Dave Southorn is the Boise State beat reporter for the Idaho Press-Tribune. You may recognize him from his stellar reporting of Bronco football or from his cool hairdo on the picture on his blog. Hopefully after this interview, you will recognize him as a man who cares for the Treasure Valley sports scene and who has a forward-thinking view of Internet media and the future of news. Visit his Bronco blog by clicking here.
OBNUG: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where'd you grow up? Where'd you go to school?
Dave: I was born in Minneapolis on July 4, 1982. My family moved to the Seattle area when I was one, and I lived there for 10 years. Then we moved back to Minnesota, and I graduated from high school there. I went to college at the University of Colorado and graduated in 2004.
How did you end up at the Idaho Press-Tribune and how did you grab the Boise State beat?
I was hired in August of 2005 after working at the Daily Camera in Boulder. I was blessed to work with those guys in Colorado and was hired at the IPT just after I turned 23, so I am truly happy to be given the chance by the folks here. After our previous sports editor left, Phil Dailey moved into his position, opening the BSU beat. I had covered CU football in college and helped Phil out with BSU coverage for two seasons, so I think it was a pretty seamless transition last July.
We enjoy reading your blog at the IPT website. What kind of goals do you have for your blog? What do you see as its purpose? What kind of response have you received? (That was a lot of questions all at once there. Sorry.)
I appreciate that, first off. Our goal has been to supplement our BSU football coverage, because simply put, there can never be enough. It has helped add a little opinion and insight that may not be able to fit into the daily paper. Luckily, I got a new laptop, camera and digital recorder from the IPT last month, so I am really excited about the blog's future, adding video, photos and sound that will really give folks a different view of the program.
Newspapers have been slow to embrace the idea of blogging and instant online news. We've noticed that the IPT seems to be doing a lot of solid things with its Internet coverage, especially compared to that of other local print media. What is the IPT's web strategy?
I've been really happy with what people around here have done in the last year in regard to the web. For sports, Phil has placed a lot of emphasis on posting breaking news because getting the news out there first is vitally important. Quite a few of us are "mojos" (mobile journalists), so being able to put up breaking news immediately or multimedia ourselves is definitely a new era, but one that is really cool to be a part of. The web is not the future, it's the present, and anyone in newspapers knows we have to embrace it that way.
Looking at your site, we feel that you "get" the idea of blogging. What do you see being the primary role of blogs here in the Treasure Valley?
It's great to see fans out there having a voice. To me, having a rapport with fans and readers is absolutely necessary. People here are rabid fans, and blogs can foster that excitement around the program and also can gauge what those 30,000 fans each Saturday are feeling.
We've noticed that when people talk about Boise State news, they usually bring up the Statesman as the first source. How do you guys deal with having big competition like the Statesman in your back yard? What kind of things do you guys try to do differently or better to grab readers? (Whatever you're doing, it works for us.)
From my experience covering schools out here, I think our foothold with local news is very solid. Getting news of Canyon County kids going to BSU tends to come through here first. That being said, it's true other outlets might have more resources than us. We can't always try and imitate them. Instead, we have put a big emphasis on the web. Phil has a blog, I have mine. We both update ours frequently, and he offers some opinion. Putting up video, photos or audio on a regular basis is something we can bring to the table, and it's also really important since a lot of fans in Ada County don't get our paper, but they can still see what we're doing.
How do you think the local sports media does as a whole? Do you see things moving in any certain direction in the future and what kind of improvements can be made?
I have a great comraderie with just about everyone in the media around here and know that everyone works extremely hard. I've been a little dismayed at some of the cuts in media outlets — I know most local TV stations have had to function with one or two people at one time. There's a lot of sports news out there (I know BSU alone has plenty), so it's rough to see hardworking people stretched so thin. I personally see more and more media outlets getting involved — more radio stations, TV, internet, whatever. Boise State is not just of interest here in the Treasure Valley. The Broncos have gone national.
Other than the Fiesta Bowl, what has been the highlight of your time covering the Broncos for the IPT?
Good question. Certainly, being able to fly out to Hawaii and be paired up with Greg Kreller, our photographer. We were the only paper from Idaho to send a photographer out there, so that was exciting. Other than that, the 69-67 game against Nevada was just awesome. I could've written 3,000 words.
Who has been your favorite player to interview or work with over the past few years? Do you have any good stories that you want to share?
Hands down, Marty Tadman. He used to have to drive from home just to do interviews, and he was there every week. That guy was quotable on every thing under the sun. You could ask him about an offensive lineman, and he'd have something good to say. The first thing he said after the Hawaii Bowl loss was to thank the people of Boise for supporting him and Nicole. That's just classy, in my book.
Boise State football seems to be the hottest ticket in town nowadays. Do you see this continuing? Do you see this changing if the team loses more games than usual? Where do you see the whole Bronco Nation phenomenon going from here?
Even four losses in a season is more than usual, and that happened in 2005. Even then, there was still a big following. It only felt weird because Hawkins was leaving. I don't see the trend slowing down at all, especially with the growth we have around here. Another Fiesta Bowl may or may not be down the road, but this program knows how to win and plays a really exciting brand of football. I don't think that will ever go out of style. Believe me, I have plenty of friends from out-of-state who want to come out here for a game. Not that they'll ever find a ticket...
What was Phil Dailey thinking when he declared Bush Hamdan ahead in the spring QB derby?
Don't forget that Bush might have had a slight lead last year before getting hurt. I think if the coaches had to pick a QB at the end of spring, it would have been him. Then again, the season isn't until the end of August, so if Moore can limit his youthful mistakes, it'd be hard not to hand him the reins with all that talent.
Favorite TV show?
I'd say a tie between Lost and Dexter.
VinyCollective.com, Cracked.com and sportsline.com (fantasy baseball).
Best friend on the Idaho Press-Tribune staff?
Honestly, I get along with all of them very well. It sounds diplomatic, but true.
Denver Broncos, and also my CU Buffs
Favorite BSU player of all-time?
Ryan Dinwiddie was the first Bronco I ever watched, and to this day, he still amazes me.
Favorite current player?
I don't really think I have a favorite.
Favorite newspaper section other than the sports?
Even though about 90 percent of them are lame, the comics.
Who is your choice for starting QB this year?
I think the winner will still be either Hamdan or Moore. You can see the virtues of having a senior and letting the freshman be the primary backup, then letting him start for three years, but you can also see why Moore was a big-time recruit and that you can't keep a good player down long.