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June 21, 2023

Podcast: Alumni cover Spartan sports for Michigan’s leading newspapers

MSU alumni Chris Solari and Matt Charboneau cover Spartan sports for the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, respectively. They join MSU Today to talk about their backgrounds in journalism, why they chose MSU for college and how their time at MSU prepared them for their field.

They talk about the state and future of sports journalism and intercollegiate athletics and the challenges and opportunities ahead for both. And they preview the coming seasons for MSU football and men’s basketball.

Conversation Highlights:

(9:25) – “This place had the largest college newspaper in the country. That meant something. Being the editor in chief of the State News isn’t something a lot of people get to do. And at that level and in that time of my life and where the newspaper industry was, that meant a lot.”

(14:59) – “The bad thing about our job is that it takes the sports fan out of you.”

(17:43) – “You get more of a connection with the people as opposed to an institution or a team.”

(18:15) – “Being an alum and having come through and having the background the journalism program provided us make you want to be sure you’re doing things the right way. And you want your alma mater to be doing things the right way, and you sometimes want to hold them to a higher standard.”

(22:41) – “It has changed so dramatically or substantially in the sense that the idea of writing for tomorrow doesn’t exist anymore. Everything is immediate.”

(28:23) – “That was the moment I realized things had changed. We can now compete in the immediacy realm with television and radio, which we never could before that.”

(34:04) – “Journalism is not dying. It takes money to do good, deep investigative journalism. You either pay for journalism being an important part of society or you don’t. Someone must.”

(37:16) – “There’s so little regulation over what’s happening that you feel it can’t possibly keep going like this.”

(39:30) – “I think there’s a fatigue right now with the number of changes in such a short window of time that has really staggered the fan bases in a lot of schools and disillusioned them.”

(43:00) – “You cannot afford to not be working every single day. The toughest thing coaches are doing now is recruiting their own roster.”

(49:43) – “A school like Michigan State being ahead of it and trying to in some ways shape it is a good thing. But it’s hard to say how much that’s going to matter in two or three years with how wildly it has fluctuated now.”

(51:30) – “Until you can get a better idea of how much money is flowing and all the things that are lacking guard rails, I don’t know how you could say that Michigan State or any other school will be better or worse positioned.”

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