I'm in Chicago for Blogs With Balls 6 and taking plenty of notes. I'll be posting my notes from each panel here for the use of anyone who wants to check them out. Keep in mind that these are highlights, not complete transcripts. Every effort is given to be as accurate as possible; apologies for any transcription mistakes. Here are my notes from the "Breaking Away From the Narrative: How to Navigate the Waters of 24/7 NFL Coverage" panel. Apologies for the short notes here; I was uploading some other notes during this panel.
Eric Edholm @eric_edholm
Andrea Hangst @fball_andrea
Maggie Hendricks @maggiehendricks
Robert Klemko @robertklemko
Keith Bulluck, @kbull53
Moderator: Michael Schottey @schottey
Maggie: [At USA Today] "I didn't necessarily always know my click numbers which was nice. It let me look for stories that are good stories."
How to balance the 24/7 nature of the NFL today: Andrea: "It's hard to have that separation between work and life."
"It's something I'm thinking about all of the time."
"My work is my life."
RK: "There are things you're going to weigh in on and not know what you're talking about."
He cites mock drafts in particular; Eric agrees.
MS: There are both internal and external pressures
"We can all sit here and say mock drafts don't matter but we're all going to write them."
"It's something people like to read and they get informed, if you do it right."
Not just the opinion, "It's about the process you go through in supporting that."
MH: Mocks can teach non-college football fans about draft eligible players
RK: "The better example of something that is completely worthless is the draft grades that come out the day after the draft."
"Most of the times, it's driven more by your betters and what they want you to do."
MS: "Where is the line between a strong opinion and throwing something out there just to have a strong opinion?"
RK: Needs to be a thought you have a tough time editing to 140 characters.
AH: Needs a level of thoughtfulness, not used just to start fights.
EE: You can write most great ideas on back of a business card, though, so just 140 characters shouldn't kill everything.
MS: "What's your process for writing something unique?"
Hypothetical situation of Roger Goodell killing someone.
Maggie, work with editors, "Who's discussing the murder weapon? Who's discussing where it happened?"
EE: Have an idea where the story might be going
RK: "Spin it forward." Look at next commish.
"What are the things I've done in my life that gives me a perspective on this?"
AH: "Get all the facts. Who did Roger Goodell murder? What weapon? Spin it forward, not just who the next commish will be, what does this mean for the NFL right now?" Sponsorships, etc.
KB: Do media members think about the person involved in drug charges?
AH: "I think about the person all the time."
RK: "I didn't always and then I had a couple of legal scrapes."
"The more you do this [media job], the more cautious you are."
EE: Bad situations affect normal people, same as NFLers
MH: "I think of the families first."
MS: AP, Ray Rice: "I can't say your punishment is you never get to play football ever again."
Not supported by CBA
"You can morally believe what you want to believe, but at the same time, that's not how it works."
I asked about concussions and how that affects their coverage of the NFL.
MH: "After Dave Duerson killed himself, I had a breakdown." Had to debate whether to keep covering football. Decided: "Use my loud voice for good."
RK: Attitudes towards concussions are a problem. He looked at concussion treatment at a rural HS, a valuable story that caused some major changes: "The problem is my story in that series got 5000 page views, the least on our site that year."
"A lot of NFL fans don't want to read about it."
AH: "It's so clear as day that this is a huge problem."
"You don't want to be faced with that."
"I'm trying to do something good here even I know there's ugliness with this sport."
KB: "It's a reality for me."
"They literally showed me my brain."
"Players know. Some guys at 23 are retiring. They play four years they want to retire. And that's great."
"The NFL is doing things to make this better for players."
"I honestly don't worry about myself now, but what about 10,15, 20 years from now?"
"We're modern day gladiators."
Duerson story affected him.
"All you guys can do is just make people aware. If they don't click they don't click."
This was a useful panel with a lot of different perspectives on football and how to cover it. I thought the responses to the concussion question were particularly good, addressing it from all sides (impact on players, impact on writers, public interest or lack thereof in stories).