I knew after I interviewed Mizzou guard Kim English last week that it had been my best interview in sports journalism to date.
I was only supposed to ask him about Twitter for my colleague Chris Spurlock’s “Tweeting Tigers” infographic. Leading an interview with a paltry filler question like that, though, made me think I would look bad in front of Kim English. Can’t have that.
So I followed up on a question from another reporter earlier in the media day: “how do you feel about the Carmelo Anthony situation, any thoughts?”
“I’m just worried about Mizzou basketball,” he said, and left it at that.
After they had cleared out and I had a chance to interview him on-one-one (no way in hell I was asking him a question about his twitter in front of professional and student journalists), I asked him if he had changed his game to be more like Carmelo’s. In a roundabout way he said, no..but maybe sometimes, yes.
His answer led me to ask what he had worked on this summer , asked whether or not he had had a chance to improve those skills at Mizzou.
The quotes he gave me allowed me to write a story that one of our founders complimented me for “not editorializing” and allowing English to tell. It also seemed to answer a question that everyone who follows Mizzou basketball has wondered all season: What happened to Kimmy, our most promising player from last year?
It received 1,101 hits as of this moment in less than a week of circulation. It’s the top-grossing text piece we’ve ever had, although the fledgling sports coverage began just before football season last August.
It trails behind the video of fans rushing the field after the Oklahoma game, a dog rising from the yellow sea of fans and staring straight at the camera. In the words of founder JJ Stankevitz, “it’s a traffic juggernaut.” Videos like those have viral capability. They may not be award-winning journalism, but they may help put you on the map. One doesn’t post those videos to go viral necessarily, but when it happens, it happens.
Shameless self-promotion aside, this story helped us get a better view of the impact KBIA Sports Extra can have outside of landmark game interest traffic like what the site experienced slightly before my time–I was doing work for KCTV5 then–after the victory over #1 Oklahoma.
As a result, we were able to disseminate the story out to more outlets here than any other previous stories. It disproved something I hoped against all along, that no matter how great of work we could do, we’re ultimately up against a wall doing multimedia coverage for a radio station.
Instead, our traffic has continued to spike since we began holding ourselves to a per-day content quota. This story, and a story produced by graphics ace Chris, both made their rounds locally despite the lack of burgeoning interest produced by, say, a victory over the best football team in the country.
If we can keep building on this momentum as basketball season wanes, it would be a very promising sign for our sustainability going forward.