By Justin Toscano
San Diego Union-Tribune
The Sporting News’ John Turner, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Glen Crevier and the Los Angeles News Group’s Mark Medina emphasized the importance of finding unique and undiscovered story angles on the road to help justify travel costs.
The three spoke during a pair of sessions at the APSE Conference in San Diego about maximizing reporter’s trips, traveling for opportunity rather than obligation, and giving readers something special to read even from home games.
Medina, the Lakers beat writer for the LANG, said he tried to balance the daily coverage of an underperforming team by writing features, especially on potential free agency targets, as fans focused more on the team’s rebuilding process.
This past season, he interviewed then-Suns player Goran Dragic, who was traded to the Heat two weeks after the interview. Medina was able to catch up with him in Miami, a prime example of how keeping relationships with athletes can lead to unique story angles.
“Just being there increases your credibility a lot, whether it be with players, coaches or people close to the team,” he said. “Breaking stories is great, but being there to build relationships is better.”
Turner, who is the editorial director at sportingnews.com, talked about a time when a reporter saw Giants outfielder Hunter Pence shake the hands of each member of the color guard before the start of a World Series game, which proved to be a unique situation that no other reporters noticed.
Medina said it is a good idea for reporters to have something tangible to show the editors regarding the benefits of a trip when trying to justify a travel budget. Crevier urges reporters to merely stay in communication with the boss.
“Work with your editors to lineup your travel budget and learn how your sports department uses its money so you can get to cover more of what you want to,” Crevier said.