How Chris Brodeur ’10 broke into a new medium with the ‘UConn Insider’ podcast

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)