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Video clips from interviews with

professionals in sports media.

 A few years ago, I had the idea to contact friends I worked with back in the day and ask them if they’d share with my students some of what it’s like to work covering sports. But when it came to covering the NFL, I had to start from scratch.

When I first approached The New England Patriots in 2004, they did not know me from Adam. But once I introduced myself and explained my intent, they authorized me to visit training camp in 2004 and again in 2006. Some of what those visits yielded is here; other interviews have been used in the classroom. This is the third training camp they have allowed me to visit and I am grateful for their hospitality.

National Football League teams have strict policies on managing the media, perhaps none more so than the Patriots. Paul Zimmerman has been covering pro football for decades ( I was reading his work when he was chronicling Joe Namath and the New York Jets for the New York Post)  and doesn’t appreciate the way things are done now.

  He wrote this in response to an e-mailed question on

about Personal Seat Liscenses and the corporate nature of today's National Football League:

I know you don't want to hear an old sportswriter crying about how we actually got to know the people we were covering, and how we actually felt welcome instead of hated. I mean when you're around a team such as the Patriots you feel as though you're in an enemy war zone. In the really old days, not many players were making much money, but there was a certain joy involved in what they were doing. Now you've got a bunch of millionaires who are always in a sour mood, whose every other utterance is, "Get out of my face." And corporate? How many ordinary fans can afford a season ticket for their family, or those dreadful Personal Seat Licenses? And yet...and yet...the game itself is still magnificent. They still haven't figured out a way to ruin it -- yet.

Paul Zimmerman has a unique perspective, covering the NFL for a daily paper, a weekly magazine, books and now the Internet. I asked him what the change has been like.

Point of view:

Much like Paul Zimmerman, Larry Weisman of USA Today is a veteran newspaper man and he’s seen the changes in how teams manage the media but has a different reaction.

The tools of the trade:

The experience of reading an article on the printed page is unchanged. But the way in which a reporter gets his notes has changed. I asked Larry about technology and the newspaperman.

Local vs National:

Football is football and writing is writing but there’s a difference in how a reporter covers for a local paper or a national publication such as USA Today.

The times, they are a changin’

When yours truly was just a kid starting out, the Jets had a receiver named Derrick Gaffney. I shake my head when I see his son playing for the Patriots.

    Larry Weisman has had that feeling in spades!


Among the many reporters at the Patriots practice that day was Jayme Parker of NESN. She was pressed for time, first she covered the morning practice; then Okajima had a barbecue and then, another assignment. Three shoots in one day. So I asked her two quick questions on the fly.

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