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Profile: Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal on real writers and using social media

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I talked about my new profile interview feature here. First up is Jason Gay from the Wall Street Journal. Two of the things I really love about Jason is the accessibility of his writing and the way he uses humor in his work. Read his profile below, and check out one of his latest pieces on the Knicks.


When did you first consider yourself a real writer (assuming, of course, you do!)?

I think we’re all “real” writers - whether we’re writing for a publication or sending an email or even a text message. Writing is writing; if it’s engaging, I don’t care where it comes from. But I definitely enjoyed writing more than other subjects in school. I was not the greatest student, and writing was one thing I felt comfortable with.


This is a challenging time for writers of all kinds, but there is also seems to be a lot of opportunity. Can you share any opinions you have on the major challenges/opportunities you see for sports writers right now?

I agree there’s been a lot of evolution in the business, some of it scary. But on the upside, it’s never been easier to get your thoughts out there and try to find an audience — you don’t have to rely on a publisher or a printing press. That’s exciting. The trick of course is finding a way to turn it into a sustainable business, and that’s the struggle for everyone.


Can you describe your (or your company’s) approach to using social media to promote your columns?

The WSJ may be an old newspaper but it’s very engaged in social media, from Facebook to Twitter to the paper’s own website, where they are busy creating all kinds of fascinating content and even have a series of live television shows. It’s very exciting to see the level of reader engagement with this — people are coming to the Journal from many different places, and often it’s as simple as a recommendation on social media from a friend. I think that’s the best way to get a reader, when someone tells somebody else, “Hey you have to check this out!”


With NY being such a major media market and getting coverage across the country, is it difficult to write about NY sports and add something new to the conversation? If so, how do you tackle that?

I agree that NYC is a big market and a lot of the stories here inevitably become big stories nationally. But the good news is that there’s a lot to go around — and just when you think one story is dying down, another jumps up and takes its place. Just look at the way the NY Giants won the Super Bowl, and the parade is barely over when NYC moves straight into Jeremy Lin and “Linsanity.” That is a pretty amazing series of events to occur in the space of a few weeks, but it’s not uncommon. New York never sleeps!

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