On Tuesday, Dec. 6, I interviewed New York Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden. Barden, a Cal Poly alumnus, who was nice enough to talk to me over the phone — on his day off — for almost 30 minutes.
As a journalism major with a concentration in news editorial, this was one of the most meaningful interviews of my brief journalistic career. In conjunction to the fact that I want to be a sports reporter, I was pretty stoked.
We started off talking about athletes’ use and misuse of social media for another story I was working on. After that, we talked about a number of other topics for a profile story on him. Talking points included:
- His most recent game against the Green Bay Packers
- His career goals in the NFL
- Whether he thinks he is better suited to be a slot receiver or a wide out
- The competition for playing time between him, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham (all wide receivers for the Giants)
- His leg injury
- His coach, Tom Coughlin
- Being a professional athlete in New York City
- His typical work week
- Cal Poly’s impact on his career
My favorite part of the interview, however, was when I asked him what the difference was between playing football for Cal Poly and for the New York Giants.
“There is nothing better than having success in New York, if you’re able to control all the other stuff,” he said while laughing.
Although he would not go into the specifics of what “other stuff” meant, he was chuckling the whole time and said that there is no place he would rather be. I can only imagine how drastically his life has changed over the last three years.
Other than the interview itself, the most gratifying part about talking to Barden was scheduling the interview itself. To be honest, I was taking a shot in the dark, just hoping to hear back from someone. I found a website that listed the media contacts for every NFL team, and I stumbled across the e-mail address of Giants Vice President of Communications Pat Hanlon. I sent him an e-mail immediately and was pleased to see that he got back to me the same day. After initially contacting Hanlon on Dec. 1, I received an e-mail the next day from another contact, confirming an interview on Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m. EST.
What made me feel comfortable talking to Barden over the phone was the respect and professionalism I received from the New York Giants organization.
I advise all future reporters, Mustang Daily or not, to not to settle for the obvious source. Shoot for the moon and the worst thing that could happen is they do not get back to you. I wish I had not waited until finals week of my graduating quarter to get in touch with a professional athlete — it really was not that hard.