June 23, 2024

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A Reporter Whose Beat Blends Sports and Culture

2 min read

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

When Emmanuel Morgan was hired as a sports reporter covering the N.F.L. and combat sports for The New York Times in 2021, the job felt familiar. After all, Mr. Morgan, who grew up playing football, had been writing about the sport since high school. He went on to cover the N.F.L. for The Los Angeles Times for nearly two years.

“I knew the N.F.L. and the U.F.C. and all these other sports so well,” said Mr. Morgan, 27, who also covered high school sports and basketball for The Los Angeles Times, including helping report on the death of Kobe Bryant in 2020.

So when The Times disbanded its Sports department last year, he took the opportunity to stretch himself and pitch a new beat: the intersection of sports and pop culture.

“I’m not a movie critic or a Broadway-goer, but I follow pop culture, I watch Netflix and I listen to music constantly — in the shower every day, on the subway,” he said. “I had my pulse on it.” Over the past eight months, Mr. Morgan, now on the Culture desk, has written about the pop culture phenomenon of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, the growing relationship between the N.F.L. and streaming services and the rise of athlete podcasts.

In an interview, he discussed how his daily news consumption has changed and what his favorite reporting experience so far has been. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

You’ve been in the role for a little over eight months now. How is it going so far?

I have definitely had to be a lot more creative when it comes to finding story ideas. When I was with the Sports desk, I knew the N.F.L. and the U.F.C. so well — covering sports is very formulaic. You know you have to have previews for big events like the Super Bowl and the N.F.L. draft, and as the season goes on the major story lines and the targets for profiles and features become pretty clear. But with this new…

Sarah Bahr

2024-06-04 03:00:07

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