Thursday, January 03, 2008
Blogger Interviews: Chris Mottram
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.
On the hot seat today is Chris Mottram of the recently-started The Sporting Blog at Sporting News; a blog with the corporate backing we all long for. He also co-writes Mr. Irrelevant with his brother, Jamie. Chris is like from the first family of blogging, if such a thing exists. So make sure you let him have it in the comments.
1. The rundown:
Name: Christopher Andrew Mottram aka C-Mott aka Lil’ Train aka Doctor aka Lil’ Pistol Starter
Location: Charlotte, NC (Northern VA at heart)
Occupation: Community Product Manager, SportingNews.com
Favorite team: Redskins, Nationals, Orioles, Maryland, Mason, Wiz (in that order)
Links to your favorite all-time posts you've written. (3-5)
Because I don’t really feel like digging through three years worth of Saved By the Blog content, I’ll limit it to just my favorites since my brother and I joined in July to re-launch Mr. Irrelevant.
The Dead Tree Crew Gives Exclusive, All Access Look at Their Notorious Tailgate
Urlacher Tit Grab Girl Is on 'Rock of Love'
I realize that last link is kinda cheating, but I’m quite proud of all the Hot Fitted entries. Look for that series to make a comeback in some form soon (that’s what we call a “tease” in the biz).
Time per day spent blogging and perusing the blogosphere: About 10 hours.
2. We're quite curious how you landed at Sporting News. But first take us through your time in college, meaning. we want to know what you studied, internships, first jobs, what bosses you slept with, etc.
This exchange from “Tommy Boy” applies quite literally to my college experience:
Tommy: Did you hear I finally graduated?
Richard Hayden: Yeah, and just a shade under a decade too, all right.
Tommy: You know a lot of people go to college for seven years.
Richard Hayden: I know, they're called doctors.
I too went to school for seven years. And I only have a Bachelor’s degree.
I attended four different schools, and changed my major as many times. In order, I went to the University of Rhode Island, Northern VA Community College, Blue Ridge Community College, and George Mason University.
I majored in Sport Management at Mason, mostly because it was easier than anything else (no math or language requirements), and it had “sport” in the title. Needless to say, school was never my thing.
Writing always was, however. I was the front page editor of my (award winning, I might add, no big deal) high school newspaper. During my three years at Mason, I was an intern at AOL where I started Show Me Your Blog -- later called Saved By the Blog -- in 2004 and co-hosted “Sports Bloggers Live” with my brother, among other, less exciting, duties.
I have never hooked up with any of my bosses that you know of.
3. Now that that's established, how'd you hook up with Sporting News and create the awesome new The Sporting Blog?
Once I graduated from Mason, I could no longer suck on AOL’s corporate teet as an intern. I was thanked for my three years of service there by not being offered a job.
After being unemployed for about a month (blogging is A LOT easier without a job or school to worry about) I came to Charlotte to interview for the position of Blogging Overlord (paraphrased). I found out about the position from Shawn Schrager, who had been at SN.com for a couple months as their Director of Product Development. I worked with him at AOL and on “Sports Bloggers Live.”
I was offered the position, accepted it, and moved to Charlotte in late October.
As for The Sporting Blog, it’s still in “beta” mode, if you will. We’re still bringing in contributors (already have EDSBS’ Orson Swindle, No Mas’ Large and AA’s Brian Powell writing for it), and figuring out the exact direction of the Blog.
Although “the Internet does not need another sports blog” is mockingly hidden within TSB’s header, we’re hoping that’s not entirely true. I think there’s a place for us, and we’re still trying to carve it out. With the bloggers we have, it shouldn’t be too difficult.
We will also be launching First Cuts sometime after the New Year. I’m pretty excited (see also: stoked) about that blog. It will cover “sports culture,” to put it simply. Clothes, shoes, cars, hot fitteds, etc.
I feel like you’re being sarcastic when you say “awesome new The Sporting Blog.” Are you? If so, this interview is over.
4. Are you edited at SN or do you have the same liberties you do at Mr. Irrelevant?
I’m definitely edited, as is to be expected. I was reprimanded during the second week of The Sporting Blog’s existence for referring to a high school coach as a “fascist.” But the fact of the matter was that the coach was a fucking fascist, so I didn’t think it was too bad. I understood where they were coming from though. [Takes sip of corporate kool-aid.]
5. Take us through a typical day of blogging. Balancing The Sporting Blog and Mr. Irrelevant is probably time consuming, no?
I’m either blogging or searching for things to blog about from the time I arrive at work until when I leave. I try to post on Mr. Irrelevant in the evenings once I get home, but I’m usually drunk, asleep or drunk and asleep anytime after about 6 p.m. This would be why Mr. I is back to being almost all Jamie lately.
I love Mr. Irrelevant though, so getting back to posting more often there is, like, a goal of mine, or something.
6. Dream job? Go.
Senior Editor of Blogs & Community at Yahoo! Sports. The guy who currently holds that position has his head up his ass.
7. There are all sorts of wonderful blogs out there. A few of your favorites?
I’d so much rather just list the ones that irritate the shit out of me, but then I’d make enemies, and I have enough of those already.
So let’s stay positive. My favorites would have to be, but not limited to, D.C Sports Bog, We Are the Postmen, Deadspin, With Leather, Awful Announcing, 100% Injury Rate, EDSBS, Hogs Haven, Scott Van Pelt Style, Bugs & Cranks, Sports by Brooks, KSK…shit, maybe I should just send you a screen grab of my Bloglines.
8. How'd you go about promoting the new SN digs? Email blasts? Word of mouth? And, if you'd be so kind, a piece of advice to some smaller sites how to build an audience.
First off, I would never do email blasts, so don’t insult me like that. People who do email blasts should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell. In case I’m not being clear here, I hate email blasts.
I have, however, shamelessly begged certain people (Will Leitch) for links. Other than that, I live by the same rules that all new sites should: If you build it, they will come. Post frequently. But it’s also about quality. Some sites (again, I’m not going to name names) don’t get that. Making 15 posts a day that are complete shit is not better than making three really great ones.
I guess what I’m saying is post a lot and don’t be shitty. Sorry, unlike my brother, I’m not good with the advice stuff.
And for the record, The Sporting Blog is still a “smaller site” itself. Sure, it has corporate backing, but the numbers aren’t changing the world. Yet.
9. Most rewarding parts of blogging? Most frustrating?
Most rewarding: When Hot Clicks features one of your posts. Most Frustrating: When Hot Clicks doesn’t feature one of your posts.
10. This might be a loaded question, but, in your opinion, what's the future of sports blogs? Enlighten us.
I can’t say for sure, but I’m hoping it involves YouTube videos in full 1080i HD quality. That would be awesome.
11. You're having dinner with four people -- two athletes, one hot chick and a dead president. Name 'em. And, of course, why?
This is a tough question. What is the hot chick’s reason for being there? Is she my significant other, or just a friend? Because if I’m going to get to sleep with her after we eat, then I’m gonna go with someone smokin’ hot who likely has a shitty personality and an annoying voice. If it’s just a friend, then I’ll go with a cool and funny chick, assuming that exists.
And do the athletes have to be alive? If so, do they have to be in their current state? In other words, can I go with 1982 Joe Gibbs, or would I have to go with 2007 Joe Gibbs?
Forget it. I’m just complicating a rather straightforward question, so here goes: Allison Stokke, Anna Kornikova, Elisha Dushku, and JFK. This way I have three hot chicks and one dude who probably knows more hot chicks.
(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; Matt Mosley).