Interview: Mike Vaccaro

Mike Vaccaro, who has been writing for the New York Post since 2002, says the evolution of sports journalism due to the growth of new media is good for the newspaper industry.

Mike Vaccaro, who has been writing for the New York Post since 2002, says the evolution of sports journalism due to the growth of new media is good for the newspaper industry.

His book, "1941 - The Greatest Year in Sports" was released earlier this month and he recently spoke to PRWeek from Fenway Park in Boston, about people's preconceived notions about the Post, PR pros, and, of course, Barry Bonds.

PRWeek: How do you deal with people's reputation of the Post?

Vaccaro:
It's a great week to ask that question because of the A-Rod stuff from earlier in the week. (The Post ran photos of Alex Rodriguez entering a hotel in Toronto with a woman that wasn't his wife, under the headline "Stray-Rod")

[The preconceived notion] still comes into play with some people, though in New York, people are less put off by who we are, and what we do.

PRWeek: What's your opinion of the sports media landscape?

Vaccaro:
[The competition] makes newspapers better. We have to embrace the idea that we have to be better than we were 10 years ago and different than we were five years ago. I hate to use the term ‘think outside the box,' but we're forced to do that everyday, because if we don't we are going to die on the vine.

Thirty years ago if someone wanted to read about the New York Yankees, the only place they could do that was in a newspaper. Now there is a wealth of 24-hour talk radio, the Web, and new media.

PRWeek: Can you describe your experiences with PR people?

Vaccaro:
For the most part it's positive. The best PR people understand the job we're trying to do. One of the good things about being in New York is that PR people understand that what we do, even if it's not always 100% pristine, helps their product.

Alex Rodriguez being on the front of the paper [for alleged philandering] may not be the greatest PR maneuver, but you know what? All people have been talking about for two days is the Yankees, and that's good for business and they understand that.

They may not be able to say that on the record obviously, but [the relationship] is a lot less acrimonious in New York than it is in other places. In New York, they understand the coverage has an edge and it's just a matter of them working with us as opposed to trying to fight us.

PRWeek: What will happen when Bonds passes Aaron?

Vaccaro:
He'll be beloved in San Francisco and reviled everywhere else and that's how it should be. It'll be that way in San Francisco until he stops wearing that uniform.

PRWeek: Will Barry Bonds' breaking of the home run record turn into a PR nightmare for Commissioner Bud Selig?

Vaccaro:
Selig should be there. He was the commissioner when everyone was taking steroids and he has to answer for that as much as the players do. It's important that he shows his face. For him to hide sends a terrible message and paints a terrible picture of his leadership. It will be a real disservice to his legacy if he isn't there.

PRWeek: What's your opinion on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's recent punishments?

Vaccaro:
They were good. He said he was going to be a no nonsense commissioner and, to within reason, he has done exactly what he should have done. It will be very interesting to see how he handles the Michael Vick [Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, allegedly owned a house where dog fighting matches were taking place] situation now... and to see if Goodell has the goods to give him a lengthy suspension.

PRWeek: What sport is best at PR?

Vaccaro: Football without a doubt. Everything it does is presented through the prism of PR and they do a tremendous job presenting the product they want to present.

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