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ESPN's Joe Schad Talks About New Media and ESPN's Social Media Policy

Thursday, September 17, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:59 AM, under , , , , ,

Still a relatively young man, ESPN College Football Reporter Joe Schad (pictured left) moves around with a lot of energy and purpose. In fact, it can be tough to pin him down for a few minutes.

When he tweeted last week, asking if any of his followers would be joining him "between the hedges" at the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium last week, I responded "for sure" and sent him an email to give me a call if he had a chance.

Of course he did not have the chance, so I caught up to him in Sanford Stadium's press box before the University of South Carolina - University of Georgia Game. He was able to squeeze in a few minutes between wolfing down a quick meal, getting on air for a cut-in segment on ESPN Radio, and meeting with his producer.

ESPN Radio's Joe Schad checks his pre-game notes with his producer before the University of South Carolina - University of Georgia kickoff on Saturday, September 12, 2009.
Taking Notes: ESPN Radio's Joe Schad (right) checks his pre-game notes with
producer Beth Faber before the University of South Carolina - University of Georgia kickoff on Saturday, September 12, 2009.
Photograph Copyright 2009 by Eye on Sports Media/The Cayuga Group, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Eye on Sports Media (EOSM): So what are you doing in Athens this week? Do you have a specific role or are you just here to enjoy the game?

Joe Schad (JS): I am actually here working as the sideline reporter for the ESPN Radio game broadcast.

EOSM: Tell me a little about your background?

JS: After graduating from Saint John's with my journalism degree, I went on to cover the NFL and other sports for Newsday, ESPN Magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, and the West Palm Beach Post.

EOSM: You grew up in Queens, not exactly a hotbed for college football. So how does a boy from Queens become such a college football fanatic?

JS: My first full time job was with the Orlando Sentinel. I went there to cover high school football. But after a year, they sent me to Gainesville to cover the Gators. The rest is history...

EOSM: I did not know until recently that you went to St. John's. Was Father Harrington the President when you were there?

JS: Oh yes.

Editor's Note: Father Donald Harrington was at Niagara University, my alma mater, prior to taking the post at St. John's.

EOSM: So how did you come to get your current role at ESPN?

JS: This is my 5th year with ESPN. At the time, they were looking to fill a void they had in college football reporting. "At the time I was covering the NFL, but they liked my approach and felt I could do the job.

EOSM: Do you ever see yourself going back to the purely print journalism world?

JS: I love writing, but at the same time I see a lot of my friends and colleagues in sports journalism losing their jobs. So the short answer is no.

EOSM: You are one of the more active ESPN faces in the world of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Why are you so active and how do you see this as a future tool in media?

JS: New media is the future of journalism. With the shrinkage of print media and the continued loss of jobs, traditional sportswriters who ignore new media are doing themselves a disservice.

EOSM: But what about ESPN's new social media policy and the effective ban it seems to have put on the use of new media? It does not seem to have slowed you down. At the same time Linda Cohn has cut way back on what she posts on her blog and Facebook.

JS: It is not an outright ban. It was just a warning to avoid problems down the road, It needed to be put out there as ESPN tries to get their arms around the whole social media thing.

EOSM: But if you are going to use social media, you do know that you have to respond when people reply to your queries, right?

JS: - laughs -

EOSM: What do college football and ESPN fans need to know about your job?

JS: My readers and viewers, like me, love college football. But they sometimes forget that it is a job. There are huge pressures surrounding developing sources and putting together credible stories.

EOSM: What do you like most about your job, what has been the most fun?

JS: I really enjoy being part of the broadcasts and doing studio analysis. It is great knowing that I can be relied on.

EOSM: And the worst part of the job?

JS: That I can't always be friends with the people that I cover.

EOSM: I know you have to run, so thanks for your time and enjoy the rest of your stay in Athens.

JS: Not a problem.

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