Paul Kuharsky: Purely Professional

Paul Kuharsky is the author of ESPN.com‘s AFC South Blog, providing news and analysis for the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. He once covered the Titans for The Tennessean from 1996 – 2008 before joining ESPN.

He started his beat writing when the NFL was harboring a relocation:

“I got my big break in 1995, when the Oakland Tribune hired me to cover the Raiders during their season on the move. They still practiced in L.A. but played in Oakland.  A year later The Tennessean needed someone to live in Houston and cover the Oilers’ lame duck season, develop sources then move with the team to Tennessee.  I had just done that job in Oakland, and I got the job.”

Paul’s information comes from the organizations’ personnel groups:

“I live in Nashville, so I am around the team on a regular basis, talking to players and coaches.  But I do more than report.  I’m a commentator, and a large slice of that is informed opinion.”

He enjoys his work in covering the Titans:

“They are a good team to deal with, and many of the key people – Jeff Fisher and many on his staff, front office administration, public relations folks – have been around for a long time.  So I know them well.  They know I will strive to be fair and reasonable and that I will be around when they don’t like something I write to hear their complaints. They are professional and know how to have relationships with the media.  That makes things easier and less confrontational than they are with other teams.  But I cover the entire AFC South now, and have built similar relationships with the three other teams now too, though I see them far less in person during the week.”

Mr. Kuharsky values professional objectivity in the work:

“I’m from New Jersey, so covering New York teams would be nice, as I would be close to family.  But my current job and covering the Texans, Colts, Jaguars and Titans is great.  The teams I root for in sports – the Yankees, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, I probably wouldn’t want to cover, as I’d have to give up my rooting interest.”

Covering NFL teams is a good profession:

“Writing for ESPN.com in the form I am, where I have so much freedom and can mix reporting, analysis, commentary, humor, sarcasm, fan interaction, etc. is pretty close to my dream job.  But I have to stress that I was never a Titan fan and journalistically the idea of covering one’s favorite team doesn’t jive.”

As far as what he feels his journalistic advantage is:

“I’ve been close to this team longer than anyone.  So I can provide great context.  I have the relationships I discussed [earlier] and you get reporting, commentary, etc., all in one place with me where other writers – many of them excellent, many of them my closest friends – have much narrower roles.”

About jakemcneal

My name is Jake McNeal and I am from Portland, Oregon. I am a senior at the University of Oregon, majoring in news-editorial and magazine journalism. I am a business minor as well. I would love to be a sports reporter covering football, basketball, baseball and soccer.
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