Last year, when The Athletic was in full expansion mode, I was the wet blanket who wrote this:
But I’m concerned that that’s not translating down to the local level. And that’s where young writers are getting left out here. It’s not that they’re not getting hired at The Athletic. It’s that there aren’t jobs at the local and regional levels for them. There’s no branch of The Athletic in Olean or in Binghamton to help them out. I worry that we focus too much on the national level and ignore what’s happening at smaller newspapers.
I thought of this last week, when The Athletic announced at Syracuse University beat writer. Matthew Gutierrez will be covering the Orange for the site:
This season will be my third covering Syracuse, following two seasons as a beat writer for The Daily Orange, the student newspaper. Occasionally, when I’d look around the press seating, a lot of heads were buried in Twitter or emails. When at games, I try to look around and appreciate this gift: now. I’m 22, and there’s a lot I don’t know. But that keeps me seeking out new information, always searching for more.
Two things make this interesting. One - Matthew is a young reporter, just out of college. One of the top journalism programs in the country, to be sure, but still, he’s a young writers. It’s indicative of moves The Athletic has been making lately. When I wrote that post last year, it felt like the company was simply hiring a lot of big, established names. But now that it is more established, it is hiring more and more journalists who are early in their career.
Two: This is not a pro beat. This is not a beat that is located in one of the major, professional markets. It’s Syracuse. It’s part of a trend where the site is hiring reporters to cover major college sports outside of the pro cities in which it established itself early on.
Granted, Syracuse is major college sports.
But hiring a reporter to cover Syracuse sports, to be based in Syracuse, does actually move The Athletic one step closer to branches in smaller markets like Binghamton and Olean.