The Ins and Outs of Being a Sports Reporter - Work in Sports Podcast e026

By Brian Clapp | December 06, 2017

Veteran Sports Reporter Bryan Salmond Joins the Show to Discuss His Viewpoint on Becoming a Sports Reporter

Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, Director of Content for and this is the WorkinSports podcast…

So far we’ve had 15 sports industry expert interviews and when I first started laying out this concept, I figured I’d hit my database of contacts first. Well, it hasn’t worked out that way at all. I’ve tried to push myself out of the comfort zone I’ve established over 20 years in the industry and interview people I don’t know, and learn about positions I didn’t know that much about.becoming a sports reporter

I’ve taken this on as a learning experience for me, just as much as it is for you.

I’ll admit, some of our guests have made me a little nervous. I’ve been doing this a long time, but I still get anxious leading up to an interview, I still feel butterflies and I still rehearse my questions so I don’t sound like a moron.

When I talked with Josh Rawitch Sr. VP of Content and Communication for the Arizona Diamondbacks… yeah I was a little scared to mess that one up.

But you know what is funny… as soon as I hit record, everything goes away. I lose the nerves. I don’t hear anything else and I rarely if ever ask the questions I practiced. I get in a zone, where all I focus on is my guest. Every word they say is my launching point for the next question, there is no routine, this is all off the cuff.

The reason I bring this up is because you all have “the zone”. Everyone has the ability to hyper focus their attention, and it’s all based on need. I need these interviews to go well, I only have one chance and the person on the other end doesn’t want to hear me stumble.

You need your job interviews to go well. You need your networking opportunities to go well. You need your internships to go well.

Athletes get in the zone when they stop thinking and let instincts and training take over. You can do the same. Trust your preparation. Trust your research and your practice and your work ethic and allow yourself to enter the zone.

That’s how you nail a job interview, when you lose the script, lose the rehearsed answers and enter your zone.

This is also a long way of saying – I’m bringing an old friend on the podcast today. Bryan Salmond is a sports reporter who has worked all across the US – starting in small markets like Missoula,Montana and Beaumont,Texas, and working his way up to New Orleans, Boston, Philly and Las Vegas.

But this interview isn’t just about being a sports reporter – we’ll handle all that for sure – but Bryan and I spend a little time talking about bigger issues, like race in sports. As a black man who has worked all across the country he’s seen it all and shares what’s really going on out there.

If you are an aspiring media personality, or just a human being who wants to hear more about real life issues while hearing some behind the scenes stories on guys like Kobe Bryant and Sugar Ray Leonard… this is the interview for you.

My Questions for Sports Reporter Bryan Salmond

So to let all of you know, Bryan and I have known each other for a long time – we worked together for what 4-5 years at CNN in the late 90’s early 2000’s… and since that time I’ve followed Bryan’s career from Beaumont Texas, to Las Vegas, to Eugene Oregon, to New Orleans, to Boston, to Philly and now back to Las Vegas… you’ve been on a crazy ride but before we get into your ride and what you have learned along the way – let’s get into the bigger issue of our times. You and I have talked about this before and I think we should discuss this openly –

I look across about a week ago and I see a headline that reads: Kevin Durant talks about race in America “I see how far we get pushed down”

I see that and on the one end I think to myself – this is good, we’re talking about important issues in sports other than final scores…on the other side I think, man we’re still here…we’re still not moving forward as one. People still scream ‘stick to sports’ and worse.

What do you think about the job the sports media has done covering race?

You are on the front lines everyday -- where do you think we are with race in sports are we making progress or is it all superficial?

What’s it been like for you as a sports reporter changing markets all over the country – how different is it from place to place?

We’re just sports guys, so people tend to say “stick to sports!” and I’m sure some people listening to this may feel the same way right now, what would you say to the people who want to dismiss sports people as less qualified to talk about race?

There is no easy way to transition here – so let’s just jump back to your history as a reporter and see what we can teach the audience, ok?

1: When did you figure out you wanted to be in front of the camera and what was your course of action after you figured this out?

2: You went to Western Washington U – did you do a lot of internships in college? How did you get on-air experience?

3: Now when you and I worked together at CNN/Sports Illustrated, neither of us were on camera, we were behind the scenes – why did you start at CNN with me rather than start at some tiny local station and start getting your reps in?

3a: So how did you practice your on-air technique? You probably stood in front of the mirror a lot didn’t you?

4: See I’ve always thought getting that big thing on your resume gives you instant credibility. Did you find when you went out applying for jobs after CNN it got a little easier to get noticed?

5: Even after the pleasure of working with me – you started on air in Beaumont Texas market 142 – what was that experience like?

You went from having top of the line technology to back woods in a minute, right?

6: How important was it at this phase just to get reps on air and find your voice/style?

7: You jumped around markets after Beumont, climbing the ladder to higher and higher markets – did you go into each new market thinking… I’ll do two years here and jump… or did you just take it day-by-day?

8: Each market is so different – when you first get into a new spot how do you get up to speed on things like local rivalries and sports history? I know when I jumped to Seattle it was tought o get that deep knowledge that my new co-workers already had, it has to be even harder to jump to a place like eugene Oregon…

9: When you watch sports reporters or anchors – who do you admire?

10: At the local TV level it seems so important to connect with the audience on a personal level – how do you do that? How do you make a bond with the audience? They have other options in getting their sports news…why tune into you?

Lightning Round

1: You came up in Seattle as a heck of a basketball player during your prep days – can you name all the Seattle bred players currently in the NBA?

2: Out of all the cities and markets you have worked in… who had the best food? Favorite restaurant?

3: TV life can be hard on family, because of the weird schedule and relocating – how important is having support at home to making this work?

4: If you could have a front row seat for one event in sports history what would it be?

5: To date who has been your favorite interview – anyone who nicer or more personable than you expected?

Big thanks to Bryan for his insight --

Question for all of you – Would you be interested in me starting a private facebook group just so all of us sports career minded people can connect, chat and network with each other? I had one listener suggest it and I kind of liked the idea. Let me know if you are interested, email me at – or hit me up on linkedin. If there is enough interest I’ll get that going ASAP.

Coming up next week is Chris Wojcik Director of Event Communications and Player Relations for the NHL – and then after that is Ohio State Associate Athletic Director Shawn Richard --- two interviews I am incredibkly excited about. If you have any questions you want me to ask Chris or Shawn, email me at I’m all ears.

And if you like what we are doing here.. please subscribe to the podcast, review us on iTunes, share with a friend – let’s grow this into a huge community of sports career minded people.

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