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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
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
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.
● 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 tampabay.com.
● 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
● 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.
Our draft coverage received thousands of page views to tampabay.com,
considerable interest among our print readers and some revenue from the
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.