Green Bay editor finds his passion in sports writing, editing
By John Howell
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Mike Vandermause is both a sports editor and columnist at the Green Bay Press Gazette.
And he couldn’t be happier.
Vandermause started his journalism career as a news reporter but found his passion in sports.
“I started as a news reporter and helped the sports editor on Friday nights,” he said. “Six months later I started editing for the Portage Daily Register in Madison, then worked for Oshkosh Northwestern, then became assistant sports editor for the Milwaukee Sentinel and eventually became a sports editor at the Green Bay Press Gazette.” He’s had that role since September 2003.
It didn’t take Vandermause long to realize that being a sports editor would be perfect for him. Being a reporter is hard work but to being able to cover games is more of a joy than anything else. And as an editor, he has more control over what he’s writing too.
The unusual combination of sports editor and columnist means he is busy every day. But what he does depends on the season too.
“There’s not such a thing as an average day,” Vandermause said. “I cover the Packers for home and away games because of my columnist roles, which is unique because most editors are not columnists. I also work with the other sports editors. The work done depends on the time of year. During Packers season, that’s the primary focus, but there are other days where I see other sports beyond the Packers. I write two columns a week outside of Packers season and three columns during the season. Majority of my time is spent working with reporters and editing.”
His favorite part of the job is covering the Packers. “The NFL is the most popular sport in America,” he said, “so to have one of 32 teams in our city is a big deal. Being a part of that coverage is the highlight for me.”
Like everyone else, Vandermause faces challenges. The biggest is balancing his columnist duties with his sports editing responsibilities.
But with years of experience behind him, he can offer advice to students just beginning journalism careers.
“Get as much practical experience as you can,” Vandermause said. “You get the most working for media outlets such as newspapers and radio.
“The sports landscape has changed over the years. With Twitter, blogging, and video, there has become quite of an array of a lot of different things. Get up to speed with different multimedia accounts,” he said. “Getting involved in as many of those things as you can would give you a wide array of experience.
“The other thing I would have to say is start small and do everything. Don’t be afraid to do anything you are asked. Do whatever it takes to advance. Worry about your present job and do the best you can, and then opportunities of advancement would come. Losing focus on your current job will hold you back.”