piecoro: ‘i have trouble imagining doing anything else’

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Nick Piecoro, 30, is about to complete his fourth season covering the D-backs full time for The Arizona Republic, making him the longest-tenured baseball beat writer in the paper’s history. I’ve known him for 15 years. I predicted in our high school yearbook he’d be the next Peter Gammons, but so far he’s only partway there: Gammons also plays the guitar.

Here are a few highlights from a recent conversation:

Given what’s happened to newspapers the last 10 years, where does The Arizona Republic still fit among the Valley’s media landscape?
Well, I can answer that as it applies to sports: I think The Republic still manages to set the agenda for sports conversations locally. Whereas in the past it was talk radio guys picking up the morning paper and basing entire shows on what was in the sports sections, it’s now constantly changing. Azcentral is still the first place most people go to for local sports news.

When the East Valley Tribune stopped covering pro sports, how did that lack of competition affect The Republic’s sports department?
From my perspective, it was a big loss. While I still try to remain as dogged and aggressive as ever in pursuing stories, not having that other beat writer breathing down my neck does make a difference. As hard I might try, I can’t think of everything to write about all by myself. Plus, there are times when having another reporter around would help to better advance a story, give it depth and expose more details.

In addition to covering the team and writing a game story and notebook every day, how do you incorporate blogs and Twitter and other social media into your coverage, and do you find them useful?
I have a Twitter account that I use sort of sporadically at the moment. I probably should tweet more than I do. I actually don’t think it’s incredibly useful—yet. I think in theory it’s great and all—news and ideas can spread at lightning speed—but there just aren’t enough people on Twitter at the moment. For example, the number of people who will see one of my tweets is a tiny fraction of the hits I’ll get on a story at azcentral. As an aside: I think Twitter can sometimes be dangerous for journalists in that writers will throw unconfirmed things out there with abandon and people will recklessly re-tweet.

How does Republic staff handle furloughs?
As best we can. We’re already pretty barebones as it is, and this doesn’t help, but I think we all realize that furloughs are better than layoffs and sort of just do what we have to do.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
No idea. I like what I’m doing now, and, to be honest, have some trouble imagining doing anything else. If I’m not writing baseball, I bet I’d do something completely different and off the journalistic map.


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