Today we reminisce with Greg Cassoli, who was an absolute workhorse during his days at CelticsBlog and has clearly taken that work ethic to his new career at Celtics Wire (USA Today).
1. What have you been up to since leaving CelticsBlog and what you enjoy about your current position?
Lots and lots of writing. I’m currently the editor of Celtics Wire and the Count the Dings Newsletter (presently on hold, but soon to return in full force). Covering the team in-person has been a wild and enjoyable ride. Being on the beat for the recent playoff run was definitely the most exciting part of my new role(s), though also the most exhausting.
2. Tell us how you got your start in the industry and what role (if any) CelticsBlog played in it. (Yes, I’m totally fishing for compliments here.)
CelticsBlog was my stepping stone to the work I’m doing now. I was recruited to Celtics Wire by fellow alum Jared Weiss. I’ve always felt confident in my writing ability, but I didn’t really have any tangible appreciation of what it meant to be a journalist prior to encountering the fine people at CelticsBlog, pestering Jared, and subsequently getting a few doses of firsthand experience. I’m hugely grateful for all of that.
3. Who are some of your idols and/or mentors in the media and what impact have they had on your career?
It feels weird to call Jared (whom I consider a friend) an idol, but mentor probably fits. Regardless of title, he showed me the ropes in the media room and modeled the (kind of crazy) amount of dedication it takes to move forward in the industry. Zach Lowe is the only person I’m religious about reading, but the list of folks whose work I enjoy and respect is very long. Boston has a really deep pool of beat reporters, and I generally try to stay fairly up to date on most of their content. I gained as much from asking them for it as I did in years worth of writing on my own.
4. What has been the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way and what advice would you give to aspiring writers and people trying to break into the sports media business.
Make your own luck. The industry can be a real grind, and you have to put the work, but it doesn’t hurt to reach out to people. I wound up with Celtics Wire because I pestered Jared, whom I met from CelticsBlog, which I started writing for by pestering Jeff, and so on an so forth down the line. The same is true with the Count the Dings newsletter. The overwhelming majority of people I’ve asked for advice and guidance from have been more than willing to take a minute and share their perspectives.
5. Where do you see sports media headed in the future? What trends do you see and how would you like to see the industry adapt over time?
I think sports media, and media generally, is moving towards shorter more flexible platforms/mediums. I’m not entirely convinced that’s a good thing. I love long-form writing, and I hope the places that feature it continue to do so. Subscription models might help in that regard, and I’d imagine that will continue to have a significant say in the way in which sports media is shaped moving forward. I’d love to live in a world in which everyone interested in covering sports could produce precisely the type of content they’d like to (without making any artistic/editorial concessions) and also have it be freely available, but that’s not a likely outcome from where I sit.
Thanks again Greg! Best of luck in all you do.