Featuring Tyler Dunne
There is quite the illustrious list of guest speakers we have had for my JLM 312 class. Mike Vaccaro, Amy Moritz, and Will Leitch, who I have already written about for something else. Then there is Tyler Dunne.
Dunne has one of the coolest jobs in all of sports journalism. He gets to write features on NFL players essentially full time for Bleacher Report. He has written these on several of the NFL’s best players, including Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, and Le’Veon Bell.
When Dunne first started, he thought he wanted to cover a beat. He said that was his dream job. And growing up, his favorite team was the Green Bay Packers. Most people don’t get their dream job so quickly out of college, but Dunne became a Packers’ beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covered the Buffalo Bills for the Buffalo News.
When asked what his favorite athlete he got to cover was, he replied that going down to Mississippi to feature Brett Favre was his career highlight.
The most important thing Dunne brought to the class was his personality. He looks rather intimidating, with arms bigger than those of some of the NFL players he’s written about. As soon as he speaks, that intimidation goes away. He has a very warm tone, and is incredibly inviting.
He had a lot of interesting stories to tell about some of the players, including stuff that didn’t make it into his features. He gave nice tips on how to write features, with an interesting insight into how to ethically handle writing features.
For example, he spoke about contacting a player’s family members. Parents have the best quotes about their kids, but he always tries to get family contacts through the player himself. If the player doesn’t want to give away his family’s contact, Dunne is not very keen on going behind someone’s back. He likes to keep the trust, and not violate privacy.
Dunne talked a lot about accountability. When he writes something that makes a player angry, he goes to the locker room the next day and lets the player talk directly to him. He always wants to let the players have a fair representation, and if they have a problem, he isn’t afraid to talk about it.
Dunne seems to be lucky in that he hasn’t really had a bad experience with a player. He said he’s had a few guys who don’t say much, but no one who has been a nightmare.
Tyler Dunne left a pretty big impression on me. For one, I’m very jealous of the job he has. Travelling to just write features on athletes is now a mini dream of mine, and seeing that it is possible is now rather encouraging.
But more importantly, I’ll take away the person he is. He’s a very humble person, and was very inviting to the class to ask questions. I hope to handle my future career with the professionalism and grace of Tyler Dunne.