Milwaukee Talks: MLB.com Brewers beat reporter Adam McCalvy
Podcast: MLB.com's Adam McCalvy talk about the best and worst Brewers interviews
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If the 2009 Brewers are "new school," then MLB.com Brewers beat reporter Adam McCalvy was on the leading edge of a new-school approach to sports journalism.
The New Berlin native has worked with MLB.com since its inception in 2001, and McCalvy's worked hard to build the product into a legitimate source of Brewers news. And he's not afraid to admit that he does his job differently than some of his peers. McCalvy consumes sports blogs. He doesn't fraternize with the players. And he admits that once a year, he likes to sit in the bleachers and drink a beer just to remember why he got into the business in the first place.
In this latest Milwaukee Talks, we caught up with McCalvy in the Miller Park press box to discuss players, Web journalism and how to fight the burn out that comes with covering baseball for seven months out of the year.
OnMilwaukee.com: I'm guessing that I'm not the only person who's told you that I now read your Brewers content before I read the daily paper's coverage. Is it because I can read it online or on my iPhone so easily? Or is it the writing, itself, that's unique?
Adam McCalvy: I'm glad you say that, and I appreciate that you say that. I think that's changed, maybe, over the years. When we first started in 2001, I don't think that people knew quite who we were. I'd like to think that over the eight years that we've been doing this, we're basically the same as the newspaper. I have the same editorial freedom. I should be chasing the same issues that they are. I've never been censored in a story.
OMC: Well, there is that disclaimer at the bottom of every article that says your content isn't subject to the approval of MLB or the Brewers. Is that legit?
AM: It is legit. An editor has never come to me and said I can't write about Ryan Braun's slump because he's leading All Star balloting and you need to get more votes for him.
OMC: So MLB.com isn't looking for you to be a cheerleader?
AM: You have to be a legitimate news outlet if you want to draw people in. Then people can see that they can buy tickets (on Brewers.com) or sign up for the Gameday audio product.
There is a fine line that I have to straddle. I still write for Brewers.com, and I understand that it is different than writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Not that I don't go after stories that are negative, but I am conscious about this. I am much more separate from the Brewers than the guys on the broadcast, for example, but there are shades of covering things. But that's happening all over the place in journalism these days, with the advent of blogs and new outlets.
OMC: You don't work for the Brewers, though, right?
AM: I'm an employee of MLB Advanced Media, which is a separate company from MLB (and the Brewers).
OMC: Did you have to fight for credibility with players and readers?
AM: The players didn't ever notice or care. They see so many people come through. They know who we all are, but outside a few guys, I don't think they understand the difference between, say, OnMilwaukee.com and JSOnline.com.
We did have to fight for credibility up here in the press box. In 2001, the newspaper Web sites were nothing like they are today. We could post pre-game stories, and the newspapers adjusted to the way we were doing it. There's been adjusting back and forth. We've gained credibility because we've hired so many newspaper guys, but I like to think that our work has gained credibility, too.
OMC: You come from a news background, right?
AM: I went to journalism school in Madison, and my focuses were on news writing and public relations. When I graduated, I wanted to work for the team. I wanted to be (Brewers media relations director) Mike Vassallo. This job came up through interning for the Brewers in 1999 in their PR office. MLB.com was formed by a vote of the owners in late 2000, and they were looking for warm bodies to fill spots. I got lucky and was in the right place at the right time.
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Downtowner | June 8, 2009 at 11:47 a.m. (report)
Good stuff. I do think "the future" of sports media will really feature two areas: 1) funded coverage by the leagues (like MLB.com, NBATV, etc.) and 2) direct, straight to the fans content from players, owners, agents, etc. It's a balance, though. Sports media consumption is crazy and the more content, the better. But, like everything, the cream rises to the top. Online is it for sure.
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