He mainly writes about the Tennessee Volunteers and through his sports notoriety, Joel has been interviewed by NBC Sports, ESPN and the Sports Tap radio program. Even more interesting, Joel is the megaphone behind the College Football Blogger Awards, where he created a united effort to promote the college football blogosphere.
Taking time out of his hectic schedule, Joel chatted with us about merging blogging with his work schedule and how he best communicates with other sport enthusiasts like himself.
Q. You said you love writing as your creative outlet, how is it different to manage a blog for sports fans?
One of the great things about writing about sports is that there is new material every time a game is played. Each game tells its own story, and as the season plays out, the season begins to tell a story of its own. All the blogger has to do is pay attention and spot the developing theme. There are certainly many different kinds of fans, but the ones that frequent sports blogs tend to be very passionate and intelligent folks with highly stressful day jobs, and we recharge our batteries during off hours by immersing ourselves in pure escapism.
Q. How do you manage writing for a popular blog with a full time job? Is your family supportive with your schedule?
Equal portions time management and appropriate choices and tools. I get up early to write in the morning, and then I write at night and on weekends, as well. I almost never have the television on just to see what’s playing; I have only three “appointment” shows, and those are recorded and the commercials skipped. I use a program to record the local sports talk radio programming for my team silently in the background while I work in the morning and afternoon, and then listen to it on my iPod during lunch and on my drive home.
Feed readers and other productivity tools to digest news and compile notes for posts are a huge help, as well. My family is very supportive because they realize that this is how I remain sane despite a very stressful day job. I’m not sitting idly in front of the t.v. for hours each night or otherwise hanging out with friends. Cognitive leisure as a vice is a pretty good choice all things considered, and as long as I’m able to keep a healthy balance with everything, all is well
Q. What are some of your best stories that have been a big hit with your readers?
It’s sort of ironic that in niche blogging, the “most popular” posts tend to be the ones that reach outside of your niche. Our niche is to cover the Tennessee Volunteers, but this past summer, I wrote a series of posts making fun of almost all of the college football logos, and it seemed like every blogger and message board for every team I insulted linked to it both to disagree with my assessment of their own logo and to agree with my assessment of their rivals’ logo.
For the same reason, my weekly Animated BlogPoll — a Flash movie showing the standings of various teams in the polls and featuring whatever the big upset or win of the week was — gets a lot of interest during the season. Still, a niche blogger’s bread and butter is covering his own team, and we try not to let those other more general posts dominate the front page at the expense of our coverage of the Tennessee Volunteers.
Q. How do you usually get sports content blogging?
Like I said above, some of it is from listening to the radio. Much of it is from watching the games myself. The rest is either just from reading the mainstream media news sources about the team I cover, reading other Tennessee or college sports blogs, or just brainstorming our own ideas.
Q. What do you think about the idea of watching TV on your PC?I love it, and already do quite a bit of it. Many of Tennessee’s basketball games this season have been available only through online sites. Last summer, I watched every episode of every season of Lost in something like a three week period all online. The on-demand aspect and the fact that it involves no trips to the store or late fees or anything like that makes it the wave of the future, I think.
Round two of TV on your PC Sports Team