Q&A with New England Sports Journalist Zack Cox

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Zack Cox is an assistant editor at NESN (New England Sports Network)

AA: Where did you grow up? Go to college?
ZC: I grew up in Wrentham, Mass., and graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2012.
AA: When/what made you realize that you wanted to work in sports journalism as a career?
ZC: I really can’t remember ever not wanting to work in sports, and I’ve always known I can write, so as soon as it became clear that I wasn’t nearly good enough to play any sports professionally, I started steering myself toward writing about them.
AA: What steps did you take to achieve this goal (academically and mentally)?
ZC: I was a communication major in college, but it’s really all about the extracurriculars, internships, stuff you do outside of class that really prepares you. My high school had a TV production program, so I did a lot of work with that, then I did a lot of writing and editing for our campus paper when I got to college. And other than that, just reading The Boston Globe and watching SportsCenter every day.
AA: How did you get hired at NESN?
ZC: I interned at NESN the summer before my senior year at UNH, so I had a bit of a leg up before I actually started having to look for a job. I went out to work for Major League Baseball in NYC for a few months after I graduated, then I was able to land an actual job at NESN after I got a bit of real-world job experience.

AA: Are you currently working your dream job, or are you trying to do something different?
ZC: I wouldn’t call this my dream job. I’m still pretty young, so I’m still kind of rising up through the ranks. I’d definitely say this is the field I want to be in, though.
AA: Is it difficult for you to not be a fan, or be biased, when writing about specific teams you like/don’t like?
ZC: If you’re serious about having a job about this, you get over your biases pretty quickly. I’m still just as much of a fan of the teams I grew up with (all the Boston ones) when I’m not working, but I don’t have much trouble turning that off (or at least toning it down) when I’m covering them. I’ve actually found that it’s helpful covering teams you’ve cheered for forever since it gives you a deeper knowledge of the team and the culture than someone who hasn’t.
AA: What has been the peak moment of your career so far? How did it make you feel?
ZC: Again, my career’s still pretty young, but it was really cool working at NESN during a time when the Red Sox won the World Series and the Bruins went to two Cups. Rooting interest aside, it’s always more fun covering winning teams.
AA: How many times would you say you tweet about sports per day?
ZC: It depends on the day. If I’m at a game or event covering it, I’ll tweet a lot more, maybe close to 30 or 40 times. If I’m not, though, I wouldn’t say I tweet a whole lot unless it’s a particularly exciting sports day. If I had to go average, I’d say between five and 10 sports tweets a day.
AA: What tips would you give a journalism student, such as myself, who wants to work in the field of sports journalism?
ZC: It’s all about versatility. All the old types of journalists have kind of blended together, meaning there are hardly any ones nowadays who are just strictly writers, strictly radio people, etc. Everyone’s writing, and doing podcasts, and doing video, and probably a little editing, and all the social media stuff. The more aspects of the job you’re experienced/comfortable with, the more attractive you’ll be to people looking to hire you.
AA: Looking back on your career, is there anything you would change if you could?
ZC: No big changes/regrets I can think of so far, hoping to keep it that way.
Follow Zack on twitter here
or check out some of his work at NESN.
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