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Molly McGrath is Sprinting Towards Excellence

“Is there burnout? Yeah, but I wouldn’t be able to prepare any other way.”

Derek Futterman

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Molly McGrath
Courtesy: Molly McGrath

As the clock counts down to the end of the fourth quarter, Molly McGrath stands at the ready. Prepared, alert and energized, she sprints onto the field at the sound of the final buzzer to interview West Virginia head football coach, Neal Brown, after his team claimed a 17-6 victory over Pittsburgh. Once her work was done, she posted the video to social media, which garnered a significant number of views and remarks commending her dedication to the craft.

While it may seem like an aberration from the norm for viewers, the occurrence represented a typical day on the job for McGrath, who has been working for ESPN as a college football reporter since 2016. Whenever she is on site for an assignment, her objective is to provide information and insights by serving as a resource on the field.

“He just shook the hand of someone that he just beat on the field, [so] you want to get that interview right after that moment,” McGrath explained. “[I] can’t say I don’t hustle and work hard – I definitely do. I’m a little aggressive; maybe some people think it’s too much, but I do that pretty much after every game.”

Having the wherewithal to hustle is essential to McGrath’s occupation, which necessitates extensive preparation, collaboration and synergy. Keeping her role in perspective, she is able to execute her tasks at a high level, which pay dividends to the aggregate output. Additionally, possessing a keen interest and shrewd understanding of the psychology behind the broadcast renders her adept at addressing the needs of her colleagues.

When McGrath moved from the West Coast to Boston to study broadcast journalism at Boston College, she made it a point to stay in the metropolis each summer. Although she had completed internships with WHDH-TV and NESN, the impending start to her senior year heightened concern over a lack of genuine reporting experience.

Despite serving as captain of the cheerleading team, McGrath met with athletic director Gene DeFilippo to solicit clearance to interview student athletes, coaches and personnel in a student-reporter role. Evoking evidence of an ostensible schism between the athletes and other college students, she pitched her ability to bridge that gap through journalism.

“He always tells the story, [and] it’s so funny because he’s like, ‘Here comes in this little blonde cheerleader spitting piss and vinegar, and she’s telling me I need to give her a job and let her do all these things,’ because I guess I was pretty demanding or strong in what I wanted,’” McGrath shared. “….I said, ‘This is what I want to do. I want to be a sports reporter, and I want your help.’”

Throughout her senior year, McGrath was vigorous in her pursuit to compile a demo reel to facilitate her job applications. Despite reaching out to more than 100 different sports networks at every corner of the United States and enduring universal rejection, she remained persistent and eventually received a lucky break. McGrath, as it turns out, was afforded a chance to work at ESPN as a production assistant, where she experienced the competitive nature of the profession firsthand.

While there is a discernible yearning for obsequiousness in dedicated professionals, vitriol and acerbic rhetoric can demoralize self-confidence and engender animosity and contempt. McGrath always looks to succeed in her endeavors and simultaneously has avoided becoming ensnared in malice, substantiated through her relationships with other colleagues. Part of that emanated from developing a kinship with her cheerleading teammates.

“There’s this perception that women are competitive and unkind with each other, but I’ve found that in this industry, at least in my experience and especially at ESPN, the women are all really supportive of each other and we want each other to succeed because I think it makes all women look better,” McGrath said. “If we’re all succeeding, it’s better for women in this male-dominated industry in general.”

After six months, McGrath departed ESPN and drew the attention of the Boston Celtics, which brought her on as a web reporter and in-arena host. Repetitions both on digital platforms and at TD Garden refined her ability in cohesive storytelling, along with being comfortable addressing a crowd.

“When I’m on TV and it’s just me looking into a camera, sure there might be millions of people watching me, but it doesn’t faze me because being in an arena live with people is so much more difficult,” McGrath said. “I think it taught me to persevere and to stay clear-headed, and to tell my story, in a way, around a bunch of people.”

As her second season with the Celtics came to a close, McGrath felt she needed to do more to ensure sustained growth. One day, she spontaneously looked at her Facebook messages and saw a FOX Sports executive had reached out, sharing that the company was starting a new sports network. Jacob Ullman, senior vice president of production and talent development, discovered her work on YouTube and thought that she may be a good fit.

McGrath then noticed it had been sent two weeks earlier, and she rapidly followed up and flew to Los Angeles to audition. By May, she was on the air as an in-studio host and update anchor, on the ground floor of what proved to be a burgeoning property. Once it became time for football season, she was added to the NFL on FOX lineup to work as a sideline reporter with Sam Rosen and Heath Evans.

“I was terrible, but I had so much fun, and to be at an event live is so invigorating,” McGrath said. “I remember in that moment before one of my first games thinking, ‘I think this is something I really need to do, and I need to be the best at it,’ because why else would you do it if you don’t want to be one of the best?”

McGrath’s hard work was rewarded with a promotion to serve as the network’s lead college football reporter the next season. Working alongside Gus Johnson and Charles Davis was an invaluable experience for her to grow accustomed to different settings, build her network of contacts and become more proficient in reporting.

“I was still learning, but [I] worked really hard,” McGrath said. “I had a couple of moments where I’m like, ‘Oh shit, I’m on TV,’ and I would get really nervous because I was still so young and inexperienced.”

McGrath ultimately made her return to ESPN ahead of the 2016 college football season to contribute on Friday night college football telecasts and occasionally host College Football Live. The demand for excellence was still very much present, and McGrath felt motivated to prove to executives that they had made the right decision in bringing her back.

“Being a part of game broadcasts at ESPN [brings] heightened expectations and a heightened level of, ‘Everyone needs to be great,’ and, ‘Everyone needs to pull their own weight,’” McGrath said. “That’s something that I learned at ESPN that I think has made me better.”

In the years that have ensued, McGrath has ascended through the ranks, much of which can be attributed to her preparatory regimen leading up to an assignment. In working as the lead reporter for ESPN Saturday Night Primetime, she usually finds herself on a flight home on Sunday morning and begins her work at cruising altitude. Throughout the rest of the day, McGrath works to schedule conversations with the athletes and uses her time on Monday to complete her film study.

“I think that I’m at my best when I’m just reacting and when I’m working unscripted because I have confidence from my preparation,” McGrath said. “….Is there burnout? Yeah, but I wouldn’t be able to prepare any other way.”

Staying prepared to react to dynamic circumstances while gathering and disseminating content enhances the aggregate presentation effort. McGrath feels an innate fear of failure and approaches the week-by-week grind as if she is studying for a final exam that she has no choice but to ace.

McGrath has an affinity for perfection, but she willingly embraces alterations in the plan and unforeseen occurrences. Embedded within each win and loss lies an immeasurable number of sequences that can determine the final score, and she needs to remain nimble to parse the contest accordingly. She hardly remains idle, always staying locked in to the action and focused on deftly carrying out the task at hand.

“I don’t want to tell some fluffy stories that I could have told on Friday afternoon,” she explained. “I want to tell you exactly what the quarterback is saying to his offensive line after that sack, [and] I want to tell you exactly the look on the players’ face and the sounds that they made when they come off of the field with an injury.”

With four minutes to go in the contest, McGrath can usually discern who is going to win, although there are plenty of last-minute changes in fortune. As the end of the game approaches, she begins to contemplate events in themes and prioritizes what is most important. McGrath has a limited amount of time to execute a postgame interview, and she usually prioritizes clarifying ambiguity and highlighting the emotions of the moment.

“A good reporter is a good listener, so I listen to what my booth is talking about,” McGrath said. “[For] the most important things that my booth has talked about, it is my responsibility to ask about those things because it adds to their conversation and their story.”

McGrath works alongside play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough on Saturday nights, someone she considers to be a trusted colleague and close friend. With his vast experience in various disciplines of broadcasting, he is able to be candid and honest with his colleagues.

“Sean is someone who elevates everyone around him because he demands the best,” McGrath said. “He demands us to know every statistic and to have everything perfectly correct and to have the reports be succinct and to have the questions be thoughtful.”

Greg McElroy also joined the broadcast team this season as the color commentator and provides a consistent level of energy and work ethic. The relationship between broadcasters, producers and other personnel is especially important considering weekly travel and collaboration in addition to the final on-air product.

“We’ve seen in the past [that] there have been broadcast booths where the chemistry wasn’t great, and it affects the way people call the game,” McGrath said. “The fact that we all love each other, want what’s best for each other, and make each other better, I think makes our broadcasts so special and great.”

Throughout the game, McGrath aims to be the best teammate possible and is genuinely indifferent as to how long the camera is on her. Namely, she contributes in many different ways on the air and does not always receive attribution, underscoring her commitment to the viewing experience.

“The game is not about you,” McGrath said. “The game broadcast is about the game, [and] it is about the athletes on the field. You are there to highlight them.”

McGrath recently returned from maternity leave after welcoming her second child into the world, and she treasures the moments she gets to spend with them. Watching them in the early stages of their lives has refreshed the reason why she performs the role, focusing more on the impact it will have on her children than her own success. The sacrifices in being a working mother often away for days at a time can complicate retaining harmony, and it requires a true passion for the craft.

“I think that I’m a better mother because I love what I do,” McGrath said. “I hope someday my kids will understand, and I hope that they’ll be proud of me.”

In addition to being a role model for her children, McGrath wants to serve as an example for women aspiring to forge a career in the industry. In articulating that women have had an uphill battle since the beginning, she referenced previous criticisms pertaining to her reporting and appearance on social media. McGrath overcomes the adversity by focusing on her inner circle and knowing that they would defend her no matter the outcome.

“I think it’s just leaning on the people that I work with and knowing that it doesn’t matter what other people think,” McGrath said. “All that matters is that the people I work with know that I work hard and that I’m a good teammate. That’s the kind of thing that I just repeat to myself.”

When McGrath begins her responsibilities as a college basketball reporter, she knows that it will likely not be as time consuming and intense as the college football season. The sport is more conducive to one-on-one conversations, which usually take place at shootaround, and the games are usually shorter. Even so, she will approach the situation in the same way with an intent to be the best reporter on the air.

“[The athletes] are out there working their butts off to try and win a game; you should be working your butt off to cover them properly and fairly,” McGrath said. “I think it’s just working hard. You can’t be afraid of hard work, [and] you can’t be afraid of hustling and taking any opportunities that you can to get better.”

For McGrath, continuing to establish herself in the space and garnering career longevity are appealing, and while she values her concentrations, she has always wanted to report on the Super Bowl. The Walt Disney Company will broadcast the season-ending contest in February 2027 from a location to be determined, and while there are no guarantees in this industry, taking the air from the game would fulfill a lifelong dream.

“It’s something that hopefully I’m able to do,” McGrath said. “I want to have a really long career, but it’s hard to break from one sport into the other. It’s hard to navigate trying to cover more of the NFL, and hopefully, I’ll have an opportunity to do that down the line.”

Whether or not she is in the presence of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, McGrath remains committed to excelling on the collegiate broadcasts. Although she never ran track, she is always in the start position and ready to sprint, literally and figuratively, to actualize her role in effectuating a premium broadcast.

“I always get a, ‘Hey, Molly, great game,’ after games like that, and it’s because I know that I added a ton of value,” McGrath said. “For me, it’s those games; it’s the unseen things, I think, that can sometimes be the most important.”

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Sports TV’s Star Era is Over, So What is Stephen A. Smith Worth Now at ESPN?

“The future is about meeting your audience’s needs on demand and putting a focus on what it is audiences will pay a premium to see. I don’t think that describes studio debate shows.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Stephen A. Smith
Courtesy: Evan Angelastro, GQ

What is ESPN paying Pat McAfee? The exact figure is disputed, but it’s believed that he signed a contract for $85 million last year. The network writes a $17 million check to Troy Aikman every year and another $10 million check for his Monday Night Football partner Joe Buck.

That is a lot of money already tied up in talent. It seems like ESPN is about to agree to another staggering dollar figure to keep Stephen A. Smith on the payroll. But I have a question.

Why are we doing this? Why is an eight-figure annual salary for any single person a good investment? 

ESPN’s corporate parent, The Walt Disney Company, has said over and over again that they are trying to build a media company for the future. It’s why Star Wars is a streaming-only property for the time being and why Hulu is being folded into Disney+. 

The future is about meeting your audience’s needs on demand and putting a focus on what it is audiences will pay a premium to see. I don’t think that describes studio debate shows.

Jimmy Pitaro had an idea when he took over ESPN. He wanted to give more money to fewer people and put the network’s biggest stars everywhere he could fit them. It’s why Smith was on First Take and NBA Countdown and had a show on ESPN+. It’s why Mike Greenberg had Get Up, NBA Countdown and a radio show. When Pitaro was first laying the foundations for his tenure atop ESPN, the idea made a lot of sense. 

Now though, it’s time for the strategy to be re-thought, particularly as Pitaro and his boss Bob Iger lay out the reasons why it makes sense for the network to offer its audience so many different approaches to its digital future.

The star era of sports television is over. Just ask FS1 and Skip Bayless

When the biggest names and most recognizable faces at ESPN were Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, and Stuart Scott, we turned on ESPN to see what they would do and hear what they would say. To hear those talents tell it though, that was a time when ESPN was afraid to lean into its stars and instead tried to hammer home that no SportsCenter anchor was bigger than the show itself. There were a lot of steps that got us from that reality to this one, but each one made the talking heads matter a little less. Now, the only things that move the needle for the audience in a way that matters to the people at the top of Disney are games.

It started with the rapid growth of cable, then came the internet. That gave birth first to blogs, then YouTube and then to podcasting. We didn’t have to wait for Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon at 5:30 anymore. We could get access to whatever opinion we wanted any time we wanted it.

From there, it kicked into overdrive. Streaming TV became common in most homes. Sports betting was legalized in states all over the country. The Covid-19 pandemic shut down the sports world. Streaming viewership grew to the point that it overtook traditional television.

Advertisers have been paying attention to all of it and what it all means. Look at FOX News, which has been dominant in primetime on cable. The median age of the audience for those shows is 69. That means half of the people watching are 70 or over. It’s why commercials for catheters and reverse mortgages fill so much of the network’s ad time. That’s not just true for FOX News. It’s a problem for just about every traditional TV network. 

ESPN’s median viewer age is 48 and according to one study, nearly 40% of its audience is over 55. That’s still a valuable audience to advertisers, but remember that linear TV viewership isn’t popular with young people at all. Those people are not going to turn 48 and suddenly get a craving for a cable cord or satellite box. Many of them won’t even look into streaming tv packages like YouTubeTV, HuluTV, or Fubo. 

The one exception is live games. ESPN’s median age isn’t significantly lower than FOX News’s because of Smith or McAfee. It’s because of Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. The future value of ESPN is being able to offer all those leagues and games to viewers without forcing them to pay a cable or satellite bill.

First Take is well-constructed. Stephen A. Smith’s comments and antics on the show get spoofed by Saturday Night Live and draw a reaction from Jon Stewart. He has made the show a cultural touchstone. PTI and Around the Horn have both stood the test of time, in their 23rd and 22nd years on the network respectively. Those shows have performed at or above expectations for multiple decades, but I don’t think that guarantees they will be around forever.

What if ESPN wanted to take those games from smaller college conferences and international leagues that currently air on ESPN+ and put them on the main network instead? As we move to full availability of ESPN without a cable or satellite contract, the network could take advantage of America’s desire to bet by airing games throughout the majority of the day’s 24 hours. Integrate ESPNBet capabilities into the presentation, and you certainly have a more profitable product.

I could see myself watching a game in a league I am unfamiliar with and maybe even putting a little money on it if ESPN utilized the Pat McAfee Show crew. I’m not a huge fan of their college football broadcasts, because that’s my favorite sport and I want to watch the game, but if you’re telling me we’re all watching a soccer game from France’s Serie B and they are telling me what in-game bets they like, I just may participate. Degenerates can convince other degenerates to bet on anything if the vibe is right! The problem is that I don’t know how much of that McAfee can do and I don’t know many other ESPN talents that have that kind of equity with their audience.

Don’t judge Smith solely on recent weeks. It’s a short period when he has come off as really unlikable, but it’s part of a much larger career that has shown you over and over again that he knows how to attract and connect with an audience. Having him is a win for any network. But is it a win that’s worth an annual salary of 15 or 20 million dollars? I don’t think it is.

Stephen A. Smith has goals he wants to accomplish. There are new realities in the media business and ESPN needs to be ready to adapt. If the age of the star pundit on television is over, I’m not sure a long and expensive contract makes sense for either side.

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Seller to Seller: John Goforth, Magellan AI

“I love hiring people to do job A so they are ready to do job B in six months and that’s always been a really successful tactic for me as well.”

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Graphic for a seller to seller feature with John Goforth of Magellan AI

John Goforth is in his fifth year as Chief Revenue Officer at Magellan AI, a podcast advertising analytics platform. In his ‘previous life,’ Goforth spent more than a dozen years selling and managing in radio, with a heavy emphasis in sports.

After stops at KMOX, KFNS and 101 ESPN in St. Louis, Goforth was recruited to ESPN Chicago and later took over as Local Sales Manager for 670 The Score and 93XRT. When he looks back at his time with those stations and companies, he thinks about how much he enjoyed the creativity involved in the business. His success, he believes, came from his work ethic and building great relationships with clients who he would work tirelessly for to create engaging advertising campaigns he knew would drive results.

But Goforth also saw the declining revenue of traditional media and saw the opportunity in the podcast space. So, since 2016, Goforth’s sales life has revolved around podcasting.

Magellan AI has software which continuously monitors 40,000 advertisers across 50,000 podcasts. They work with publishers, ad agencies and brands and some have referred to the company as “the Google of podcasting.”

Goforth had previously worked with Magellan AI as Senior Vice President of Sales at HowStuffWorks, he was their first subscriber. “It’s so much easier to sell an advertiser who is already engaged in the podcast ecosystem than someone who isn’t,” Goforth told BSM in 2022. “I always wanted it to be someone else’s job to convince them that podcasts were the right channel. I just want to find the people that have already embraced the channel and convince them my content was good content to try.

“Sellers use us to understand the marketplace – who’s spending, what genres are they accelerating in, where are they pulling back, how much money are they spending and what their competitive field and industries look like.”

For example, Magellan AI data can tell you that in the month of April, Better Help spent nearly $7.7 million in podcast advertising, Amazon spent nearly $5.5 million. It can also tell you that Toyota was the top spending auto dealer in podcasting for the month and that 7 of the top 15 spenders in the month of April spent the most in sports.

When asked about the current state of the podcast industry and the knowledge people have of the industry, Goforth said, “The industry is evolving…the big learning curve for everyone is getting past the idea that Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) is bad, that DAI is equal to programmatic. DAI is the way in which an ad is served, it has nothing to do with the ad style. Programmatic is a way in which to buy ads.

“So, we’re past downloads and impressions and what is a pre-roll a mid-roll and a post-roll and now it’s on to what type of inventory are we selling and who’s selling it.”

Goforth said if 2020 and 2021 were the years of the content acquisition wars, right now is the era of inventory acquisition wars for podcasting. “I don’t think companies care so much about being able to say ‘we are the exclusive provider of this podcast, and we are the only ones with access to this inventory.’ That still exists…but as more brand awareness gets involved, it’s really important to be able to offer scale.”

Sports has been a big part of Goforth’s career from his days selling St. Louis Cardinals Radio on KMOX to being part of a brand-new FM sports station in St. Louis at 101 ESPN, to managing sports sales in one of the top markets in the country. He said for podcasting, there are a couple reasons why sports content does so well.

“Sports is a great gateway drug,” he said. “A lot of brands that are newer to podcasts are comfortable with sports and sports content. If they have to go explain something to their bosses, they’re never going to get in trouble for saying they bought sports…By and large, sports feels safe to traditional marketers. The other thing that goes along with that is the proliferation of sports gambling. Sports gambling is, in some ways, funding sports media.”

One area that is no different for Goforth in the software business from the media business is having to recruit and train salespeople if you are going to be successful. He said he has used different strategies in the past but has come back to one of the simpler strategies when it comes to hiring sellers.

“It’s one of the most challenging pieces of running a monetization business, finding the people that can actually go do it. I’ve evolved over the years, I’ve had lots of different philosophies and theories…and ultimately, I’ve circled around to the philosophy of Malcolm Gladwell…the concept is, recruiting is hard enough and no matter what you do, you are going to get it wrong 50% of the time. So, don’t overthink it, follow your gut. Thats been the most successful path for me. Do I like this person? Would I want to have a beer with this person? Do they seem intelligent?

“I don’t subscribe to the ‘check the box’ theory…If I am hiring a podcast seller, it’s less interesting to me if you have sold podcasts. If everything else is great, I can teach you that part. Are you smart? Do you have that motor, that drive? Thats the one thing that is non-negotiable, the internal motor. I want to hire adults to be adults. I don’t want to have to check in on them and micromanage. I just want them to tell me when they need something and be supportive of them. I want to hire smart, competent people to do their job and if they need training, I give it to them. Thats been the most successful thing for me.”

Much like Brian Schneekloth from Beasley Media Group Boston talked about in this space previously, Goforth is a big believer in growing your sales bench internally. “I love hiring people to do job A, so they are ready to do job B in six months and that’s always been a really successful tactic for me as well.”

Whether it has been driving revenue selling sports media or driving revenue selling software to help others build podcast revenue, John Goforth is finding success and staying at the top of his game.

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Gary Myers Continues His Storied Career Covering the NFL

“If I knew I was going to be this happy writing books and working as a consultant on other projects, I would have gotten out of the newspaper business a long time before then.”

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Screengrab of author Gary Myers
Screengrab: Big Blue View

In the world of sports media, things are certainly a lot different today than they were five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago and thirty years ago.  For Gary Myers, a veteran of 8 years covering the Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News and 29 years as an NFL columnist for the New York Daily News, staying involved with covering football these days meant transitioning into something different.

Myers has been working on various projects including writing books and consulting on a documentary about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

“It was a pretty long newspaper career,” said Myers who left the Daily News in 2018.  “It was a really good time to get out of there because unfortunately the Daily News is just not what it used to be.”

Myers’ most recent book is titled “Once a Giant” and chronicles the 1986 Super Bowl champion New York Giants.  He is also working on a book that examines the same subject as the documentary that he is working on…who was the bigger reason for the New England Patriots’ dynasty?

Bill Belichick or Tom Brady?

“I think people’s opinions have gotten skewed by the fact that Tom went to Tampa and won a Super Bowl in his first year there and Belichick made the playoffs once in four years without Tom,” said Myers.   “I would say my end evaluation is 60-40 Brady but it’s not 80-20 and some people think it’s 90-10.  Somebody had to draft the kid.” 

Speaking of Tom Brady, the future Hall of Fame quarterback is set to take his talents to the Fox NFL broadcast booth this season teaming with Kevin Burkhardt on the network’s top team.  While some are questioning just how committed Brady is to the job and how good he will be on television, Myers is convinced that Brady will be a star on TV.

Myers wrote a book about Brady and Peyton Manning back in 2015 and was able to spend a lot of time with Brady.

“Tom was very cooperative and gracious with me,” said Myers.  “He’s a genuinely good guy who I think is really bright.  He’s very well-spoken and eloquent.  I think he’s going to be great on TV.  People are going to be looking for him to fail and I think they’re going to be disappointed because I think he’s going to be very good at this.” 

In addition to being an NFL writer and columnist during his career, Myers was also the NFL insider for HBO’s “Inside The NFL” from 1989 to 2001.  Today, writers who have been NFL insiders on TV include the likes of Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport.  Back in the day, it was Myers who followed in the footsteps of the legendary Will McDonough.

Even though he has transitioned away from his legendary newspaper career, Myers has been able to stay connected to covering football.  With the way that the newspaper business has changed, the writing was on the wall that it was time to step away and find another way to cover the NFL.

Myers was not ready to call it a career.

“I still have way too much energy to retire,” said Myers.  “I’m taking advantage of what I call my institutional knowledge and put it to another way of using it.  If I knew I was going to be this happy writing books and working as a consultant on other projects, I would have gotten out of the newspaper business a long time before then.”

When Myers was writing books while also working full-time for the Daily News, he had to find a way and the time to juggle both responsibilities.  In the case of “Once A Giant”, he spent two years just working on the book and on a subject that meant a lot to him.

And he was able to put a lot of TLC into it without having to divide any time with a newspaper life.

“It is the best book I’ve ever written,” said Myers.  “I was incredibly passionate about the subject.  It’s all I was working on for two years.  I didn’t take on any other projects.”

While Myers has transitioned into books and other projects, the newspaper scene in New York City, as well as many other markets around the country, continues to descend.  When Myers was with the Daily News, he felt that his employer had the gold standard when it came to covering sports in the Big Apple.

Today, Myers laments what the Daily News now is and gives credit to his once bitter rival, the New York Post, for continuing to do things the right way. 

“They (the New York Post) are the only newspaper, in this area at least, that are still approaching it like it’s 1985 in terms of the resources that they put into covering sports,” said Myers.  “They still send five people to the Super Bowl.  The Daily News is a shell of what it used to be. That’s sad to me.”

The role of NFL beat writers and columnists continue to evolve because the access has changed significantly.  When Myers covered the Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News, there was always a plethora of players available for him to talk to and that left him with a good problem to have when he went back to the press room to work.

“The hardest decision I had to make when I left the locker room was which story do I want to write because I had about ten in my notebook,” said Myers. 

Fast forward to today and things have changed for reporters.

Many times, there are only a handful of players in the locker room during media access periods and that restricts the ability of the writers to create relationships with the players and get exclusive stories.

What you have now are the same reporters going up to the same players at the same time.

“I am convinced that if the NFL had its way and the teams had their way, the only people that would be covering the teams now would be the teams’ website, the teams’ video department and they would grant access to the network partners to come in before the games,” said Myers.  “They don’t need newspapers anymore and they don’t need local radio stations.  It’s just different.  The day-to-day media is no longer a priority to the teams.”

And that is a big reason why Gary Myers is enjoying the new chapter of his storied career covering the NFL.  He doesn’t have to worry about the day-to-day grind of covering a team because he’s made the very successful transition to writing books and finding other ways to tell stories about the National Football League.

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