Alumni Newsletter

Get to know The DOAA Board: Alumni representative Greg Bishop (’02)

Courtesy of Greg Bishop

Greg Bishop ('02) rides in a boat outside Manaus, Brazil, en route to go piranha fishing. (He caught one that day).

The Daily Orange Alumni Association Board of Directors was created during the summer in an effort to strengthen the organization and expand its reach across our large network of alumni. This month we are introducing a new feature: Get to know the Board.

First up: Greg Bishop (‘02), an alumni representative on the D.O.A.A. board. He covers the NFL for Sports Illustrated.

The Daily Orange: How did you start your journalism career and how did you get to the job you have?

Greg Bishop: When I was in college, I interned at The Washington Times (metro), The Buffalo News (sports), The (Syracuse) Post-Standard (sports) and The (Newark) Star-Ledger (also sports). The Ledger asked me to stay on for another month, but The Seattle Times offered a six-month internship instead. It was appealing. I grew up 45 minutes south of Seattle, in Tacoma, and they wanted me to back up the Seahawks writer, and cover the Washington women’s basketball team and 25 high schools north of Seattle.

Young writers ask me all the time how they can skip straight to the enterprise portion of their careers. I still say that Seattle Times gig was one of the best I’ve had. I left there after five years to cover the Jets for The New York Times, and in my almost seven years there, I covered that team and all its craziness (foot fetishes, DUIs, underage dating, etc.), boxing, the NFL, tennis, the Olympics, college sports – basically anything you can cover in our business except the Masters, which is on my work-related bucket list. That job was also awesome. I loved working at the NYT. But my wife wanted to move back to Seattle, and so I took my current job at Sports Illustrated. I was hired as a general assignment reporter, but now, I mostly cover the NFL, with some other stuff mixed in.

The D.O.: What did you learn from The D.O. that helps in your job today?

G.B.: I could answer this in one word: everything. But I’ll expand. Or try.

I started at The D.O. under some great editors. Like Pete Thamel, who edited one of my stories this week, same as 18 years ago. And Connor Ennis, who was my boss at the NYT for a couple years. And John Jiloty. They taught me how to find stories outside the margins, report extensively, drink heavily and ignore nuisances like classes in order to focus on my stories. I worked at The D.O. myself as an assistant sports editor, and then sports editor, and then as a general weekly columnist. Jeff Passan was and remains one of my best friends, although his skill as an editor definitely strained our friendship. I’m kidding. Sort of. We worked with guys like Chris Snow and Eric Nathan, and we all pushed each other to be creative and find enterprising stories. Snow and I went to Carthage, N.Y., to find out why so small a town produces so many lacrosse players. I’ll always remember that afternoon. It was basically my first taste of what I do now: go somewhere, (become) ingratiated — or try to, capture scene, transcribe and write. All these years later it’s still about that. I remember my professor chided me for missing class that day. But I learned more working at The D.O. than I did in any Newhouse classroom (where I definitely also learned a lot).

The D.O.: What was your favorite part about working at The D.O.?

G.B.: I want to say the camaraderie but anyone who knows me knows that would be a lie. I definitely enjoyed the camaraderie. I miss it. But I’m a fat guy at heart. So my favorite part of working at The D.O. was PUP food. I ate enough cheese and cookies to last a lifetime. I sometimes ate a third of the food on my way back to The D.O.

The D.O.: What made you want to apply to be a D.O.A.A. alumni representative? What do you hope the group accomplishes? What are you hoping other D.O. alumni get out of the group?

G.B.: I’ve always worked with a dozen or so younger D.O. writers and figured, after Mara (Corbett, former editor in chief) suggested I apply, that I could assist in a more formal way. I’m currently on the mentor committee. We’re building our database of potential mentors and mentees and hoping to do some matching for the spring semester. We’re trying to bolster the number of folks involved there and make D.O. Palooza as instructive as possible (sigregbishop@gmail.com; all ideas welcome). I’ll be going this year for the first time ever. Looking forward to it.

The D.O.: Even before this group, you’ve been more informally involved with helping out D.O. writers, especially in sports. What about helping current staffers is so fulfilling for you?

G.B.: Sounds corny but it’s true. I’ve had mentors in journalism since I was 18, really, with Thamel – who I semi-affectionately call Gramps – being the first. Les Carpenter. Steve Kelley. Tom Jolly. Harvey Araton. Bill Rhoden. Gay Talese. I can’t tell you the number of times I bothered them. Now, I get to send my stories to Ben Shpigel and Lee Jenkins and bug Chris Ballard and Michael McKnight. It would be shortsighted not to do the same, if anybody’s asking. Although, it’s kind of weird, if I’m being honest, to be asked these kinds of questions when I spent so many years asking them.

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