Q&A with Saints Alum and Dodgers Beat Reporter Blake HarrisBy Arroyo Seco Saints October 26, 2020 05:00pm
By Hannah Yoshinaga, Saints Reporter
Saints alum Blake Harris is in the middle of the action at the 2020 World Series, covering the
Los Angeles Dodgers as a beat reporter for True Blue LA, the Dodgers’ SB Nation affiliate.
After interning with the Saints as a reporter in 2017 and covering sports at his alma mater
Arizona State, Harris moved on to accept internships reporting on the Dodgers. Harris now
covers the Dodgers full-time for True Blue LA, which is a dream come true for the Los Angeles
native and lifelong Dodgers fan.
Although MLB’s strict health precautions have prevented him from being able to cover the
World Series in-person, Harris is still working behind the scenes to crank out content for the True
Blue LA community.
The Saints sat down with Harris to talk about his career as a sports journalist in Los Angeles and
about his experience covering the Dodgers’ latest postseason run.
Arroyo Seco: How did you get into sports journalism?
Blake Harris: “I applied to ASU for sports journalism. I got accepted into the Walter Cronkite
School of Journalism and I figured ‘OK, let me go check this place out,’ so my family, we took a
road trip down, took a tour of the school…so that’s how I got into sports journalism.”
“I just did that at ASU for four years, covered the baseball team there, the basketball team there,
the football team, kind of just getting my foot in the door; they have so many opportunities at
ASU. From my freshman year, I think they were able to get me countless opportunities.”
AS: How did interning with Arroyo Seco prepare you for a career in journalism?
BH: “…It was an absolute blast and had it not been for that, I wouldn’t have gotten to this point.
Every time someone asks me, ‘How did you get that?’ and I say it’s because of Arroyo Seco
because it’s tough, especially in the sports journalism world, getting jobs because you have to
have something on your resume and it’s tough to get something on your resume without having
anything. Arroyo Seco, they were the first ones to give me that opportunity, so I always look
back to that. Had it not been for Arroyo Seco, where would I have ended up? That was a pretty
ideal summer gig.”
AS: After graduating from college, how did you get a gig covering the Dodgers specifically?
BH: “I got an internship my junior year writing for Dodgers Nation and I did that for 4-5 months
as kind of like a summer internship, and right as that experience was closing in August, I noticed
that True Blue LA had an opening. I figured, OK, let me apply for this and after like two months
of not hearing anything, waiting, I got an email back saying, ‘Yeah we got your application,
we’re interested in bringing you on,.’ …We were covering the Dodgers, writing for the Dodgers,
and it was a whole lot of fun. I did that for a little over a year.”
“Last December, there was this law that was passed in California and it essentially impacted
Uber and Lyft drivers, but it also affected writers like myself. They were definitely getting
underpaid by getting only $600 a month for the work I was doing, and long story short, SB
Nation, they created California-specific jobs for the California sites to bring you on as full-time
employees. There’s 25 California sites, each one of had five to six writers on each site, so instead
of doing that, they brought on about 30 of us to cover those 25 sites. Essentially I’m covering the
Dodgers full-time, but I’m also covering the Clippers, the Angels, the Raiders, any other
California teams that need help.”
AS: What’s been your favorite experience covering the Dodgers?
BH: “I was there for the old-timers’ game where they brought all the old players and I was just
chilling on the field prior to the old-timers game going on. Tommy Lasorda, Fernando
Valenzuela, Steve Garvey, all these old Dodgers greats were hanging around the clubhouse and I
was just a few feet from them, kind of just eavesdropping on their conversations, hearing what
they were talking about. I definitely felt like I didn’t belong because there’s all these baseball
greats that are just hanging out on the field and I’m just chilling there next to them.”
AS: Has it been challenging to cover a team whose season almost always goes deep into the
postseason and gets a lot of attention, especially as a Dodgers fan?
BH: “It’s good and bad. It’s good as in it’s just giving you constant great coverage to write about
because especially for me, with not having anything else, I’m glad that, personally I just wish
they could win every game, but every time they lose, it’s kind of good because you can do
articles on why they lost the game, and those do really well, and you can keep pushing those as
the games go on. Of course the bad part is just for my sanity as a Dodgers fan, it’s absolutely
brutal, it’s absolutely heartbreaking, but again, since I am a Dodgers fan covering the Dodgers, it
is better because then I can do articles expressing my thoughts, which are the same thoughts as a
lot of other fans.”
AS: What makes covering sports on a blog site like SB Nation different than reporting as part of
a larger news organization?
BH: “I think [SB Nation] is better because I can be just 100% honest with my opinions; we don’t
really have filters on the site. You’re able to be more open and you’re able to kind of just talk
about your feelings more, which I think is a better platform. I think of SB Nation like podcasting.
Writing for the LA times is kind of like, you’re a news anchor, where you have to be so
professional, you have to follow certain guidelines, but for this, I can write about whatever I
want. There’s no topics that I’m assigned. If I want to write an article about how the umpires
blew a game, I can do that. SB Nation, that’s kind of their whole thing they wanted to be, where
you’re getting out the coverage, but they want it to be from your own voice, they want it to be
from your perspective.”
“I think that’s why people flock to SB Nation, because they know that the majority of the people
that are writing for those certain sites are fans of that team. You can tell some big-time writers,
they’re not necessarily a fan of the team, whereas [on True Blue LA], I’m passionate, these are
AS: How has covering the Dodgers gone so far this year?
BH: “It’s definitely more difficult because when you’re at the stadium, you still have the
and you can interview whoever you want. Now, you get your one or two players and that’s all
you get. It hasn’t been completely difficult, it hasn’t made things a lot worse, but definitely when
there’s certain things that happen in certain games, you’d like to talk to other players, get their
thoughts, but most of the time [this season], it was always just one or maybe two players
post-game. That was definitely the hardest part about it. Of course, having this all over Zoom, we
have internet problems, there’s things that go wrong. [It is] much easier having to be there in
person, but they’re able to make it work as best as they could this year. It was definitely
something that took some getting used to, and, hopefully, knock on wood, things can change for
next season and I don’t have to worry about doing Zoom five or six hours a day again.”
AS: How do you think these same issues will continue to impact the sports journalism industry
BH: “I think it’s going to slowly start getting better as time goes on, especially going into next
year, but it’s tough. Especially this year, I think being a sports journalist is probably the toughest
job out there, because not a lot of places are bringing in people and there was no sports to be
covered, so no one was hiring to begin with. I hope that next year, moving forward, things are
going to get better, things are going to open up, because I do think that of all the jobs out there,
especially if it’s something you’re really passionate about, it is completely, completely worth it.”
“I truly think that this is probably the best profession out there because you get to watch sports,
write about it, talk about it. Definitely the best profession out there that’s worth the wait.”
AS: What’s next in your journalism career?
BH: “That’s the tough part because had I been asked that a year ago, I would’ve said doing what
I’m doing now full-time and that ended up happening. I’m sure there’s going be other
opportunities that come, but it’s just what I have now, and once everything gets better, the fact
that I’ll be able to go to Dodger Stadium and cover the Dodgers, go to Staples Center to cover
the Clippers, I’m sure maybe one college football starts, I can cover USC, UCLA; with the NFL,
maybe I can cover the Rams and Chargers. Right now, especially maybe because I literally just
graduated college less than a year ago, it just seems like this is the perfect job. This is something
I can hold down for a long time. The best part is, it’s remote, so I don’t have to worry about
having to move anywhere. I can stay here, I lived in Los Angeles my whole life, I made sure I
stayed here in Los Angeles, I don’t wanna go anywhere.”
“I mean, ideally, I can have this job as long as possible. I think this, especially for right now, is
the most ideal thing I can ask for.”