By RYAN KIM
November 9, 2018
With UConn basketball season picking up this weekend, we take you around the horn with a local Connecticut journalist who knows a thing or two about championships here at the basketball capital of the world. His experience comes from right here in Storrs as a 2010 UConn graduate.
Chris Brodeur, a UConn Journalism alum, always knew he wanted to pursue sports journalism to combine his knack for writing with his love for sports. His journalism career began blossoming as a senior with The Daily Campus, covering the women’s basketball beat when he witnessed the Final Four in San Antonio, part of a back-to-back championship, undefeated run.
Brodeur is currently content editor and producer for the Hartford Courant specializing in the UConn Insider podcast. The idea for a podcast germinated from Brodeur and a few Courant sports staffers, who saw it as an opportunity to break into a new medium and focus on what they know best.
“We know our audience,” Brodeur said. “The difference is, [national media] can be broader. We have to focus on being as good as possible at what we’re good at.”
Readers don’t come to the Courant for national sports content, Brodeur acknowledged. The news organization already had a dedicated UConn following, so they decided to hone in as a reputable audio outlet. Marketing for the podcast series initially was directed towards social media, where they could experiment on what worked best for their following. Brodeur said the Courant’s analytics shows that UConn content does well, so they already had a leg up with a narrow focus.
“We have separate social media just for the UConn Insider brand open to readers and listeners so they can ask questions,” he said. “But the Courant’s built in following helped build something to instantly get off the ground.”
What started as an idea on the Courant’s web staff led to a fortified project, launching in January of this year with a podcast on UConn’s premier women’s basketball team, Brodeur said. Ever since the debut, it’s grown on the audience with the guest list featuring the biggest names in UConn sports, like Hall of Fame Coach Geno Auriemma.
Brodeur said podcasts are part of the new wave of journalism that features storytelling centered around what the listener or viewer wants, when they want it.
“It is a part of the future of journalism. On-demand content means timeliness is not as important, ” Brodeur said. “It’s long-form, people come and go as you please. Podcasts lend themselves to portability and also fit within the schedule of the listener.”
Though the future is multimedia, when covering stories that gain national attention, it’s important to keep in mind that classic journalistic objectivity, even in the press box at a sports game of “your team,” Brodeur advised aspiring journalists. “You have to separate parts of yourself because you can’t be cheering from the press…It’s easier than you may think. You feel pride when they do well, but journalism comes first.”
Top photo: Hartford Courant online editor/producer Chris Brodeur covered UConn Women’s Basketball for The Daily Campus while earning his bachelor’s degree in journalism. (Photo courtesy of Hartford Courant)