In Depth

Q&A: NSSA Executive Director Dave Goren

Dave Goren, executive director of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, was born in Taunton, Mass., and graduated from the SI Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. Goren did play-by-play for the Orangemen football and basketball teams along with covering the Syracuse Chiefs Triple-A baseball team.

Goren also worked for WJAR-TV in Providence, R.I., and WCVB-TV in Boston before heading to WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, N.C. Goren was named North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year by the NSSA in 2008. He recently spoke with NewsPro correspondent Jarre Fees.

NewsPro: In light of the economic downturn and decimation of the publishing industry, what’s the state of the NSSA right now?

Dave Goren: In flux. Things are constantly changing. If we see an effect in membership it will be on down the road, as people who are longtime members retire.

The challenge is in getting younger sports journalists. What happens to them once they get out of college? Will they be able to get work? Will we have as big a pool to pick from in the future? We haven’t fully exploited the people who are already working, so we also have to get more of those fish on the hook.

NewsPro: How do you educate the general public about the NSSA?

Goren: We actually threw together a roundtable discussion on three weeks’ notice with Marty Brennaman, play-by-play man for the Cincinnati Reds, when he was coming through town last year.

We got Mick Mickson, color commentator for the Carolina Panthers; Stan Cotten, the sportscaster for Wake Forest; a local radio guy, Howard Platt; and some other local sports people. We got up on stage at Salisbury High School and I threw out a few questions and the sportscasters told stories and talked about some issues. That was just thrown together, but it worked.

We’d like to go into different cities and do sports summits — start with a media roundtable discussion on various issues in sports and sports journalism, with a panel of athletes, coaches, journalists and front-office people. We could have those televised, maybe on local public television, and that night have a dinner in conjunction with local VIPs to present a scholarship and local media-recognition award.

We’re also having some of our members go in and talk to local schools and organizations, and we’d like to do more of that.

NewsPro: Where do you see the NSSA in five years?

Goren: In five years’ time if we don’t have a Hall of Fame Museum we’ll be close to it. Membership will be at least doubled. I’d like to say that we’ll be thriving.

NewsPro: How does the NSSA recruit new members?

Goren: We have interns developing e-mail blast lists and posting on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I’m trying to contact as many people in the business as I can and gently twist their arms. It’s hard to convince people when they haven’t seen us in action.

My philosophy is we can do so much more to help ourselves as an organization and help each other as well. The term is overused, but everything we do should be win-win.

NewsPro: How do the challenges for the NSSA reflect the broader issues of the population in general?

Goren: We need more members who are women, and we need more people of color. Part of our challenge is to become as diverse as the sports media population.

When you look at every TV station you see one white face and one face of color. What would be wrong with having two brown faces? We have to try and reflect the community, maybe get out of our comfort zone.