One Stony Brook School of Journalism alumni gets to straddle the world of journalism and public relations, all while getting an ice-level view of the New York Rangers.
Matt Calamia (‘10) is a writer and producer for New York Rangers’ websites. In that role, which he’s held for two years, he gets to produce original hockey content and write profiles on drafted players. He job also involves producing videos and photo galleries.
“We’re kind of in that gray area,” Calamia said. “We’re given freedom to tell the truth. It’s just, we have to choose our words smartly or else we’ll hear from our PR department.”
Social media is the primary way the New York Rangers communicate with their fanbase, Calamia said. The team’s website has essentially turned into a hosting page, where as Facebook and Twitter are “really like the driving force” behind the Rangers’ fan engagement strategy. The social media push is one Calamia said he’s seen other professional teams make
“We’ve learned that whatever you want people to read you have to do it through Facebook and Twitter.”
That’s not altogether different from journalism, where social media has turned into the way readers consume news and journalists break it. Calamia said from what he’s seen, that medium does have its challenges — particularly when journalists jump the gun on a story that may not quite be there and air something that’s wrong on Twitter.
“I think that’s slightly dangerous, for issues like that when traditionally you would talk to a source, do your research, talk to an editor,” Calamia said. “And now we’re seeing that happen quite a bit when guys are reporting stuff before they’re 100 percent sure. And I think that’s kind of dangerous.”
He added, “You have to make sure you have something down when you’re putting something out there”
Some of the job perks include covering one of the best teams in the National Hockey League, traveling to Toronto and Chicago to cover games, traveling in the team’s private jet and interfacing with some of the best athletes in the world.
Calamia has been a sports fan since high school. At Stony Brook School of Journalism, he said he remembers former Professor Wasim Ahmad’s class JRN 380 helped him learned how to produce video, and he said everyone there shaped him into the writer he is now.
There are days Calamia said he misses traditional journalism and getting to the bottom of a story. But for now, he’s enjoying his time with the New York Rangers.
“Every day my job is just to watch hockey,” he said. “It could be worse for sure. There’s long days and there’s definitely negatives as well. At the end of the day I’m very fortunate. It’s cool. It’s a good gig, I tell people.”
If you’d like to drop Calamia a line, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— By Rohma Abbas