Monthly Archives: January 2014

Dorie Turner Nolt, press secretary of the US Dept. of Education/former AP reporter


I’ve always known Dorie Turner Nolt as a journalist, and her credentials were impressive. But when she took a job as the press secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, I knew I needed her as a guest on the podcast. In our chat, we talk about the consequences of a journalist going to the “dark side” world of public relations, how she views a reporter’s job now that her paradigm has shifted, how the Associated Press (her former employer) has adjusted to a new age of journalism, and why she would uproot her life for a job she knows she’s not going to have in three years after the current presidential administration leaves office.

Plus, you need to hear her story on how she became the Chattanooga Times Free Press’ 9/11 reporter as a 22-year-old fresh out of college. Frankly, Turner provides one of the best stories we’ve ever heard on this podcast.

And at the end, I couldn’t help but tell my shaking-hands-with-George-W-Bush story that gets a little explicit at the end (and not because of anything President Bush did).

Interviewed on 1-10-14

Dan Rafael, boxing writer


I read’s Dan Rafael all the time, and if you follow boxing in the slightest, I’m sure you do the same. Rafael is at all the big fights, conducts epic chats that have gone as long as the common work day and breaks a tremendous amount of news. In our talk, we discuss the media coverage that boxing gets these days (hint: it doesn’t get nearly the mainstream coverage it once did, but it’s probably easier to find boxing news than ever before) and how he created his own world (not unlike T.J. Simers) with his boxing chats. We also hit on how he goes about trying to “own” his beat, and whether he has misgivings about making his living writing about men who hit each other in the head.

Plus, we talk about the time we briefly shared space in a hotel suite in Louisville with Mike Tyson — one of the most surreal moments of my sports writing career and one of my most favorite stories of all time.

Interviewed on 12-19-13

Claire Smith, Journalistic trailblazer/ editor


This might be the most important podcast I’ve recorded to date. Claire Smith, formerly of the New York Times and currently of, is a trailblazer in our journalism world. In the 1970s and 1980s, she was one of the first female reporters to enter a baseball clubhouse, and she had to traverse a rocky road to do her job at the time. During our discussion, we chat about the recent ESPN documentary “Let Them Wear Towels” and why it was so important, the fine line she had to walk between sticking up for herself and not becoming part of an explosive story, and whether female reporters will ever get 100 percent equal treatment.

Plus, you MUST hear the story of how she was physically removed from the Padres clubhouse during the playoffs in 1984 and how that incident shaped her then and how it continues to shape her. It is an amazing tale, and quite frankly, Smith is an amazing (and brave) journalist.

A few days ago, Smith tweeted this to me:

Of course, she’s got it wrong. It was me who was honored to have her grace my podcast.

My favorite quote came when she was discussing her trailblazing colleagues, who paved the way for those who came afterward: “Being able to pick up the phone and talk to Jane Gross, or Melissa Ludtke or Lisa Olson, that made the world then. It means even more now. I look around the group and all I see are survivors and some of the greatest people I’ve ever known in my life.”

Interviewed on 12-19-13

Chris Huston,


Chris Huston is the foremost authority on the Heisman Trophy. At least that’s what Sports Illustrated says, and there’s no reason not to believe it. Huston gets the winner right every time. Every single damn time.

In our discussion, we talk about why the Heisman Trust is so against Heisman voters revealing their votes before the ceremony and whether that should be a problem for the journalists who are voting, how Huston transformed himself into a top-notch Heisman voter analyst, and the process by which a school’s PR department figures out when to push one of its own football players for the award.

Interviewed on 12-18