College sports' ultimate fan, Greg Cauley, who's been to every UNC football game and home basketball game since 1985, was there in person when Carolina lost to Kansas in St. Louis last weekend. (If you're like, "Who the heck is Greg Cauley"—I recently profiled him for GQ.) He emailed me last week. We got to talking. Which is good, because I've had some concerned folks asking me about him. Here's how he's doing.
Entries in GQ (4)
Had a reader and then a coworker at the university where I'm getting my master's ask me pretty much the same question over the past couple days, so I thought there might be some other readers interested in it, too.
From the reader's email:
I am not a journalist by profession though I have worked off and on in the field for the last 20 years. Professionally I teach history and coach football. I have coached just about everything at one time or another a lot of basketball and baseball. ... For the past few years I have been freelancing for local papers writing mainly preps basketball and spring sports. Add in some features and a little politics. I also do photography which I have learned to enjoy. My question to you is how do I start expanding to bigger assignments. I enjoy writing local sports, etc. but I want to write something bigger and more important. — J.W.
My coworker wants to write about film.
Now bear in mind, this advice is free, but it's also just my advice, and as I say down there at the end, there's no one way to go about this. That said, here's my (extremely abbreviated) take.
Been getting lots of questions from folks about where exactly to read about Esquire's Chris Jones "salting the earth" in trying to outduel rival GQ writer Chris Heath while reporting on his Zanesville Zoo story. Here is that portion of the interview. If you want to read the full interview, it was published here on Feb. 7, 2012. You can read Jones's story HERE. You can read Heath's story HERE. And you can read an excellent third version of the story by Cincinnati Magazine writer Jonah Ogles HERE.
Yeah, so, this is funny. So, I drive down to Zanesville. My first interview is with Sheriff Lutz at one o’clock on a Monday afternoon. We talk for almost two hours, and I’m getting really excited about the story. I know I have one on the line, you know? So I said something like, “You know, it’d be awesome if you didn’t talk to anyone else about this.” And the sheriff said he had one more interview to do at three o’clock, and then he was done. I jokingly said, “So long as it isn’t GQ.” And he just kind of had a look on his face. I said, “Wait. Is it GQ?” And he said it was. I just about shit. I asked him four times if he was joking. What are the odds?
So, it’s almost three o’clock. I hustle down some back stairs.
Stories' Stories: Chris Jones of Esquire on His Zanesville Zoo Massacre Story 'Animals,' 'The Most Dramatic Story Of The Year'
Maybe it's because I just had a Red Bull, but I'm way too excited right now. Esquire's Chris Jones stopped by the blog to give us an unreal behind-the-scenes look at his story "Animals," which comes out in the March 2012 issue of Esquire. It takes you inside last year's unbelievable Zanesville Zoo massacre, when Terry Thompson released more than 50 of his wild, exotic animals before killing himself. The story, billed by Esquire as "the most dramatic story of the year," went up on Esquire.com yesterday. It's long and it is terrifying and it is amazing. Sort of like this interview, only minus the terrifying part. I think.
Jones fills us in on how he went about reporting and writing the piece, who he talked to and why, why he likes to drive eight hours to report a story rather than fly, what he drinks way too much of while he writes, and he tells us all about duking it out with rival writer Chris Heath of GQ, who, unbelievably, was in Zanesville at exactly the same time as Jones.
Odds are you know Chris Jones. Or at least a Chris Jones. If you're a writer, especially a journalist, you probably know this Chris Jones, the two-time National Magazine Award-winning writer-at-large for Esquire and, recently, the back-page columnist for ESPN The Magazine. I've been following Chris for years. Honestly, it was his writing that what showed me what one can do with journalism. Few writers have made an impression on me like him.
Just because I love you all so much, I've gotten my three-year-old niece, whom I am babysitting right now, rotting her brain out in front of the TV just so I can work on getting this up. (Oh relax, she's just watching Tangled. Actually, wait, nope, now she's throwing her socks at me.)
Like with previous interviewees Tommy Tomlinson and Tom Lake, I emailed Chris a list of questions, which I like to do because, as I've said before, it lets writers do what they do best, which is write. And man, did Chris write. This thing runs a good 4,500 words. If you get a chance, give Chris a thank-you in the comments, or you can hit him up on Twitter, where he is @MySecondEmpire.
And now, the interview. If you haven't read the story yet, you might want to do that first.