Jason La Canfora is the lead reporter for the NFL Network and NFL.com and his phone never stops buzzing. He even admitted that during our conversation, he was talking and texting at the same time. Take his answers to some of my questions with that in mind.
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We taped this conversation earlier this week and since our chat, it feels like at least a dozen huge stories in the NFL were broken. That's the nature of the job this time of year, and La Canfora really, genuinely seems to love it.
Is this the busiest time for an NFL reporter, with the playoffs in full swing and coaches and GMs for non-playoff teams being hired and fired every day? We compare this month to the time leading up to the draft and the start of free agency, all of which lead to not a lot of sleep as he – and countless other NFL reporters – spend time tracking down every possible rumor.
That leads into a lot of our conversation – how does he know who to trust? There are a lot of rumors put out through the media, so how does La Canfora, or any NFL reporter, know when a story is actually breaking and when a coach or executive is floating a rumor through him for the sake of misdirection or confusion?
In other words, does he know when he's getting played?
We talk about the percentage of information La Canfora hears compared to what's actually reportable. He relays an interesting story about a rumor regarding the Philadelphia Eagles potentially parting ways with Joe Banner, something he explains was a hot rumor going on at the same time the public (read: Twitter) was speculating about Andy Reid, not Banner.
We talk about La Canfora's transition from a local guy at the Washington Post to working at the NFL Network and whether working for the league has made it easier or harder to get stories from coaches and players.
We discuss Twitter and how that's changed the industry, especially for a reporter who breaks news for a living. At newspapers a decade ago, a scoop meant you had a story a full day before anyone else. Even when blogs and website became the first line of breaking news, reporters would get a few hours of lead time on a story to consider it a "scoop."
Now, with Twitter, we're giving people credit for scoops for getting a tweet out first by a matter of seconds, not taking into account someone may be filing their story to a website or doing TV or simply type slower than others. We use an old-school mentality for crediting scoops in an every-second-counts age of media. Is that fair to the news breakers? Is it fair to anyone in the industry?
We talk a lot about the Super Bowl, trying to figure out which storylines will get the most coverage (and become he most annoying to cover). He and I both think the Harbaugh reunion is a really neat potential story, because when it comes down to it, doesn't everyone want to beat the crap out of their brother?
It's a pretty honest look into the job of an NFL reporter who works for the league he covers. Oh, and I couldn't let him go without some real tough questions, including how badly he wants to throw Jay Glazer in a pool.
Come on…we all want to throw Glazer into a pool, right?