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Nick Ironside '14
Reporter, Hickory Daily Record, NC
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- How I Got Sports Illustrated's Peter King to Speak at Curry College
How I Got Sports Illustrated's Peter King to Speak at Curry College
April 19, 2012
Written by Student-Journalist, Nick Ironside '14 - Communication
Back in January of 2012, my journalism professor, Jeff Lemberg told me we needed to get a speaker for the Society of Professional Journalists student chapter here at Curry.
As soon as I read Professor Lemberg's email, I tweeted to Peter King of Sports Illustrated. At that point, I'd been following Peter on Twitter for about 10 months. He's the face of SI, and someone I'd seen on the NBC Halftime show for Notre Dame football games.
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There was no point in not asking. The worst thing that could happen was he would say "No" or not respond. I tweeted something along the lines of, "@si_peterking interested in speaking re: journalism at a college in Boston?"
Within 10 minutes, I had a direct message from Peter King. He told me to email him more information and that he would be glad to do it.
In early April, after having emailed back and forth for a few months, Peter confirmed that May 1 from 3-4:30 p.m. would work. He'd be here.
Of course I was ecstatic! Peter King's written six books on the NFL. He's one of the most well respected sports writers in the country, and is a big-time name.
Professor Lemberg and Justin Some (another sophomore communication major) helped me get fliers together. We reserved the Parent's Lounge in Hafer and we publicized it with help from the Curry College Office of Institutional Advancement.
In the meantime I put together an interview outline, which I showed to Professor Lemberg. He told me that he didn't need to see another draft of the outline. I was kind of excited for him to give me a lot of freedom in planning the interview. I also didn't want to mess up and ask a lot of stupid questions.
I did what he recommended and stuck with journalism questions. After all, the audience would ask about football. Peter King came here for Curry's Society of Professional Journalists student chapter, so it only made sense to ask questions about the media and journalism.
I'm not going to lie. I was nervous that something would go wrong during the interview. Isn't that everyone's fear when coordinating an event? Thankfully, Peter was a character.
He made the interview and event fly by. The stories he told about his relationship with Bill Belichick up until 2007/Spygate, the advice Peter gave us about learning to use all of the different media in communication and the questions asked by the audience were all phenomenal. His easy-going and laid back personality helped me while doing the interview.
- Read more of Nick Ironside's work in the Currier Times, Curry College's student-run news publication
As a football fan, I found Peter entertaining. But more importantly, he gave a lot of good professional advice, specifically about the advantages of having a diverse set of skills. Am I considering radio now? Yeah, it might be interesting to do one semester. Should I take an audio/video-editing course? That's probably going to come in handy at some point. The communication business is all about networking, too. Peter is evidence of networking leading to success.
Peter's point that expertise/niche journalism is more important now than ever really stuck with me. Having a broad knowledge base is good, but now covering a sport is a full-time job. As he said, "More than ever, it's become a specialized business."