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UNCONFIRMED: Former Balt Sun columnist replaces LaCanfora


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Ten Questions With New WaPo Redskins Beat Reporter Rick Maese

By Jamie Mottram | July 1, 2009

Earlier this year, NFL Network reporter Adam Schefter left for ESPN. Taking his place at the NFL was Washington Post Redskins beat reporter Jason La Canfora. And taking La Canfora’s place at the Post is ex-Baltimore Sun sports columnist Rick Maese, who starts his new job later this month.


1. Welcome to D.C. Have you picked out a neighborhood yet?

We were walking around D.C. this weekend, checking out some neighborhoods, and I thought back to my first apartment. It was in Albuquerque, N.M. — where I was born and raised — and cost $380 a month for about 1,000 square feet. So ideally, we’d like to find something like that. In a good neighborhood, if possible. Fortunately, we don’t live too far away right now, so we can take our time a bit.

Supposedly, my predecessor in this gig drove something like 80 miles one-way to get to Redskins Park. Not sure I can do that. Right now we’re leaning toward the Hill. I heard Ashburn has a Ruby Tuesday, though, so we can’t rule it out entirely.

2. Before getting to the Post (and your predecessor), let’s look back to the Sun. You and David Steele were laid off via phone while covering an O’s game. Steele sounded off, but you’ve remained quiet. Care to comment?

Let me try. I’ve bit my tongue thus far, mostly because in those initial days, my emotions changed every 30 minutes or so. Looking back now, I’m still not especially bothered by the way it happened. No, it wasn’t cool, but there’s probably no perfect way to whack an employee. I didn’t need a hug or a pat on the back or a Baltimore Sun souvenir mug on my way out the door.

I’m a couple of months removed now and I mostly feel sadness. The Sun is important to Baltimore, and there’s still a lot of good people trying to do good work. To me, what’s happened there isn’t fair to these people who are on the ground — who are actually practicing journalism — and it’s not fair to the people of Baltimore who depend on the Sun in so many ways. So it’s sad to me. I sincerely hope the people steering the ship have a plan. In a perfect world, newspapers are run by journalists, not kamikaze pilots.

I guess that’s part of why I’m so excited to join the Post. It’s a newspaper still committed to journalism, to great work, great stories and great reporting. I mean, an NFL reporter left and they actually replaced him. They felt they owed it to their readers to replace him. I feel very fortunate for the way things have worked out.

3. You’re covering the Redskins alongside Jason Reid, Barry Svrluga, a stable of columnists and others. Could you describe the role and how you plan to attack it?

You know, that’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to. The way the Post has set up its Skins coverage, we’re a team of reporters. Plus, you got Steinberg on the blog, Cindy Boren on Twitter and Paul Tenorio and others helping in a thousand different ways. NFL fans in other cities would sacrifice a first born for coverage and resources like the Post is offering. So I’m excited about that.

We still have to work out the exact details. It will be a complicated juggling act, for sure. It’s not like Jason La Canfora left his Size 10s somewhere and I’m just slipping into his shoes and his role. I’ll have to build up a rolodex of my own, and there are plenty of things I can learn from Barry and Reid. But hopefully it won’t take long before we find some ways I can put my own fingerprints on the beat. Not sure what that means exactly, but I’m reading a lot of Sylvia Plath and watching some Japenese gameshows in search of fresh ideas.

jason-la-canfora.jpg4. The Skins didn’t much care for La Canfora, who they dubbed “The Sourcerer”. Did he pass on any words of advice?

Ooh, do we all get nicknames? Like professional wrestlers? Now I’m even more excited about starting.

No words of advice. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met Jason. I’d like to. I’ve read blog comments about Jason, and I peeked at a message board when his departure become public. So I know the feelings some fans out there have for him. I couldn’t feel more removed from that, though. Every relationship I’ll have on the beat — from ownership to the PR staff to the locker room and coaching staff — will be a fresh one.

5. La Canfora spun this job into a lucrative on-air gig with NFL Network. What would be your ideal post-Post career move?

After a humbling couple of months, I’m trying to be careful about looking too far ahead. I’ll definitely approach this job appreciating every single day. Readers deserve that, and so does the Post, obviously. But I do take some comfort knowing that there will be a future to speak of. I think the Post will emerge from this current dismal climate on pretty good standing.


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