Hundreds of sports reporters are strewed across the country—some cover stories from a national angle while others focus on the local teams. But there’s only one that also trains professional athletes like Chris Long, Patrick Willis and Jared Allen while buddying up with others like Michael Strahan and Tony Gonzalez.
Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer has found a unique approach to sports coverage. It’s about fairness, friendship and facts. As Glazer explained to the folks at Deadspin: “Let me never, ever screw anybody, and I’ll continue to get the scoops.” Developing true friendships is his secret sauce. But the challenge of balancing source loyalty with honest journalism is often criticized and hard to master. Glazer makes it work because that’s what keeps him working.
Jay Glazer is part NFL reporter, part entrepreneur and part friend to the football elite. He works hard for a living and is well compensated by Fox Sports for the credibility he brings to their football bureau. His various career endeavors have produced the scoops and stories that makes him one of the best in the business. Glazer is a tremendously valued Fox Sports reporter and contributor to its popular football program, Fox NFL Sunday. Competing with the likes of Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter and Peter King for breaking news, he’s considered among the best in the business. As a part of Fox Sports Glazer spends most of his time reporting on the National Football League and uses the balance of it to host UFC shows on various Fox channels. But a spot on the sports media mountaintop isn’t enough. Glazer has met dozens of athletes through the Las Vegas based training facility MMAthletics that he co-owns with retired mixed martial artist, Randy Couture. Relationship building is about opportunity and action. Through contacts made at his training facility and while working for the New York Post, CBS and now Fox, Jay Glazer has created for himself an envious journalism career. So what is the lesson here? It isn’t to open an MMA training facility and buddy up to Michael Strahan. Let’s leave that to Jay Glazer.
Be unique—don’t be Jay Glazer, don’t be Mike Florio, don’t be Peter King. Don’t emulate others in the crowd of football reporters. Traverse the sports journalism field in a manner that befits your own career. But takeaway some basics from how Jay Glazer built his reporting career.
Inside sources are vital in all forms of journalism. Becoming too friendly with the athletes you cover might not fit your personality and work style though. You can, however, develop sources by networking with anyone and everyone in the business. For Jay Glazer his relationship with Peter Flach—NFL agent Jimmy Sexton’s New York representative—led to a friendship with Giants cornerback Jason Sehorn. Sehorn introduced him to Michael Strahan who, eventually, connected him with Fox sports anchor Curt Menefee. It’s this kind of domino effect that allows journalists to break news the way Glazer has. A man who reveled the Patriots’ “Spygate” scandal, Plaxico Burress’ nightclub shooting incident and the many moves of retired-unretired-retired Brett Favre did so because of sheer activity and conversation—meet new people and form a network.
Ethics are a foundation of journalism. Value yourself enough as a journalist—and as a person—to allow moral principle to be your guide. Throughout his career, Jay Glazer has made it a point to be fair and honest, balancing the task of breaking juicy news with respect for the people involved. Never embellish the facts. Too many good reporters have tarnished stellar careers by breaking a story too early without enough validation. An editor at The New York Times said it well: “Check every fact. Make sure everything is right. That’s The Times. That’s what we do here.” It’s a maxim that’s good enough for a famed newspaper like the Times; it’s good enough for you.
Tenacity is vital to a successful reporting career. “Be relentless” is a mantra you should repeat to yourself every morning and again every night. Your ability to scoop a story or write a well-crafted, thoughtful article relies on your willingness to be the best and strive for excellence in all aspects of your career. Glazer is the definition of determined when it comes to NFL reporting. He digs for stories and works them from a variety of angles to bring fans the information they crave. At Fox Sports he doesn’t have a massive team of well-known NFL reporters; he alone cannot compete with ESPN’s volume of reporters. And that is what makes you and him alike. You will create your own network of league and team contacts as you grow in the business. Rely on hustle, heart and attitude to do something you’re proud of. No matter your natural personality—introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between—be feisty at your job. It will lead you to more opportunities and prop you up among your media member peers.