Rob Abbott, 41 of Alexandria, V.A. and Todd Davis, 39 of Greensboro N.C. aren’t your typical journalists. They both graduated from James Madison University, Rob graduated in 1997, with a degree in Computer Information Systems, and Todd graduated in 1999, with a degree in English. Not having a degree in journalism didn’t stop these two friends from doing what they love most, James Madison University Sports.
Before writing for the JMU Sports Blog, Rob and Todd began writing guest posts for their friend about JMU Sports on a Washington DC Sports Blog, MisterIrrelevant.com, and that same friend was the one who encouraged them to start their own JMU Blog.
In 2011, they began focusing on what they loved most, James Madison University Sports. Aside from being passionate JMU sorts fans, the guy’s wanted their blog to be a single place where they could discuss JMU sport’s, and communicate with other JMU fans. Even after creating the JMU Sports blog, they didn’t completely take away the MisterIrrelevant.com audience.
When the blog started it revolved heavily around the message board, but Rob and Todd didn’t really prefer that because of its limitations. Both guy’s wanted their blog to be different and were willing to take a risk. They took that leap of faith and succeeded making their dream a reality.
In an interview, I asked Rob and Todd what was the most interesting or exciting aspect of running this blog. “It’s pretty fun when things start to take off and one of our posts gets a ton of views. And we’ve had the good fortune to have some of our posts linked by big outlets such as the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. The most exciting part is when we get to meet readers in real life though. We’ve been surprised when folks come up to us at tailgates, boosters’ events, or at games and introduce themselves as fans of the blog. It’s pretty flattering and always makes us feel good to know that folks actually enjoy what we do,” stated Rob, and Todd.
They both agreed that writing the blog consumes a tremendous amount of their time, which can be difficult depending on the season. The summers are normally the most difficult as JMU is not a predominant sports college, and filling content over the course of a year can be challenging at best. Even with the ups and downs of the seasons they aren’t afraid to take a hiatus from the blog because they have become known as “the voice of the fan.” While there is great effort to keep up with the blog it is enjoyable work and they have been successful without the assistance from the players or coaches.
Rob and Todd both agree that traditional journalism is still required to enhance the blog, and believe their blog is just additional information added to traditional journalism. Fans can read other fan’s input and find out what’s happening in an entertaining way while continuously entertaining Rob and Todd.
Rob and Todd left me with some advice to share with my readers who might be interested in starting their own blog. They advise bloggers to read “great and not so great” writers. Write like yourself and not like anyone else, be true to yourself and what you feel you want to convey to the audience, and know that attracting an audience is difficult, but to never give up. It will take time, but you can do it!