BOULDER — Former Rocky Mountain News writer B.G. Brooks has joined the University of Colorado athletic department as a contributing editor for CUBuffs.com, director Mike Bohn announced Thursday.
Brooks, 62, had covered the CU athletics scene since 1987, most notably football and men’s and women’s basketball. He wrote thousands of stories until the paper went out of business this past April, leaving over 200 employees scrambling for new employment. He has now found a home with the school he reported on for over two decades.
Bohn and sports information officials had discussed for some time the merits of bringing in an experienced and respected outside reporter to take the school’s website to another level. The addition of Brooks more than accomplishes that desire, while enhancing the website’s reputation and taking some of the load off SID personnel who often don’t have much time to tend to feature writing that Brooks has specialized in his entire career, which has spanned 39 years.
“We are fortunate to add someone with B.G.’s reputation and caliber to CUBuffs.com,” Bohn said. “This will continue our commitment to transparency and increase original content on our website to a previous unforeseen level.”
The veteran reporter will provide analytical game coverage and some commentary for football and basketball, and will write feature stories as well as working on special projects and series with a green light to be objective. By virtue of being the web site's first on-staff reporter, his access will expand, but it is important to note that access for media regularly covering the Buffs will be unchanged, with CU continuing to provide more access to its teams, student-athletes, coaches and administrators than most other schools.
B.G.’s first column will appear Friday, with his first assignment to cover CU’s Count Casotti Classic and annual Bohn summer media roundtable from Pelican Lakes Golf & Country Club in Windsor. He will also attend and cover the Big 12 Football Media Day when Colorado is featured, something SID personnel haven’t been able to do in the past due to their obligation of shuttling players and coaches to several interview stops at the event.
He began his career at the Memphis Commercial-Appeal upon graduating from the University of Memphis in 1970. He worked for both the Columbia Daily-Tribune and the Missourian while attending grad school at the University of Missouri before joining the Rocky Mountain News in 1978. His experience includes the full scope, from copy editing and beat reporting (of which he was twice honored as the state’s best in 2004 and 2005 by the Colorado AP editors) to time as a columnist as well as sports editor. This is technically his second go-round with the CU system, having served as a consultant and advisor for the The Advocate, the University of Colorado-Denver student newspaper.
He also has been a long time voter for many of college football’s top awards, including the Heisman Trophy, the Butkus Award and the Doak Walker Award, as well as being an Associated Press Top 25 voter from 1987-2007.
With the upcoming 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon, the hiring of Brooks to write for CUBuffs.com is not nearly as trailblazing, but close. He becomes the seventh full-time reporter with newspaper roots for a school or conference.
North Carolina State was the first to bring in a newspaper reporter, doing so in 2004 when it hired Tim Peeler from the Greensboro News & Record for GoPack.com; he is now the managing editor of the site. The Big 12 Conference hired Wendell Barnhouse, formerly of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in a similar capacity last summer, as did Baylor, which hired Jerry Hill from the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Last fall, Texas hired Natalie England from the San Antonio Express-News for TexasSports.com, while New Mexico brought in Richard Stevens of the defunct Albuquerque Tribune for GoLobos.com. MoiseKapenda Bower was recently named staff writer at Rice (RiceOwls.com), joining the school from the Houston Chronicle. All of the aforementioned are basically full-time positions, as is Brooks’ at CU. Part-timers include Al Featherston, who writes for GoDuke.com after a long stint at the Durham Herald-Sun, and John Katzowitz (from the defunct Cincinnati Post) has been blogging for the University of Cincinnati on a part-time basis since August 2008. Texas Tech is in the process of hiring someone for similar duties in the near future, Virginia is set to name Jeff White from the Richmond Times-Dispatch in a similar capacity, pending some final details and Arkansas State is experimenting on a limited basis this summer with a local writer from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to see if it is well received by their fan base.
Several schools have blogs or columns by SID’s and/or by one of their radio announcers. The two oldest that are still current are believed to be Plati-‘Tudes (debuted in 2000 by Dave Plati, Colorado) and Bill Little Commentary (dating back to 2001, Bill Little, Texas). Stanford hired a former sportswriter (Dave Kiefer, San Jose Mercury-News) as an assistant SID, with his responsibilities including serving as the main feature writer on GoStanford.com.
“We have prided ourselves on having areas on CUBuffs.com that are original, like ‘Tudes, CU Classic and all the great video pieces produced by BuffVision,” Plati said. “It is obvious fans can’t get enough news on their favorite teams, and adding a veteran writer like Butch to our staff will dramatically increase our content. We’re all very excited about this, and I think our fans will be, too.”