Friday, December 21, 2007

A Conversation with Washington Post Blogger Jason LaCanfora

This is the first of what I hope to be many more interviews with bloggers and beat writers at many newspapers. Jason LaCanfora has been in the journalism business for more than 10 years. He' graduated Magna Cum Laude at Syracuse University. He would start out at the Syracuse Post-Standard in 1995. Then, LaCanfora would be a back-up beat writer for the Baltimore Orioles for the Baltimore Sun. From 1997-1999, LaCanfora would work for the Detroit Free Press as the Red Wings beat writer, covering their back-to-back Stanley Cup Victories and the 1998 Nagano Olympics. You can now find Jason working at the Washington Post, where he now writes for the Redskins Insider. He has references that can get him hired anywhere and he was kind enough for an interview with ONR.

You're blogging for the Washington Post, what's that like?

It's a lot of fun, but also probably a little unusual in that I can't really go off and as the beat writer for the team as well there is definitely a line there that I cannot cross, whereas the guys at or something can kinda go off. Also, the fact I am covering the team on a highly competitive beat also limits the time I have to purely blog, riff, and all that good stuff.

What do you think of the bloggers at the Washington Post, I've heard some good things, but what do you think?

I think when it comes to internet coverage in general we were way ahead of the curve and remain at the vanguard of the movement. We have a lot of people on staff both writers and editors who get and understand new media

What does the future hold for bloggers in your opinion?

That's kinda vague. I think in general it is imperative that newspapers adapt and embrace the intimacy and fluidity of covering news on-line, and become as interactive with readers as possible in any forums that make sense (blogs, web chats, keggers in the beat guys basement).

You did an excellent job covering the Sean Taylor homicide. What was your initial reaction when you walked into the office that Monday morning and found out that Taylor was shot?

Thanks. Actually, though, my office is in Redskins Park (I go to the Post office once a month to turn in expensive and let my daughter run around and become equal parts scared and intoxicated by the moving stuffed moose we have on the wall seriously). I was actually on my drive to Ashburn when I got a call from someone on the team telling me they heard Sean was shot in Miami, and the next 12 days are a blur. But my initial reaction was truly, Holy (bleep), I hope its not too serious.

What did you think of how some folks in the media reacted to Taylor's death?

I think that with the need/pressure/demand nowadays to provide real time news/analysis, there are going to be problems, especially in delicate and unchartered territory such as this. I can understand why some people leapt to the conclusions that they did, but likewise I am eternally grateful that I did not and I followed my instincts and tried to be as sensitive to the situation as possible.

What have your thoughts and feelings been on the 2007 Redskins season? Do they have any hopes of making the playoffs?

I think it's not very realistic to expect them to finish 4-0 (Interview done last week) and get it. They have only one decent winning streak to speak of since Gibbs returned 5-0 or we don't go in 2005 and given the state of this team I don't see that happened again.

Is Joe Gibbs done after this season?

I don't think so. Barring a change in his health or a setback in his grandson's recovery from cancer, I think he will be back.

What have you thought about the dominance of the Cowboys this season?

I think you have to respect any team that can start the season 12-1 (yes, even in the NFC circa 2007). They have the second best offense in the NFL, a defense that?s good enough to be dangerous and with the ability to rush the passer. The secondary is still a mess sometimes but they have a bunch of guys who have been straight-up playmakers this season (Romo, TO, Barber, Witten, Ware) and have found a way to win. Clearly the best team in the NFC this season, but that?s not to say they can?t easily slip up in the playoffs.

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