If you’re counting at home — and literally, I just did — this marks my 102nd post in 40 days. I mention this because six weeks ago my job description underwent a major readjustment, as I’m sure many among you have noticed. And just this week two respected pros — Claude Felton, Georgia’s Hall of Fame publicist, and Kim Shreckengost, Arthur Blank’s longtime deputy — asked: “So how often do you write now?”
That in mind, I’ve decided to compile what we digital types — technically, I work in Digital at the AJC now, not Sports — call FAQs. (Frequently Asked Questions, for the newbies.) I hope these will be of some service as we move forward in this bold endeavor.
So how often do you write now?
The idea is to post three times a day, Monday through Friday, the target times being 7 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Obviously this is subject to change when I’m covering a live event or a night game, and in such cases I’ll try to alert you beforehand. But generally speaking, if you check back every four hours on a weekday, you should find something new. (Not to say something good, but something new.)
Will this change come football season?
Probably, but we’re still sorting that out. (When I say “we,” I mean Quindelda McElroy and Carolyn Warmbold, who are the brains behind the Insight/Opinion Digital group, and Mr. Schultz and myself.) Mr. Schultz and I will still go to games on Saturday/Sunday, and I’m guessing we’ll do more live-blogging from those. But don’t hold me to that just yet.
Does this mean you won’t write for the print AJC anymore?
It does not. I still write for print roughly three times a week, and the print column will always appear online as part of the ol’ blog. But my first responsibility, as Ms. McElroy says — we call her “Q,” by the way — is to serve the digital audience. That means you folks. So consider yourselves lucky or warned, depending on your slant.
So you’re not in Sports but you’re still a sports writer?
That’s correct. Our Insight/Opinion group contains folks from all walks of AJC life — from Jim Galloway, the Political Insider, to Meridith Ford Goldman, the food critic — and contains four folks charged specifically with blogging about sports: Darryl Maxie on recruiting, Junkyard Bill King, Mr. Schultz and myself.
That doesn’t mean our sports beat writers — Sekou Smith, Dave O’Brien/Carroll Rogers, Darryl Ledbetter, Chris Vivlamore, Tim Tucker, Doug Roberson and Michael Carvell — still won’t do blogs. They will. (As you’ve doubtless seen, Sekou and DOB/Carroll have been churning them out as per usual over the summer.) But they’re in the News & Information group.
Aren’t 15 posts a week an awful lot?
I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some initial hesitation on my part, and I’d be lying if I told you that, after six weeks, I’ve settled into what I’d call an ideal routine. I haven’t yet, though I’m getting closer. But the trick, I’m learning, is treat the digital world, which is a totally different animal from print, totally differently. I wouldn’t want to write 15 posts a week full of the usual Bradley column-style bloviation, and believe me, you wouldn’t want to read them. That’s why you’re seeing more of a mix.
The mix being … what exactly?
Whatever springs to mind. I’ve written a poem, sort of. I’ll try to make lists. There will always be a fairly extensive Bradley’s Buzz — a collection of links regarding local sports — on Monday mornings, but there will be more shorter Buzzes throughout the week. I’ve been doing Buzz since last August — both the name and the idea came from former AJC sports editor Ronnie Ramos, who’s now at NCAA.com — and I’ve been pleased to see there’s almost always a surplus of material.
Are there any other regularly scheduled weekly features?
So far, two. There’s something I’ve dubbed the Hot Button, which will appear Thursday mornings, and its aim is to give my answer to a burning — or, failing that, simmering — issue regarding Atlanta/Georgia sports. Installment No. 1 was, “Do the Braves need a new manager?” No. 2 was, “Why the Hawks must still draft a point guard.” No. 3 was, “Should the Braves trade Yunel Escobar?” Yesterday’s was, “Should the Bravers be buyers or sellers?” Not much nuance; just meat-and-potatoes sports stuff.
And on Wednesdays Mr. Schultz and I will be doing a Face Off, which is as it sounds: One issue, differing opinions.
Tell the truth. Do you like this new regimen?
Yes, I do. I love the actual act of writing. I’m not what’s known in the trade as a “bleeder,” meaning I don’t agonize over every word. I’m fairly quick and I’m usually pretty clean. (I’m talking copy-wise, not necessarily hygiene-wise.) And I’ve found, at the advanced age of 53, that focusing on the digital audience has enabled me to look on a job I’ve done for more more than 30 years in a whole new light. This stuff is, in a word, fun.
Do you read every single comment?
I try to look at every single comment. I’d be less than candid if I said I read them all one word for word. I try to get the gist, and I try to think of the comments section as a conversation. I like responding. I like making my dumb little jokes. I like recognizing people’s screen names, even if they’re people I know who aren’t my biggest fans.
By the way: You’re allowed to disagree with me, even encouraged to do so. I have just two requests.
And those are?
Keep it clean, and don’t use the word “thug.” I hate that word, and I delete any comment containing it. (I did it again just this morning.) It started as a code word, but it’s not even code anymore. It’s essentially a racial slur. I try to flexible on most things, but on this word I’m steadfast.
Do you have a formula for how often you respond?
I try to answer as often as I can, sometimes to stimulate the conversation, sometimes just to crack wise. With three posts a day, it gets a little tougher to keep up with every train of thought. But I do try.
Any other tips for commenters?
I’m a sucker for literary or movie or music references. If I see the screen name “Stephen Daedalus” — and I have — my eyes light up. Same with “Ted Striker.” Same with “Tupac Earnhardt Jr.”
Do you ever sleep?
On occasion, yes. But only on occasion.
Last FAQ. If you were going to give yourself a screen name, what would it be?
Believe it or not, I’ve given this a lot of thought. Here goes: Holly Martins.