By Jeremy McDonald
With the site midway through it’s second-year this school year, we’ve expanded to cover a little more area than we did at the end of last school year. I’ve been asked about the site, why I started it, the whole nine-yards and I love tell it cause it’s a weird story all in itself.
So, I decided to do a post about it to kinda share it with everyone.
In October of 2015, about two-months after upping-and-leaving a strong two-year start to my journalism career in California; I was at an dead-end at finding writing gigs in the Salem/Portland area after doing a (one) freelance article with the Statesman Journal, they didn’t need me being at the bottom of their freelancing list, typical things that happen when your trying to use a freelancing route to break into the field of journalism (I was a reliable freelancer in California, doing seven or so articles a week in the Sacramento area for two years).
Job interviews weren’t going anywhere (partially I suck at being interviewed haha) and about a month in between that story with the Journal and this point, my wife suggested I used my old college blog (this platform) as a sports news website. I decided why not, ‘nothing is happening for me right now and keeps me fresh in between gigs until I found a steadier one like I did in California straight out of college’.
I contacted a buddy of mine who was coaching in the area and asked if I could do a story or follow the team during the second half of the season, he checked with the team and got the green light. After one story there, the floodgates in this city opened as I got to cover the number one boys soccer team in the state at the team to the state title game and it snowballed from there.
Two other buddies at another school created the same effect as I reached out to a third and built a foundation entering the summer and was reached out by other schools to as what happened when I first started and found out that there’s a need for people wanting to see things covered and done right and I’m loving it.
Yeah, I’ve been getting heat from at least one big media outlet or two, and yeah it’s bothersome to see fellow journalist sink to that level considering we all took some variation of ‘Mass Media Ethic’ classes in college that kinda of goes over Ethics in the field and I’ve reconsidered what I’m doing through the glares and comments; but after talking to a few people, I know I’m doing the right thing despite what they are doing as more and more people are enjoying (hopefully!) the work I’m doing as I continue the site.
The site that started as a way to stay fresh as a journalist has opened my eyes to an opportunity to fill a void that is here after a year-plus by telling people’s stories, covering games and so on and so forth. I never sought out, nor ever will, to step on another journalist’s, writers, toes to get a story, nor copy what they are doing cause I’m trying to be better than them.
That’s not who I am, I believe in treating everyone with a sense of respect and honesty because people are allowing us to interview and talk to them as people and not as words on a piece of paper with a Headline attached to it. It’s an honor to do this job, as the old sports saying goes, ‘It’s a privilege, not a right’, and I think it carries over to journalism and any other job.
As always everyone, I enjoy and love what I’m doing, the communities deserve it and the teams within those communities deserve it no matter what the record on the paper says or how big or small the school maybe! Everyone puts in the same amount of work no matter what the win-loss column may say.
My line of contact is always open, email (mentioned above) or my phone (541-622-4385), so don’t feel afraid of contacting me with anything, (trust me I’m just as nervous as you guys are being a really shy person deep down myself haha).