For this week’s Meet the Media, we’d like you to meet Tim Booth, Seattle-based sports writer for the Associated Press.
- How did you find yourself as Seattle’s AP sports writer?
I started with the AP in 2004 as an editorial assistant, doing basic office work and writing on occasion. I equated it to doing what a summer intern would do, but it was a full-time gig with benefits. My break came in 2005 when I took over covering the SuperSonics, UW football and Boise State football on a more permanent basis. Because of those experiences, my responsibilities increased in the years that followed. In 2009, I was promoted to a full-time sports writer and when we had a staff reduction in 2010 to have only one full-time AP sports writer in Seattle I took over covering everything.
2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?
There have been so many stories overall it’s hard to keep track. I did a lot of stories around youth concussion prevention back in the late 2000s that I feel were really impactful. Covering the arena situation here in the years after the Sonics left has been a never-ending process, with hopefully some resolution and solution coming in the next couple of years. And last year I did a story on Amanda Hopkins, the only full-time female scout in baseball that got a lot of great attention. I feel like I’ve done good journalism overall. It’s hard to quantify what that means, but I think I do my job fairly and to a high standard.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
It’s never the same. Very rarely is one day exactly the same as the day before. One day it could be filled with Seahawks news, the next Mariners, the next UW football, the next Sounders, the next arena, the next something I couldn’t expect. Sometimes it all comes in one day. I say that in my position you have to know a little bit about a lot of things, rather than a lot about a few things. So it means I have to be up-to-date on the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, Storm, UW sports, WSU sports, Gonzaga basketball, sometimes even high school sports. I think it makes me a well-rounded sports journalist, but it’s also always busy.
4. What is your interview style?
I try to listen. I very rarely go into an interview with pre-written questions. Sometimes I will, but usually I’ll have one or two topics in mind I want to address and then I see where the conversation goes. I think that’s one thing young journalists struggle with is the idea they have to know what all their questions are when they arrive for an interview. I think it’s better to be a great listener and to pay attention for those little nuggets of info that might come up in an answer, and then follow up on those to gather more information. Sometimes just by listening is where the best stories come from.
5. What do you look for in a story?
I take a little different view because I’m writing from the standpoint of what is important and of interest to someone who is not in this market. Why should someone in New York or Miami or London or Tokyo care about this story I’m writing that has to do with Seattle? So I take a very broad approach in how I look at stories and what will be of interest. Ultimately, great human interest stories play anywhere and everywhere.
6. What is your day like at your job?
Busy. It all depends on if there is a game going on that I am covering. AP’s agreement with our members means we agree to cover all NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, major college football and basketball. So if I’m covering the game, anything I do is based around that. Fortunately, I have a great team of freelance writers who help me so I don’t have to cover EVERY game myself. But a lot of days I’m at the Seahawks facility, or UW, or Safeco, or Starfire or some combo of all of that. Sometimes I get days where I can work just from home and those are great.
7. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
I look up to great reporters, who can also write. We are fortunate to have some fantastic ones here in Seattle. Larry Stone and current Washington Post columnist Jerry Brewer are fantastic. Ryan Divish is maybe the best baseball reporter on the West Coast and same for Matt Pentz with soccer. Jayson Jenks is absurdly talented for being like 27 years old. (These guys are all friends too, and no they didn’t pay me). Nationally, I love reading Wright Thompson, Seth Wickersham, Bruce Arthur, and Janie McCauley to name a few.
8. What is your favorite news outlet?
AP, of course.
9. Fill in the blank:
- If I am not reporting, I am… Probably at one of my kid’s events or just spending time with my family. I try to cherish those opportunities because I am so busy.
- If I could interview anyone, it would be… Gah, good question. I know I’ll think about this later and come up with a different answer. I think LeBron James has become a fascinating athlete and personality. Paul Allen ranks pretty high on the list.
- My favorite thing about Seattle is…It’s home. There’s a lot that drives me nuts about the Seattle area, but every time I leave and come back, I start to appreciate being here more. I grew up in Ellensburg and I always loved coming over the pass to visit Seattle. Now I get to call this place home with a great group of friends and family, and a great job that always keeps me busy.
10. What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure but I’m a big Pearl Jam fan as anyone who follows me on Twitter probably knows. A couple of years ago I flew to Chicago on a Monday morning, went to their concert at Wrigley Field, slept at my buddy’s apartment for 30 minutes, went to O’Hare, flew back to Seattle, landed at 9:30 a.m. and went to work. I also waited in line for six hours in New York once and got one of the final few tickets put up for sale. I’m a little obsessed.
Check out our last Meet the Media where we spotlighted David Gottlieb, an associate reporter covering the Mariners for MLB.com.
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