Thursday, December 13, 2007

Blogger Interviews: Matt Mosley


We're running a segment here at The Big Picture where we'll interview some of the biggest names in the sports blogosphere. What's the point? Well, these guys spend countless, thankless hours writing, so a little recognition from time to time is well warranted. Think of this as the blogger's version of a reach-around or something.


Joining us today is Matt Mosley of ESPN.com's Hashmarks. Mosley's a former newspaper guy, but recently jumped over to the Net and the riches of blogging. Since he's a real journalist, he talks to real people and does real life reporting.
So play nice in the comments.

1. The rundown:

Name: Matt Mosley
Age: 34
Location: Dallas
Occupation: Sportswriter
Favorite team: Baylor
Time per day spent blogging and perusing the blogosphere: I spend at least 10 hours a day on the Internet.

2. Take us through a typical day of blogging.

Wake up at 6:30 a.m. and see if I missed anything overnight. Spend a couple of hours reading stories from around the nation. I start with newspaper stories and then try to look at some blogs. Sometimes I'll drive out to Valley Ranch and check in with the Cowboys. Most of the times I take a break from blogging at noon and start making calls. I call scouts, players and coaches. I do a lot of local radio and some national, so I'm having to constantly work around that.

3. Your résumé us loaded. Take us through your career path, starting with early internships, first jobs, etc.

I went to law school after graduating from Baylor. My father's a lawyer and it seemed like the best path. About a year and a half in, I decided to bail. I took a job with a popular local sports radio show in Dallas called The Ticket and started free-lancing for the Dallas Morning News. At first, I covered primarily high school athletics. In 2003, I worked on the Baylor basketball scandal. Just before Carlton Dotson confessed to killing his teammate, he called one of my old professors to let him know. That professor called me, and we had a national scoop the next morning.

I suppose that was my "big break," although it was a tragic story to cover. We won a couple of national awards for our efforts, and soon I was asked to become a Cowboys beat writer for the Dallas Morning News and DallasNews.com. In 2006, I became a columnist and launched a Cowboys blog called "Matt Mosley's Cowboys Blog." The blog had a nice following, and it's probably the reason ESPN.com eventually hired me. It didn't hurt that my old DMN editor John Banks had become the NFL editor at ESPN.com.

4. How'd you hook up with ESPN.com last January? You approach them?They come to you? Was the original agreement that you'd be the NFL blogger, or was it going to be primarily columns at first?

They hired me to blog and write columns. It took us a while to get the blog up and running, so I focused on writing columns for the first two months. ESPN.com approached me in late October and the process lasted until December. Again, they liked the Cowboys Blog and wanted me to do something similar for the entire league.

5. Talk about some similarities and differences between working for a newspaper and working for a major website. Are you edited the same way? Do you have more freedom at the .com?

I have a lot more freedom now. No one has to approve my entries. I have editors who might back read things, but I automatically post my entries. Just like a newspaper, I do have deadlines for most of my columns. With the DMN, I had my own niche. With ESPN.com, it's a lot larger playing field. I loved the newspaper business, but the Internet gives your work a lot more immediacy. And quite frankly, I just feel a lot better about where ESPN.com is headed than I do newspapers.

6. There are all sorts of wonderful blogs out there. A few you'd recommend?

I like a lot of the same blogs I'm sure you guys like. Deadspin is always fun and Kissing Suzy Kolber, The Big Lead and With Leather are all regular stops. I really like what my friend Dan Steinberg has done with the DC Sports Bog. He's an excellent writer and he's funny. My pal Ethan Skolnick does a really nice job with his blog on the Sen-Sentinel Web site. I also love The Bastard Machine, which Tim Goodman does for the San Francisco Chronicle. If you're not on the blogroll, don't read anything in to it. I just haven't done a good job of adding links.

7. The blogroll on Hashmarks has a lot of well-known blogs, but --correct us if we're wrong -- the site doesn't seem to reference or link to that many blogs or non-MSM sites. Any reason for that? Does your background in MSM and not as a blogger (like TrueHoop Henry) influence it?

It's a good question. Quite honestly I need to become a lot more efficient in my research process. The problem with my gig is that I'm asked to express an opinion on pretty much every major story that comes along. Sometimes I couldn't care less about a story. I think I should be issued some free pass. You want me to write my 500th entry on Mike Vick? Nope, I"ll pass.

8. Most rewarding parts of blogging? Most frustrating?

Most rewarding is that you have a constant outlet. Most frustrating is that you have a constant outlet. We just had our first child and the time that a blog requires really dominates my days. It's frustrating when you to try to keep 32 fan bases happy.

9. This might be a loaded question, but, in your opinion, what's the future of sports blogs? Enlighten us.

I think sports blogs could end up making newspapers obsolete. Right now, the good ones do a nice job of posting pics and other features. I would like to be a blogger who continues to break news instead of simply linking to other newsbreakers. There are a lot of great blogs, but not many of them take the time to do original reporting.

10. What's the ultimate goal of your site/your writing?

I'll eventually return to a normal life of writing features and columns when I burn out from blogging, which could happen as soon as Monday.

11. You're having dinner win an NFL coach, NFL player and a super hot babe. Who are they and why?

Cardinals center Al Johnson, Seahawks special teams coach Bruce DeHaven and 49ers offensive line coach George Warhop.

If you want me to name a head coach, I have to go with Mike Holmgren.

Hot babe? Meredith Mosley

(Past interviews; also found on right sidebar: Dawizofodds; Matt Ufford; The Mighty MJD; Jamie Mottram; The Big Lead; The Cavalier; Will Leitch; Dan Shanoff; Dan Steinberg; Brooks; Unsilent Majority; J.E. Skeets; Henry Abbott; The Dugout; NFL Adam; Bethlehem Shoals; Orson Swindle; Big Daddy Drew; Brian Cook; Awful Announcing; JoeSportsFan).

4 comments:

GMoney said...

Good stuff, glad to see this feature back.

I am just assuming, since Mosely is from Dallas, that his idol is Ed Werder.

TheNaturalMevs said...

You beat me to the punch.

Tyler said...

I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what you are trying to say. I am sure you will reach so many people with what you have got to say.
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