Greg Logan, a sports columnist for Newsday who has covered the NFL, NBA, and NHL as well as local college sports, visited a Sports Reporting class at Stony Brook University on Feb. 4 to discuss his journalism career.
Aspiring sportswriters must be committed to their career choice in order to succeed in a field that requires hard work over long hours, according to Logan.
”I would say you really can’t go into this profession unless you have an absolute passion to pursue this career despite the minimal rewards you might receive, especially early in your career,” Logan said. “It’s a calling in addition to an occupation. My goal was to be a sportswriter.”
Throughout his career, Logan has been the beat writer for both the New York Islanders and New York Rangers. He is also an award-winning boxing writer. He knew from high school that sportswriting is what he wanted to do.
“Part of it was being a big sports fan, and part of it was loving to write and having something to say,” Logan said.
The profession has evolved over time. For most of his career, Logan didn’t have social media websites like Twitter that many journalists today use.
“Social media is a necessary evil,” he said. “We have to tweet out key quotes during interviews and you have to keep up with what people are saying. There’s a definite level of awareness you need.”
While the sports journalism job market is currently tough and certain levels of commitment and passion are needed, Logan expressed a cautious optimism for the next generation of sportswriters.
“The resources aren’t there, the job market is folding and papers are consolidating,” he said. “But the advantage for you is that you guys are young and cheap, not like the older people like me who are still hanging around.”
Out of the gate, Logan struggled to prosper in his job and get to the point he did. He worked about 65 hours a week at a paper in Oklahoma for about $3 per hour.
“I had to gut it out until I got the breaks I needed to move up the chain,” he said.
Due to Super Bowl 50, Logan reminisced on some of the handful of Super Bowls he covered and what a journalist needs to do to succeed in getting stories at media scrums.
“You have to go into Super Bowl weekend with a game plan, which may be an athlete’s interesting backstory or a game storyline,” he said. “Because of all the media hype, it may be tough to ask all the questions you want to. You have to learn how to plan to operate in a group setting. Be aggressive and have a firm idea of what you need, and get the athlete’s attention.”