This is Randy Beard, the sports editor of the Evansville Courier & Press. I want to use this space to update University of Evansville sports fans on where we are at with the Aces’ beat since Jonathan Lintner left for an online position with the Louisville Courier Journal.
I received more than 170 resumes once the job was posted, conducted seven phone interviews and then brought three applicants to town for a second round of interviewing earlier this month. A little over a week ago I offered the job to Colleen Thomas, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan who has been working a summer internship at the Baltimore Sun.
Colleen will start work on Aug. 19 and once she gets her bearings and meets administrators, coaches and student-athletes at UE, I’m confident she will provide outstanding coverage of the Aces. She’s an excellent writer, has a background playing sports (her mother is a teacher and coach) and she managed to graduate from college in three years so she may soon be the smartest member of the sports staff.
As I did with Jonathan, I will set expectations for Colleen and then give her the leeway to grow the beat the way she wants.
Speaking of which, reading comments on the Purple Code message board about how Jonathan provided unprecedented coverage of the Aces because he was a fan has kept me amused. I’ve wanted to respond, especially to the suggestion that we are no longer taking the UE beat seriously since he left.
One poster even suggested I’d rather cover fishing before writing about college basketball. Wrong on two counts there, I’m afraid.
I would have set the record straight more than two weeks ago on the Purple Code, but I’ve forgotten my password and so far the site administrator hasn’t responded to three emails. So I’ll respond here.
Jonathan did take the beat in a new direction with daily blog entries and constant Twitter posts, using the skills he learned at Western Kentucky. Those multi-media skills are one reason Jonathan was hired. We expected him to be a newsroom leader in those areas, and he helped raise the bar for reporters on other beats in sports.
But the thing people need to understand is that it wasn’t Jonathan’s decision to focus on UE athletics. He was assigned that responsibility, although he did often go beyond what I would have demanded because he would post blog entries on his days off. I appreciated that effort.
However, unlike previous writers covering the Aces in the past six years or so, I made sure Jonathan didn’t have to worry very often about having to also cover the IceMen, USI or high school sports. He only got a handful of those assignments because I wanted him to stay focused on covering UE athletics.
In comparison, when I was assigned coverage of the Aces for two years, I was also the sports columnist who worked the desk two to three nights a week while also providing nearly all of our IceMen coverage. So yes, the coverage of the Aces wasn’t nearly as comprehensive as was in the past year.
When I moved up to sports editor here in May 2012, making UE a beat responsibility was as much a priority to me as all college beats had been when I was sports editor in Tallahassee, Fla., and Anderson, S.C.. It remains one now.
I believe Colleen will do a superb job while providing a different perspective..