For those of you expecting to read the Quick Chat transcript this morning, you're going to have to wait one more day. With all of the game coverage I didn't have time to do the transcribing. We probably don't need an extra 7-9 pages of material this morning anyway.
Despair not, however! We do have something interesting for you. You may have noticed that Joe Freeman has joined Jason Quick on the Blazers beat this year. Now that you've had a chance to see his work we thought it would be nice to give you a chance to learn a little bit about him. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us. This is not your standard "So You Want To Be..." feature. We've already done that for beat writers. It's just a chance to get to know more about Joe. Enjoy!
Blazersedge: Give us the basics of your history. How did you get here?
I had a brief internship with the Tallahassee Democrat in the summer of 1997 and then served as an intern at The Oregonian in the fall of 1998. My internship actually wasn't in sports, but when a part-time job opened up the next spring, the internship director recommended me, I got an interview and got the job. I actually started working at The O before I graduated college. I was pretty lucky.
Before I took over this beat, I covered every sport imaginable for the paper: hockey, auto racing, the Mariners, University of Portland men's hoops, cyclocross racing (don't ask), skateboarding, and on and on. I even had a brief stint as the prep sports editor. But I almost exclusively covered high school sports. It was a great way to get started in the business and learn about Oregon. I traveled all over the state, from Ashland to Burns to Coos Bay, writing about athletes and coaches and trends. There are a lot of great stories surrounding high school sports and there is a lot of passion from parents and fans. I not only grew as a writer but also discovered a lot about the beauty and culture of Oregon.
Blazersedge: What was your initial reaction when you found you'd be doing the Blazer beat? Just another job? A little flutter of excitement?
Outside of that anxiety, I was very excited and eager to start the new beat. I've always been the kind of guy who shoots for the pinnacle of whatever it is I'm doing, and covering the Blazers is the top beat in the sports department, and one of the top beats, I think, at the paper.
Blazersedge: If someone were playing a word association game with you and said, "Trailblazers" what would come to mind?
Blazersedge: You've spent a couple months in the saddle so far and have made some first impressions about the organization and its players. What stands out the most for you?
Blazersedge: What are some of the joys and challenges you anticipate as you work this beat?
The challenges are the challenges that come with the job: deadlines, fallout from hard-hitting stories, travel and the fact that I'll be working nonstop, essentially on call, until April. The biggest transition for me professionally is access. I love getting to know the subjects I write about and I love going behind the scenes to give readers and fans insight and candor they can't normally get. How great was it reading my story on Oden over the summer, learning that he was still living in his mom's apartment, still driving her Ford Taurus and still grubbing at Cheeseburger in Paradise? Well, I had to have access to tell that story. And that access is much easier to gain with amateur athletes.
Blazersedge: What roles do you see yourself fulfilling in your position? What do you want to accomplish?
Blazersedge: What's your impression of Blazer fans so far? Have you gotten much feedback?
Blazersedge: Which will happen first, the Blazers winning a championship or you winning a Pulitzer?
Blazersedge: Anything else you want to say to the masses of Blazer fans out there?
Thanks to Joe for spending some time with us. Not only is his work top-notch, he's a stand-up guy as well.