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  1. 1. Mike Stephenson (727) 422-4714 A MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY: 1 BIG PROJECT   Whether it’s planning and executing a client’s big event, compiling an annual donor guide or moving to a new office, projects require ideas, organization and leadership. Here’s one example of a project I managed that demonstrates all of those skills: The goal To provide outstanding coverage leading up to the 2015 NFL draft where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have the No. 1 overall selection for the first time since 1987. Strategy, tactics and execution I have vast experience planning special sections and coverage of events for the Tampa Bay Times​ , including NCAA tournaments, college football national championships, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup playoffs and the annual Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IndyCar race. Upon becoming interim sports editor at the ​Times​ at the start of 2015, I was confronted with something I hadn’t encountered before. The Bucs had the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and interest was especially intense because they were considering controversial Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. I developed an extensive plan, spanning both print and digital coverage, and worked with my team and other departments to execute it. About three months before the draft, I led a meeting that included members from various newsroom departments as well as marketing, advertising and event planning staff where we discussed ideas. The playbook that resulted is very close to what we executed. Some highlights: ● I had a lead role in partnering with the local ABC television affiliate to produce a live stream NFL draft roundtable discussion that featured four Times writers and sports anchor Tom Korun. ● I kept the advertising staff apprised of our plans. It sold a sponsorship for our special NFL draft page on
  2. 2. ● I edited several draft-related stories for print and digital, including profiles of the two most likely picks, Winston and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota; an analysis of the booms and busts of first-round quarterbacks, a story on the time the Bucs blew it by picking Bo Jackson; an interview with their 1987 No. 1 pick, Vinny Testaverde; and a story on how athletes prepare for the draft at places such as IMG Academy in Bradenton. ● I originated the Winstota meter, a fun gauge of what the Bucs were likely to do with the pick that we used weekly in print and online to promote our draft web page. ● I initiated the idea of a BuzzFeed-style quiz about Winston and Mariota for the online draft page inspiring the web staff to execute it. Within two days, it had more than 2,100 page views. ● I also conceived of an online, shareable mock draft so people could make their picks on our website, collaborating with the web staff on its development. ● I worked with the photo staff to have them produce a series of videos on the draft and NFL free agency. By the time the draft came along, ​Times​ readers were well informed on the history and possibilities. Our draft-night plan went smoothly, and readers got a complete report on the Bucs top pick. The results Our draft coverage received thousands of page views to, considerable interest among our print readers and some revenue from the
  3. 3. sponsorship of the web page. Ideas such as the BuzzFeed-style quiz were incorporated into other events such as the Stanley Cup playoff coverage of the Lightning. My boss was pleased and gave me a performance bonus.