Sports Talk

My blog has been scooped by my dad’s family Christmas letter, which reports that I recently started working at FOXSports.com. It reads:

This year our family established an outpost in California! Shelley’s husband Kenley moved to Los Angeles last December to start work at FoxSports.com, and Shelley joined him in January. They made an epic cross-country trek in a Toyota full of clothes, supplies, two cats, and a large, sick dog.

After settling into an apartment in the Culver City area, they have had a great time sampling all Southern California has to offer, especially in the gastronomical category. You can keep up with their goings-on by checking Shelley’s delightful blog, Shellevation (subtitle: “Where Southern charm and SoCal cool meet”). Go to http://www.shellevation.wordpress.com; click on the “subscribe” button to get email notifications of new posts.

Kenley has been able to continue his musical pursuits; he has scored several gigs at watering holes in the area. And Shelley recently was hired at FoxSports.com as well; we are delighted that she is back in journalism.

Some of you already know that I’ve been working part-time at FOXSports.com for the past two months. I’ve been copy-editing there for 30 hours a week since the end of October.

I am also still working part time at the LOFT retail store in Marina Del Rey because I enjoy it, and the discount I get as an employee is probably just as valuable as extra income (Kenley says that point is debatable).

While searching for jobs in L.A., I quickly learned that, like anywhere else, it’s all about who you know. So I reached out to Kenley’s boss, Steve Miller, to see whether he knew of any opportunities.

Kenley and I worked with Steve at The State newspaper in 2003 and 2004 when he was a page designer and editor. He’s now the managing editor and a vice president at FOXSports.com. So he could vouch that I am a hard-worker and that I don’t hide a secret desire to become a movie star in L.A.

Steve said FOXSports.com needed some part-time copy editors, especially during the busy fall sports season with college and professional football, plus the end of baseball season. He asked whether I was interested.

Kenley and I discussed the pros and cons of working together again. I thought we made a good team when we worked as assistant editors on the metro desk of The State newspaper.

I’ve always considered myself a sports fan, and I have experience covering sports as a journalist.

I wrote several sports features while at The Associated Press in Atlanta, including covering a Georgia football news conference; the controversial use of female college students in the recruitment of high school football players; and fan reaction to the Falcons’ run to Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999.

As a good Southern girl, sports are in my blood. My dad was a sports reporter at The State newspaper before he graduated from law school. He and my mom started taking me to home Clemson football games as soon as I could walk, and I remain a passionate football fan. I attended every home football and basketball game as a member of the dance team at Irmo High School.

Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been to a Dodgers game and a Clippers game, and I recently woke up early so I could try to purchase Clippers tickets the second they went on sale to the general public. The team is expected to do very well this year. (Tickets to games against the Lakers, the Heat, the Mavericks and the Celtics were already sold out, so we had to settle for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant.)

In the end, Kenley and I decided the opportunity would allow me to continue working in journalism for a national website with several million visitors a day. Hopefully, it will open the doors to full-time opportunity with FOXSports.com or another division of FOX, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

The FOXSports.com offices are in Playa Vista, a planned community south of Marina Del Rey and north of LAX, on property where Howard Hughes built his Hercules (nicknamed the Spruce Goose) transport aircraft in the 1940s. The hangar is still there and is used as a movie sound stage, including for “Titanic” and “Avatar.” You can read more about the development in a Los Angeles Times article here.

The opening to our floor boasts artificial turf, several ping-pong tables and a foosball table, and a large picture of Cleatus the robot, the mascot of “FOX NFL Sunday.” You can follow Cleatus on Twitter here.

An online news video segment called Flash is shot in our offices. It’s usually posted on the home page of the website, and if you look hard, you might be able to see the back of our heads in the background. Below, Kenley and I pose at the Flash desk. (You might have seen this photo on our Christmas card.)

Actor-comedian Tom Arnold recently spent two days in the office, shooting a pilot for a new sports sitcom called “Here’s the Pitch.”

My job isn’t quite that sexy. Copy editors read stories from various regional partners, such as FOX Sports Carolinas and FOX Sports South, and sometimes link to the stories from the national website. We also handle stories from national writers, including Jason Whitlock, Ken Rosenthal and Mark Kriegel. The copy desk is also responsible for packaging the stories with art and writing headlines that will make you, the reader, want to click on them. FOXSports.com provides the sports content for MSN, so it’s also our job to pitch the best sports stories of the day to them.

I’ve learned that you can be credited for half a sack, and that basketball player Nene doesn’t have a last name. I am on a last-name basis with slugger (Albert) Pujols,  pitcher (Yu) Darvish, lobber (Chris) Paul and QB (Andrew) Luck. I read with horror the grand jury indictment against Jerry Sandusky. I know that dating a Kardashan improves your stats if you’re a professional basketball player. I was one of the 5.7 million people who watched the first UFC on FOX fight. The rules of hockey still confuse me. I now follow @WhitlockJason on Twitter. I also follow his alter-ego, @TwhitlockJason. I am pulling for Tim Tebow and was happy to learn that “Tebowing” has officially entered the English language (Check out FOX’s Tebowmania page here).

Earlier this month, powerful Santa Ana winds knocked the power out at our building, so Kenley and I had to battle the darkened streets to get back home and work from our apartment. There, it was the cats who disrupted our work. You can read the Los Angeles Times article about the Santa Ana windstorm here.

Most of all, I’m happy to be back in a newsroom. Here are examples of some of the work I’ve done so far. Click on the photo to read the full story. (All content is property of FOXSports.com. All rights reserved.)

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7 thoughts on “Sports Talk

  1. Congrats Shelley! Great headlines and you’ll add a worthy new dimension to the sports desk. Astroturf in the office must be cool…..

  2. Thanks, Shelley, for keeping us informed. I am delighted to gain some insight as to the work that my children do at Fox Sports, and I especially enjoyed reading your samples. I am so proud of you and Kenley and count myself truly blessed to call y’all mine.

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