Sean Yuille is the managing editor for Pride of Detroit blog and Michigan Sports Center. Yuille covers the Detroit Lions and also writes about the University of Michigan, which he currently attends. Yuille, a young journalist, is already making a name for his self in the world sports journalism.
What is a typical gameday like for you?
I usually get up around 11-12 a.m. (it’s one of the few days I can sleep in a bit) and immediately get to work on any pre-game news that is out there, such as inactives or last-minute injury news. Once that is taken care of, I prepare the game thread and usually put up one for each quarter since there are so many comments. Once the game is finished, I put up a post-game thread and work on the recap. I also take care of news for SB Nation Detroit while the game is going on, so typically I’m writing nonstop from when I wake up until 6 or 7 at night.
How much time do you spend working on each site in a given week?
During football season I usually spend a couple hours a day on each site. From around January to early-August, I probably spend only an hour or so working on each site. Throughout every day I stay updated on the latest news and things like that, but the time I spend actually writing varies depending on how much is going on with Michigan and the Lions.
What is your favorite thing about writing for a blog?
I’ve always enjoyed talking football, and blogging about it allows me to discuss it with thousands of other people who are fans of my team. I’d say that’s my favorite thing (well, that and having a job that I enjoy so much).
The benefits of updating your site with the latest news early and often is that you will grow your readership. During the offseason, Pride of Detroit experiences a lot of growth when free agency happens because there are so many rumors and pieces of news that come out. After the lockout ended, for example, POD had days of more than 100,000 views because there were so many posts going up. Obviously this wasn’t a typical offseason, but free agency always spawns a ton of stories. The obvious challenge is trying to stay on top of everything. Since I handle all of the news stories on my site, I literally woke up at around 8 and sat at the computer almost all day until 11 at night because so much was going on. It can be tough, but it’s worth it to grow the site so much.
How did you start writing for the blog?
Back in February 2006, I started my own University of Michigan sports blog. At the time I was only a sophomore in high school and it was nothing more than a hobby. Quickly I realized it was possible to turn my hobby into a job, and I did so by being chosen as the Lions blogger for SB Nation. The company has grown in a big way since then, and my job with SB Nation has also grown. This has allowed me to continue blogging throughout college, and I’ve actually paid for most of my tuition at U-M with money I’ve made from blogging.
What’s your favorite Lions memory? Favorite Lion of all-time?
I would have to say watching Lions games on Thanksgiving is my favorite memory, specifically the 1998 game against the Steelers where the Lions won in overtime in controversial fashion. As for my favorite Lion, it is without a doubt Barry Sanders.
It’s amazing to me that some teams are still so resistant to blogs even though they have become so much more credible and sometimes get more traffic than a lot of mainstream outlets. Certain teams (the Lions are one of them) see that you are a blog and dismiss requests for a press credential to training camp, and yet they allow mainstream “journalists” like Drew Sharp, who has no credibility, to report on the team. In my experience, player availability is much easier when you go through their sponsors instead of trying to go through the team. That is how Pride of Detroit has set up interviews with guys like Matthew Stafford, Cliff Avril and Brandon Pettigrew, and until more teams warm up to blogs and get past the stigma associated with them, that will continue to be the easier way to get access to players.
Any advice for young journalists?
Getting your foot in the door is big in journalism. I was fortunate enough to get my foot in the door with SB Nation and have had quite the ride with them as they’ve grown over the years. If you’re looking to get involved in a blog, starting off as a contributor and working your way up is not a bad plan. And if you’re interested in a mainstream outlet like a newspaper, an internship is a great way to get your career started. Experience is very important, and although climbing up the ladder takes time, it is how the business works.