Over the last week, I conducted an interview with WEEI.com Celtics beat reporter Jessica Camerato. I had the opportunity to meet Jessica at the Blogs with Balls 1.0 conference in New York earlier this year and found her to be quite delightful.
She joined WEEI after covering the Celtics for Hoopsworld. Jessica is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association and was a part of the Red Sox Spanish Beisbol Network radio team. She is fluent is Spanish.
Here is our interview done via e-mail.
Fang’s Bites: What got you interested in covering sports and the NBA in general?
Jessica Camerato: Sports have been a major part of my life since I was in the fourth grade. I played basketball and softball, and grew up watching the Celtics on SportsChannel, the Braves on TBS, and the NCAA Tournament every March. I attended Quinnipiac University to pursue a career in television news, but my goals changed during an internship in the news department of FOX 25. That summer I got the opportunity to go on an assignment at the 2003 NBA Summer League at UMass Boston. It was the summer before LeBron James’ rookie year and Butch Stearns was chasing after him for an interview. As I ran across the court behind Butch, it hit me – my passion was for sports reporting, not news. (Five years later I told LeBron that story, too.) With a new goal in mind, I combined all of my skills and got my start in baseball as production assistant for the Spanish Beisbol Network in 2005. I was able to maximize both my knowledge of Spanish and sports to break into the industry.
FB: You went to Las Vegas earlier this summer to cover the NBA Summer League. What were your impressions of the Celtics and the other teams?
JC: The Celtics didn’t participate in the Las Vegas Summer League but I got to check out their competition from around the league there. It’s always hard to truly assess talent because many of these players do not end up on NBA squads. (Over the past three summers I have seen my fair share of flukes.) That being said, there was no question in evaluating Blake Griffin. He is a beast and is going to be a very exciting player to watch develop in this league.
FB: How do assess the Celtics’ offseason moves, i.e. signing Rasheed Wallace, Glenn Davis, losing Leon Powe?
JC: The additions of Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels have given the Celtics one of the deepest benches – if not the deepest – in the league. Both players give them options in multiple positions and offer Doc Rivers a several different rotations to utilize against varying match ups. The re-signing of Glen Davis adds a returning player who is familiar with the system, although it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to a reserve role after being given Kevin Garnett’s starting spot last season. As for Leon Powe, he is a valuable contributor when healthy. There is no questioning his hustle and dedication, but the Celtics did not want to take a risk when they have a small window of opportunity with the Big Three.
FB: Your prediction on where the Celtics will finish this year.
JC: The return of Kevin Garnett and the depth of their bench make the Celtics my pick for Eastern Conference champions (barring injuries, of course).
FB: Also, your NBA picks for the finals.
JC: There very well could be a Celtics/Lakers Finals in 2010. Health will play a big role in which team wins it all.
FB: How open have the Celtics been with the media? Do you think there’s room for improvement?
JC: The Celtics do a good job of juggling so many high profile players.
FB: You went to the Blogs with Balls conference in New York earlier this summer. What were your reasons for attending and what impressions did you take as you left?
JC: I am very interested in how social media is changing the landscape of the media. It was a great opportunity to hear how networks are being used to disseminate information and create communities of sports fans. As far as blogging goes, it was interesting to hear the motivations for the sites. Some are interested in posting hard-hitting, unbiased news while others write to provide the biased voice of a fan.
FB: You’ve joined WEEI with Rob Bradford, Joe Haggerty, Alex Speier, Mike Petraglia, et. al. Do you feel WEEI.com and the upcoming ESPN Boston site are the future for sports news and content in Boston?
JC: People want news as it breaks, and the power of the Internet allows for that.
FB: With the advent of ESPN Boston, the increase in content from NESN.com and the rumored Comcast SportsNet upgrade, how do you think WEEI will evolve to stay ahead of the competition?
JC: The landscape of the Boston media is changing and WEEI can make use of all of its resources to enhance its product. From the partnership with ESPN Radio to increased online video to producing quality content, WEEI has several tools in addition to the strength of its radio programming to help them succeed.
FB: I asked this of Kristine Leahy and I’ll ask you as well. Any secrets you can give on Rob Bradford?
JC: Rob is quietly and unassumingly one of the most talented writers I have met. That isn’t a secret when you read his work, but he doesn’t flaunt it in the clubhouse.
My thanks to Jessica for taking the time out of her busy schedule for doing the interview.