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Journalism

Tim Newcomb’s Unique Journalism Brand

For Newcomb, journalism has allowed him to cover different worlds.

Aaron Blake

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Image via Tim Newcomb

No one had to tell Tim Newcomb to follow his heart or do what he loves. But how does one mix their passion with what the audience wants — especially in journalism? Build a personal brand and create a demand, of course!

Newcomb, the founder of Stadium 185, is a well-versed journalist covering a wide array of topics from sports aesthetics to education and engineering. He is particularly known for his work in sports architecture and stadiums. Although Newcomb covers sports aesthetics, he does not label himself as a sports journalist.

Rather, a passion for sports certainly compels him to cover the industry’s tangibles like stadiums and ballpark food, the creation of a legitimate brand starts with uniqueness.

“The first step to getting to where I am now was working to find areas that I felt readers wanted to learn about and were interested in,” said Newcomb. “And [they] weren’t already getting covered in a mainstream way.”

That attitude and mentality shape the very work and motive he possesses today.

“I was able to use my own interest areas,” said Newcomb. “That of stadiums and sports gear, to give me a greater understanding of a topic area that could lead to a different way of approaching a story.”

Newcomb has been a journalist his entire life and believes everything works together naturally, even allowing him to partake in multiple passions. Believing everything has its own world has allowed him to welcome and ingratiate various fields.

“For me, I cover worlds,” said Newcomb. “Whether stadiums or sneakers that have differing levels of engagement. Those people want to learn as much as they can about their favorite world.”

As traditional journalism is still important to most, boundaries change, and Newcomb knows the multi-faceted dynamic of reporting has shifted.

Newcomb explains his style of writing in his stadium examples by providing people with information they need to know about possible experiences. These experiences range from the concessions to brand activations.

“Anyone working to create fan experiences within sports and entertainment must take the live stadium event into account,” said Newcomb.

The “live stadium” Newcomb refers to is the way fans interact with the event can transition to a change in the stadium.

“The fan experience has shifted exponentially, no matter your view of the current results,” added Newcomb.

With the shifting tides of reporting, brands are stepping up with a more engaging image, even so, doing the work of journalists.

“We are already seeing brands and teams playing a larger role in the content provided to fans,” said Newcomb. “Teams and sponsors have access to players that journalists often don’t because of the monetary relationship between the players and the teams or brands.”

Players and teams’ social media is thus utilized further. Newcomb, however, does not see this as a major setback to journalism but knows people will continuously find new ways to receive and consume their favorite content.

“I believe that both readers and editors know the areas I cover and will come to me expecting to have the latest information in those areas.”

Newcomb has ingrained his life into the devotion of serving his audience and giving them what they want. In the niche and in the mainstream, Newcomb’s followers know where to find the newest updates in their favorite worlds.

Aaron is a Front Office Sports Account Manager for Varsity Partners. He attends UNC Charlotte, loves spending time in the Appalachian mountains, and has interned with IMG-Learfield and ESPN 730. He can be reached at aaron@frntofficesport.com

Innovation

How Katy Winge Blazed Her Way to an Analyst Position With the Denver Nuggets

At just 25 years old, Katy Winge is the newest Denver Nuggets analyst for AltitudeTV. She’s also the first woman in team history to hold the distinction. 

Bailey Knecht

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Katy Winge is following in the footsteps of some of her idols. (Image via Denver Nuggets)

As the words of her career role models rang out, Katy Winge had to fight to hold back tears on live TV.

This season, Winge was promoted by AltitudeTV as the first female analyst in Denver Nuggets history, so to celebrate her accomplishment, the Altitude team put together a congratulatory video with appearances by Jenny Cavnar and Doris Burke and played it before the Nuggets’ first regular-season game.

“It was completely unexpected,” Winge said. “I was caught off-guard, and I had to reign in my emotions a bit… They’ve been incredible. I work with some fantastic people.”

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Since her promotion, Winge boasts a variety of job titles with the Nuggets, including reporter, analyst, and host. In her new role, the 25-year-old will do radio color commentary and television analysis, in addition to sideline reporting, in-studio and on-site hosting, feature reporting and podcasting.

“She has a great sense of self, and what she brings to the game is overwhelming,” said Erin Slack, a producer at Altitude who works directly with Winge. “You don’t see a lot of people her age walk in and dominate and have that confidence and presence.”

Winge didn’t just happen to stumble upon this opportunity. She majored in broadcast journalism and marketing at Illinois State University and received her master’s in sports journalism from Northwestern, with a number of internships along the way. Winge was also a member of the basketball team at Illinois State, which she said has helped her thrive in the basketball industry.

“It is the reason I am where I am today, to play the game at a high level, understand it, and actually be in it and experiencing what’s going on on the court,” she said. “Knowing that part of the strategy is invaluable, and my knowledge of the game is so much better because I played, and I’ve been around people who know the game, and I’ve watched game film. It has been the defining factor.”

SEE MORE: The Starters’ Leigh Ellis’ Journey From Banker to NBA Media Star 

“She adjusts really well, and that’s part of her basketball background — from being on the floor on offense or in a room with a group of people — she’s like a chameleon, and that’s a great quality to have,” Slack added.

Winge’s accomplishment as Altitude’s first female analyst is impressive, but she credits others at every chance she gets.

“There are so many pieces to these broadcasts and so many people behind the scenes,” she said. “I always try to make the effort to go to the truck and say thanks, and to the photographers that make me look good. It matters — your relationships, and the way you treat people.”

Beyond the people she works directly with, Winge mentioned the women that pioneered the path for her in the sports industry.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the people who’ve helped me get to this point,” she said. “It’s an amazing step for Denver sports fans and for Altitude, but I didn’t get here by myself, without the people who came before me… I’m honored to be the first [for the Nuggets], but everybody else put in the work before me to allow me to have that chance.”

She cites Burke, Cavnar, Allie Clifton and Cassidy Hubbarth as some of her idols.

“It’s cool to see all these females break out in different ways than the ‘sideline’ reporter,” Slack said. “They’re more than just a pretty face – they’re very versatile, and it’s great to see these females thrive.”

Hiring more women in the sports world brings a unique point-of-view to the industry, Winge said.

“It’s a different voice, and that goes for diversity across all platforms and sports,” she said. “We can relate to fans, and the fans can relate to us. It adds another voice and perspective, and that’s only going to better the coverage of teams.”

“It’s also an opportunity to be a role model for young girls who are interested in basketball and love watching it,” she added. “To see that someone can obtain those roles is huge.”

Winge said that the Altitude team has been welcoming since she first began with the Nuggets.

“What I’ve loved the most about it is it hasn’t been about me being a female,” she said. “People will be like, ‘Girl, you know the game. You know what you’re talking about.’ For people to turn to me for that, and be respected and recognized for that aspect of my skill set is great… It’s just basketball at the end of the day.”

LISTEN: Rob Perez’s Journey from Ticketing Entrepreneur to NBA Personality

“The exciting part about it is you need that female support, but you also need that male support, and through the Nuggets and Altitude, we get that a lot through our executive producer, Ken Miller,” Slack added. “He’s always pushing everyone as a team, and he’s done a great job with females in general.”

The promotion comes at an ideal time for Winge — buzz around the Nuggets is on the rise as of late.

“Honestly, when I was looking for jobs, I knew I wanted to work in the NBA, and it didn’t matter what city,” she said. “The fact that I ended up in Denver was the biggest blessing. I love this city, this team, this franchise. Last season was awesome, watching them explode onto scene, especially with the Western Conference being as tough as it is. I’m very optimistic.”

“In a lot of ways, it’s comparable to my career, as well,” she added. “It’s cheesy, but I worked really hard to get to where I am, and I’m growing in this role and in the NBA, so it’s fun to be with a team that’s up-and-coming.”

Since joining the team last season, Winge has experienced a roller coaster of big events, from the celebration of the Nuggets’ 50th anniversary to the team’s playoff hopes being stripped away by the Timberwolves in the final game of the regular season.

Through the ups and downs, the season was certainly memorable, and she listed her interview with Allen Iverson and her interview with Gary Harris after a buzzer-beater game-winner against the Thunder as two of her top moments with the team.

Experiencing those moments and following along with the team’s growth is something Winge doesn’t take for granted.

“Having all of that knowledge, knowing their work ethic and culture being built, and having the role that I have now is awesome and so exciting,” she said. “I am so thankful to be a part of this team right now.”

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Journalism

How ESPN The Magazine Made Waves With Its Heroes Issue

ESPN the Magazine sets itself apart by creating stirring narratives that break away from traditional win/loss coverage of sports.

Bailey Knecht

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ESPN - Media - Mag

For 20 years, ESPN The Magazine has shared some of the biggest stories in sports, both on and off the field. The magazine’s focus on telling moving stories was especially evident in its most recent issue – the Heroes Issue.

The July installment featured Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, along with a slew of other Team USA gymnasts, who came forward about incidents of sexual abuse by team doctor Larry Nassar. The cover story, written by ESPN’s Mina Kimes, dove into the lawsuit against Nassar, but more importantly, it profiled Raisman as more than just a gymnast, but as an activist.

The magazine cover, though fairly simple, was praised by digital experts throughout the sports industry, including Melissa Sulewski, a digital strategist who focuses on sports and technology.

“Aly Raisman’s expression gives us a momentary glimpse at a woman with incredible strength who has come out on the other side of an ordeal she should’ve never had to endure,” Sulewski said. “She has a soft stoicism in her eyes, but it betrays wisdom beyond her 24 years. The only headline is a call to action that Aly appears ready to lead: ‘We have to change the way our society views women.’”

Digital brand strategist Anna Melissa Raquid added that the powerful cover stuck out to her, as well.

“To be honest, I don’t necessarily pay attention to print as much as the digital space, which is mostly a byproduct of the space I work in,” she said. “I actually have the Heroes Issue, though, because it caught my attention. The reason why it caught my attention was – as a woman who has worked in sports and seen the treatment of women in sports – there’s such an important conversation that needs to happen with providing women with a platform to speak.”

Beyond the cover, Sulewski took note of the stories inside the magazine, which she said could not have come at a more important time.

“The Heroes Issue was an exercise in celebrating what athletes stand for beyond the pitch or court real-life heroes who symbolize hopes and strengths for so many,” Sulewski said. “There may be a lot of men and women reading who can imagine themselves in Aly’s shoes, having gone through a similar trauma. Though difficult to talk about, it’s the very light being shined on the issues that is removing the stigma behind sexual abuse and allowing survivors to be believed and heard more than ever before.”

Raquid also mentioned the strong, dynamic photography that was featured throughout the pages of the magazine.

“I was excited about the inside,” she said. “When you go past the photos of Aly, they have these beautiful, powerful images of women. It’s nice.”

For Sulewski, the Heroes Issue is emblematic of what ESPN The Magazine is all about – transcending the sports themselves.

“ESPN The Magazine largely focuses on athlete stories linked to a world outside of their chosen sport,” she said. “Today’s fan wants to deeply understand and connect with their sports hero in new ways. They use social to stay plugged into players 24/7 and, naturally, stories and profiles have also evolved to match this shift.”

In order to continue to progress, ESPN The Magazine sets itself apart by creating unique narratives that break away from traditional stereotypes, Sulewski said.

“In some ways the magazine has expanded the way we see athletes, i.e. the hugely popular Body Issue, celebrating the power of the athletic form beyond vanity aesthetics,” she said. “What’s more, in an industry climate largely covering men’s sports, I’m noticing a movement to stories about female athletes  often profiled by women writers in strong, stirring narratives.”

Raquid added that, in addition to presenting quality content, ESPN The Magazine’s key to success has been staying true to its brand.

“I always tell people this – I believe authenticity and transparency is what will always get you your returns,” she said. “If you have beautiful photos and a well-shot video, but they’re not authentic and not speaking truthfully – well, that’s the most important.”

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Digital Media

The Players’ Tribune Goes Abroad

The digital platform will see operations expand into London and Barcelona.

Adam White

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The digital platform will see operations expand into London and Barcelona.

Less than four years after launching, The Players’ Tribune is expanding its reach abroad as the digital platform heads to both London and Barcelona to set up shop.

By attacking the international market, TPT will have the ability to capitalize better on the stories of soccer players, who just so happen to be some of the most well-known athletes in the world.

With offices in London and Barcelona, this new venture will be in partnership with Gerard Piqué and his investment group, Kosmos, which will play an integral part in shaping the business.

“While The Players’ Tribune has already become a trusted destination for many athletes, it’s clear that there is a real opportunity to double down on our traction on a global scale. Our athlete community is extremely important and has been the driving force behind everything we do, so I’m excited to welcome Gerard to the team and look forward to working with him on building an even larger community as part of the next evolution of TPT.” – Derek Jeter, cofounder of TPT

Alongside Piqué, athlete launch partners include Dani Alves, Ronaldinho, Carmen Jordá, Thibaut Courtois, David Villa, Pau and Marc Gasol, Ivan Rakitić, Tomáš Berdych, Stipe Miocic, Thiago Alcântara, among others.

The EMEA platform will officially launch later this spring with comprehensive, multilingual content leading up to the 2018 World Cup. The platform will feature original and athlete-generated programming across all sports, with an emphasis on video. In addition to TPT’s powerful and signature storytelling, the platform will strive to redefine the “live sports” window through the lens of the athlete.

For Piqué, the excitement is apparent.

“On behalf of athletes worldwide, I can undeniably say there has never been a bigger need for a platform like The Players’ Tribune,” says Piqué. “There are so many things that happen in our lives and careers, away from the media spotlight and beyond what is reported in the news. The Players’ Tribune gives us a chance to share our voice, our emotions and our perspective — things that simply cannot be found anywhere else on the Internet. I am excited to work with The Players’ Tribune to further connect with fans.”

For TPT executive staff, the ability to go abroad opens up a new global audience.

“In just three years, we have become a premier global brand for engaging and authentic content that transcends sport,” says Jeff Levick, CEO of The Players’ Tribune.  “We aim to be the unequivocal global leader in athlete-generated content, across all platforms and in conjunction with strategic partners. We are thrilled to partner with Gerard — he is passionate about building this company and developing a global roadmap for The Players’ Tribune.”

As the battle between the athlete created content platforms heats up, TPT is taking the fight internationally.

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