 more games after tonight. They just have way more games to deal with, so they're not going to go chapter and verse on every player.
In the NBA you don't usually have nine, ten, eleven guys playing. You have seven or eight that really play. So it's different. The notes are different.
The good and bad is that with NBA players, you know more about them off the court so the stories are a lot easier to tell because there is more of them.
Now, as I said, it's good and bad because you do know more about them so you can go in different directions that maybe you wouldn't go for a college game where you don't know as much about the players on the college teams as you know about the Lakers. I've covered a lot of NBA games. I pretty much know the backstory of you every one of the prominent Lakers that are going to play.
So that's more where I think the relationships, like Patrick was saying, come into play. People who are SIDs or PR people on NBA teams, they generally have been there a little longer I think than most colleges. They've been there -- with some teams I'm working with something right now potentially with the Phoenix Suns, for example. I've known their PR person fortune 30 years. The relationship just goes back that far.
So in that sense it's a lot different. There are just people that you've known for so long, and they know what you like to report about and they know -- I'm not going to waste my time trying to sell him or her on this nugget. I know what kind of broadcasting they're going to do.
So they'll narrow it down to two or three really important things they're trying to sell you on for that particular day.
LEAH SECONDO: On the NBA side, I've been away from the pro tour scene probably about eight years now, but it is much easier when you're working with an NBA team because you are traveling with them so you do get those inside stories, and perhaps you get those inside stories a little bit better, say, with the pro football team that's so big.
Most of those media relations people are working numbers and charting consecutive run numbers that are -- it really helps a play-by-play person more than it does the analyst. The analyst really is trying to build and massage those relationships that they have with the players out on the court.
I think that the one thing that David talked about in having those relationships, as we transcend back to the college level, is we have such a small, small window to deal with your teams, to build those relationships that are built through the years.
We have four years to build a relationship with a player, and really it's probably only two. So that's where we really need your help, because we may know you a heck of a lot longer than we've known the coaches, to kind of help say, This is good person; you can feel comfortable talking with them; they're not going to say anything derogatory about you or the school. They want to help you.
And that's it. We want to help you. So anything you can say to help that relationship to get us into practices or to be in situations that are maybe a little bit more private with the team, certainly helps us tell that story even better.
NICK GUERRIERO: Let's stick on coaches for a little bit. David and Patrick, what are some of your thoughts on what the SID could do to help branch that connection between a coach and media member when, say, this specific coach will be, say, isn't very open-minded sometimes or is a coach that maybe got burned once before by a media member. Or even take coaches out of it. Maybe throw like training staff in there or other department administrators.
What are some ways as a media relations professional we can massage that a little bit?
PATRICK STEVENS: Well, I would say that as in any case, I think as much face-to-face time as you have is important. Even if it's just five minutes here or there, I think most people are willing to judge other people based on their own interactions with those people.
So the more of that I get, I think the better off I'm going to be in being able to engage with somebody like that, and I think the better off they're going to be in terms of being able to size me up and figure out whether I have it in for them or if I'm somebody that's trustworthy and they can share some stuff with pretty comfortably.
DAVID ALDRIDGE: Yeah, I would say that it's just important. I think honesty is so important, right? I mean, we all understand that every coach isn't going to be telegenic and glib and all of that sort of thing to be able to handle themselves. Some are more reserved, shy. They are not comfortable talking about themselves. We get that. We all understand that.
But I think Leah said this before. Like we're not here to like -- when we come into a game, it's really we're just there to cover the game. Really, unless there is something overarching going on at your school that requires us to dive in. It's going to be very rare where we're really dealing with stuff off the court.
Now, if something comes up and it's in the news we may have to address it. But, again, I think it's better for a school to the extent you can be open and honest about these things. A coach can be extremely helpful in terms of presenting the school side or the coach's side or administration's side of any issue that comes up, and I think that that matters.
When I was at Turner we would cover the NCAA tournament, and that's literally parachuting in two days before to cover eight teams. Those practice sessions were invaluable. We couldn't do the games without those practice sessions, without being able to sit down with the coach for 20, 25 minutes to talk about their team and talk about their players.
SIDs, pronunciations are critical, critical. You don't know how -- we feel worse than anybody if we pronounce someone's name wrong. So tell us how they want their name to be pronounced.
So that sort of the thing, openness and honesty, is invaluable.
NICK GUERRIERO: So let's talk about some of the newer things. Social media is important. As a broadcaster or writer or blogger, are you checking those teams' social media accounts to find information on a team? If a team is on Instagram filming them through the airport, is that something you'll see and say, Hmm, wait, we may have a story here? Or can we use that on one of the broadcasts?
Leah, we'll start with you.
LEAH SECONDO: Yeah, I'm smiling, because, yes all the time. If I could just go back to what David said about pronunciation really quick. If you could take the time to make a link on a player's bio page on the Internet and have the player pronounce their name in a little audio link, that would help us so much. Because the way they pronounce it compared to the way a coach pronounces it, to sports information -- three different ways.
So that would be extremely, extremely helpful to all of us out there, especially on the TV side. Of course, any media, because you don't want to miss-pronounce somebody's name when you meet them for the first time.
To go back to what you were all talking about, you know what? I got so excited when I heard David mention pronunciation I forgot exactly where we were going. Refresh me again.
NICK GUERRIERO: Yeah, we were talking about social media.
LEAH SECONDO: Social media. Definitely look at social media all the time with all the school. So if you're a DII or DIII school where you don't have someone traveling with you, see if you can get the okay or approval from whoever at the school to allow one of the players or somebody that may be injured to handle the social media for the team.
It is invaluable. Some of the stuff we've learned this season in team's travels, just what they're doing on their off days, what they're doing in practice, can be great, great stuff that we can work into games.
NICK GUERRIERO: Patrick, what about you? I know you're very active on social media at games, but are you checking anything that the team is putting, nuggets and tidbits for you to kind of run with?
PATRICK STEVENS: Probably not during games. I would say that I'll probably take a quick look before I see a team on a given night, but I try to generate most of the ideas that I'm going to write about away from that, because so much of what I'm trying to sell to a variety of outlets is trying to come up with stuff that people don't know about yet.
In some ways, social media blossoming, if you will, puts me off a little bit. There certainly are some ideas to take away and things to put in the back of my mind and use as things to connect later, but I probably don't use it from my perspective as much as you would probably see folks on TV using it.
NICK GUERRIERO: One of the questions I got, and we talked game notes a little while ago, but it talked about how you guys are all saying just kind of get to the facts. If you're a school that has a -- and Leah I think you said it was 30 or 40 page game notes, but not much relevance.
What are some things you don't even look at? Is there a page or certain types of notes? Patrick, you alluded to do we really need things in February that we had in November, like storylines. Everyone talks about player bios and stat pages.
Is there anything specific that maybe kind of just gets glances over quickly?
Anybody can take this one.
PATRICK STEVENS: I can start off with this a little bit. I think we talked about numbers a little bit earlier. Like if you're asking me to design the perfect set of game notes, I want the box scores from every game of the season, up-to-date stats, I want a roster, hopefully with pronunciation as well so that when I talk to somebody I don't miss pronounce their name when I first meet them.
And I think if you had a -- instead of a player bio necessarily, I mean, a lot of that is on the web already and you can have that at any given time. If I have game-by-game stats someplace, that is incredibly vital to be able to look stuff up as quickly as possible, especially if I'm sitting on a deadline trying to write after a game.
So those are the things I'm looking for. I'm probably not looking for like I said earlier, a description of what happened in a game 20 games ago. There is obviously stuff that probably has been in game notes for 25, 30, 40 years like the coach's radio show schedule. I'm probably not going to be looking at that very long either.
If we're looking for immediacy, it's largely going to be numbers based on an individual event basis.
DAVID ALDRIDGE: And I would say also, you know, especially in basketball, as advanced numbers continue to take over the game, I mean, it's not that I live by effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage and things like that, but those are good nuggets to have.
If you've got a player that's really getting it done behind the arc and really is, you know, points per possession, things like that, to the extent that you can work things like that out, that enhances the broadcast. It allows us to reach different consumers and viewers than we might normally. As this game gets younger, they're paying attention to the advanced numbers, so things like that are helpful.
On the other hand, if it's the 12th person on the team is averaging 0.1 points per game, you don't really have to detail the 2 points they scored in the game against Vermont three months ago. You can probably let that go.
LEAH SECONDO: If you're going to include box scores, especially in the basketball season, run all the boxes from every single game. Well that's great, but I would say 80% of us, I can't read the boxes. It's not because of these 56 year old eyes. It's just they make it so small. So make the box scores big enough, and maybe write one or two recap lines from that game. That would save us.
Again, one-stop shopping. I can go right to that game. So and so went on a 9-2 run to end the game and that was the difference. They had a career high 37.9 that hasn't been broken since 2013.
The other thing, too, during that week of notes, it would be extremely helpful for that particular game if maybe there was a story about a player that we -- that ran in the school newspaper or they were on a local radio show or a link to a story that was done on them during the week for a local TV station.
Those are the things that we like to see and read going into the games to help us prepare as well.
NICK GUERRIERO: So I think in the new world that we're going to be seeing the next couple years with radio and TV kind of changing a bit, what are your thoughts from seeing so many things where certain schools and their websites now have these little video previews. So the game notes and the game previews aren't the same.
Are those things that as we advance in time and things start changing, what do you guys see the new world for the SID becoming for the media?
DAVID ALDRIDGE: Well, the main thing that's happening is that I think a lot of, whether it's players certainly at the pro level, but increasingly at the college level, are kind of controlling their own stories and their own narratives through first person, various things.
So embrace it. I don't think that that's anything any of us should be upset about. It's the reality of the way the world is. LeBron James is not going to sit down and do interviews for 45 minutes with ESPN or Turner or anybody else when he's got his own platform to tell his story.
So that's just reality. You may not like it, but it's reality. But I would embrace it.
And to Leah's point, if your players are doing stuff on social that's interesting or fun or maybe a little provacative, that's great content for us. We're not going to shy away from that. We want to tell their stories the way they're telling them.
Again, Leah mentioned this. If your team is going on an international trip, document that. Have someone with a Go Pro. Document the whole thing so that you can put it on your Twitter account, Instagram. That's stuff we can show during games that's great content for us. Don't be afraid to embrace the changing landscape of social media and new media.
NICK GUERRIERO: Patrick?
PATRICK STEVENS: Yeah, it's kind of interesting how this all sort of shakes out. I think from a print side of things, obviously this business is evolving as well, and so I know an SID is going to have different kinds of responsibilities. It certainly isn't the 1980s or earlier anymore.
So I think when you look at what is essentially being rewarded and what is drawing attention, no matter how you slice it, it is more stuff on this side of things than it is a traditional role. And from somebody from my perspective, I would assume you're spending more time on that than you would be in something a little more traditional. I think that makes a lot of sense from your perspective.
LEAH SECONDO: I hope the game notes never go away, because there is nothing like having that piece of paper in your hand to be able to refer to. It's our Bible. It's a lot easier to find that packet of notes from you than sometimes searching and getting on our phones, which we can't always do, especially when we're on radio and TV.
But if I may, just also in those packets of notes, I think it was David or Patrick, one of them said that the bios are there, the bios are online, but sometimes the DII and DIII we're not even seeing bios online.
The thing is, we don't get coverage when we don't have time. Things are changing. More games are being streamed. May not be on ESPN and may not be CBS or whatever, but it's on a platform, and it's on a platform for us and you though to be able to showcase the student-athlete.
So take the time to, please, put those bios online. I just got done doing a game last week and there were no bios on any of the players for one particular team online. So I really had to go really digging, and then you become lopsided and kind of favoring the other team.
We want to do our homework. We need your help to be able to do that.
PATRICK STEVENS: To build off that comment and some other things that we've talked about today, I feel as though so much of this is preemptive stuff that can be done before a season.
So everybody knows that in the middle of November and March everybody is losing their mind, right? In May and in June maybe you have a little more time to be able to that kind of stuff.
I know I do a fair bit of research for stuff that I work on in a relative off-season. I know nobody wants to spend all their time doing that kind of stuff, but that's probably the time that it would be best served doing that, so that when you get to the season a lot of that stuff is there already.
Obviously things are harder when you don't have freshman on campus yet, and that's understandable. But I think a lot of this stuff is things that can be preemptively done to just kind of put -- rather than put things off and have a crush to deal with later.
NICK GUERRIERO: So we'll end it with this one question for everyone. Obviously we're ending our Thank Your SID Week. I'll throw everybody on the spot right here.
Tell me a story of an SID you've dealt with that you think about did a really good job that you guys would like to highlight. It could be early from your career or someone you just worked with yesterday.
DAVID ALDRIDGE: Well, I mean, I'll start. When I first broke in at the Washington Post my first assignment was covering Georgetown University basketball. To be thrown in to cover John Thompson on a daily basis was intimidating, to say the least.
Now, I did not have an all-NBA center to cover. I didn't have Patrick Ewing or Alonzo Mourning or Dikembe Mutombo. I had Ben Gillery. That was my center the year I covered. But the late great Bill Shapland was incredibly helpful to me in his very gruff but loving way in helping me get some sense of how this was going to go, right?
So we weren't just going to pick up the phone and call Big John. You were going to tell Bill you needed to talk to John, and then John would call you at 2:00 in the morning. And that's what would happen. That's how it rolled back then.
But Bill was so fair, because the rules are the same for everybody and you didn't play favorites. He was over the years obviously an incredible advocate for Georgetown as he should've been, but was also incredibly helpful.
He was proof positive that while they weren't going to bend the rules for you, they weren't going to cheat you either. They were going to play fair and they were going to give you what they could give you, but then you were on your own.
I think most reporters, journalists can live with that. So Bill was a guy I'll always remember at the very beginning of my career that really taught me a lot about how to do this.
PATRICK STEVENS: I feel like as I answer this that I could probably go into about 50 different situations, so I don't want to get myself stuck singling one person out without giving credit to others.
But I would say that there are certain places that have a really good -- they take a lot of pride in doing a good job in relating to people that are covering them. One that I will point out is Navy Football. Folks over there, Scott Strasemeier and Stacie Michaud, really do a great job of making sure you know what would a good idea to ask about, what would not be a good idea to ask about, and then explain why one way or the other.
Some of that you would come back to the word trust. I mean, that's kind of what's there. It's, okay, you got a job to do and we're going to help you do it because we're going to end up looking good in the long run. I think it's sort of a snowball effect. The more that works out that way the more you understand, okay, everybody knows what they're here for. Everybody is benefitting from it over the long haul.
Yeah, there will be times where you're probably -- an SID is going to say no. There are going to be times that I'm going to come with a request that you're going to wish that you didn't hear. For the most part, it's mostly mutually beneficial, I think. That's one of the many places that comes to mind that really gets that.
LEAH SECONDO: Certainly no question about it, Barb Kowal. When Barb was with UCONN back in its early days before they became what they are today, Barb was in that run. She was tough in her own loving way and we respected her for what she did. She had to find balance to keep the players happy when they didn't really want to talk to the media because this was new to them. The way it just took over the state of Connecticut, it was a tough balance I'm sure for her.
But Barb always had the media in line with notes, updated notes, factual stats. If she felt there was an area that we couldn't discuss or maybe was very delicate, she would address that with all of us together and never single out one person in the media. She made us all feel that we were all covering the team.
I say this from the radio, the newspaper, and the TV standpoint. I think that was very important back in that day. It was a difficult position for her at the time because there weren't very many female sports information directors, too. So she was trying to balance a lot of different hats back then in the late '80s, early '90s.
NICK GUERRIERO: All right. This has been a great webinar. We would like to thank everyone for joining our session today as we close out our CoSIDA Recognition Week. I will also extend our thanks to our corporate partners once again, Capital One and ASAP Sports for their continuing support of our professional development series.
A reminder, you can find this, the webinar and the ASAP Sports transcript on CoSIDA Connect, which is our member portal later this afternoon.
Thanks to everyone who joined today, and up next on Tuesday December, 17th, we're calling it Goodwill to All Men and Women, and this is dealing with holiday demands and wellness. This webinar will be coordinated by the CoSIDA goodwill and wellness committee, so please check cosida.com and out social media channels for updates and registration.
Once again, want to thank Patrick, Leah, and David for being with us, and talk to you next time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports