Tyrus Thomas Practice Photo

Tyrus Thomas Photo

Tyrus Thomas in action in a Bulls game. (Getty Images photo)

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Staffers at CSN Chicago offer insight, advice on industry

By Sean McDonough

Last Monday about twenty  online sports reporting students from DePaul University were treated to a tour of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.  The trip gave the class an opportunity to witness firsthand the layout and function of a live newsroom. The tour was led by CSN Chicago’s  senior sports editorial producer, Chris Clark who spoke to the class about his career in sports media and also offered advice for future journalists.

The tour began once everyone arrived at the CSN Chicago headquarters. The first leg included a Q and A session with Clark.  Here Clark, a 1993 graduate of Southern Illinois University,  laid out the history of his career which began at AOL Greenhouse  and included stops at The Golf Channel and MLB.com, where he spent five years before landing at CSN Chicago.

“I love what I do, I’ve always been a sports fan,” said Clark, who grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago but admitted to being an avid White Sox fan despite growing up in Cubs territory.

Clark went on the explain his day-to-day duties as sports editor. Clark is essentially in charge of all content posted on CSN Chicago’s site.  CSN Chicago mainly concerns itself with covering Chicago’s major sports teams – Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks and Bears. Additionally, CSN televises games for each team with the exception of the Bears. Although television is a major component to CSN, Clark is almost exclusively concerned with the online aspect, conceding that he doesn’t have the face for TV.

Clark discussed that the goal of his online sports division is to present a wide array of coverage throughout the day. He pushes his writers to blog about 15 times a day on the team or event they are covering.  “We serve the fan,”  reminded Clark. And so far, Clark’s ambitions have paid off. This past December CSN Chicago attracted approximately 2.25 million hits, averaging about 85 thousand a day, numbers that according to Clark represent a “blockbuster” for the website.

Clark then focused the discussion directly to the audience, offering advice for the crowd of aspiring sportswriters. He urged the class to “intern like crazy” and to be open  to doing multiple things like shooting and editing video to make yourself attractive to possible future employers.

Kevin Anderson, CSN Chicago’s television producer, echoed Clark’s advice and went so far as to emphatically reach out the the crowd, offering his contact information  and urging  the students  to contact him for future advice.

“I don’t feel like I’ve worked a day my whole life,” said Anderson as he encouraged the crowd to pursue a career they truly love, as he did.