Q&A with Jeff Howe, Boston Herald Patriots beat reporter

Former NESN.com Patriots beat reporter Jeff Howe will begin his new job today as Patriots beat reporter for the Boston Herald. Howe replaces Ian Rapoport who took a position with NFL.com a few months ago. The famous “Rap Sheet” blog that Rapoport was most known for has now been named “The Blitz” where Howe and Herald Patriots reporter Karen Guregian will be posting on multiple times each day.

What has your professional career been like since graduating from UMass in 2006?

My career has been a constant learning experience. I worked at the Boston Metro from 2006-09, and I was also a stringer for the MetroWest Daily News for about six months from 2006-07. One of my favorite jobs ever was covering Hockey East for Inside College Hockey from 2005-10.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald

I did a little of everything at the Metro, as former sports editor Chris Price rounded me out with reporting, editing and design work. We launched Metro GameDay in 2007, which was a free publication that was distributed at every Red Sox home game, and I was the editor in charge. GameDay was successful, but Metro stopped publishing it after the World Series parade, so I was assigned to the Celtics beat. I can’t even begin to list all of the things I learned while covering the Celtics from 2007-09, and it was an experience that helped me grow a ton as a writer and reporter.

But I was looking for a fresh start in 2009, and I hooked on with NESN.com as the Patriots beat reporter. I had some limited experience covering the team for the Metro from 2006-08, but the workload really increased in 2009 and every year after that.

What has it been like being on the Patriots beat since 2006?

I’ve only been on the beat since 2009, but I covered about one practice per week from 2006-08. Chris Price showed me the ropes on how to handle myself in a professional environment, and he brought me along at a very appropriate pace, which is important for young reporters. There were also plenty of days when I’d cover practice in the morning and then work the MetroWest desk at night, and I saw Bert Breer routinely working 16-hour days. That work ethic rubbed off on me, and I got a great look at how to conduct business.I could turn this into a yearbook session and thank dozens of people for the ways they’ve helped me develop, but I’ll just say that everyone I’ve worked with — either alongside or in competition — has made me a better person and reporter. I’m always studying the different ways reporters do things, and I try to learn from it all. I officially joined the beat in 2009 with NESN.com. With limited experience at Gillette Stadium, I spent that first season trying to carve my own niche. I’ve always felt it was important to cover the team and the game the way it needs to be covered, and in addition to that, I’ve looked for ways to do it differently. That’s typically been my goal each day of each season.

Looking back, what was your time at NESN.com like?

I’m truly grateful for my time at NESN.com, and I thought we were a perfect match. I joined NESN.com as the site was in a redevelopment stage, so we had time to learn together. Like I said, I was looking for a fresh start, and NESN.com was looking for young writers. They had patience with me as I grew on the beat, but the expectations increased each year, as I was able to do more and NESN.com continued to expand. Really, it was the perfect opportunity for me because we were able to grow together, and that was important.I can’t thank them enough for taking a chance on me, both on NESN.com and NESN Daily. The Daily producers, photographers, production crew and on-air talent invested a lot of time to help me get comfortable on television, and I’ll be forever indebted to them. There’s so much talent with the Daily staff, and they’re great people, too.

What can people expect from your coverage with the Herald?

Expect that I’ll work hard every day to cover the team the way the readers want it to be covered. I put a lot of emphasis on strategy and X’s and O’s, and I also love to tell the players’ personal stories. In addition to that, I’ll always be looking to find new ways to cover the team because it’s important for us to differentiate our coverage. I also have a ton of fun with my job, and I hope that shows in my writing (I’m sure it does on Twitter). I’m really looking forward to starting a new blog with Karen Guregian and the rest of the staff, and you can expect a steady stream of information on a daily basis.

What is the one thing that people who don’t know you already should know?

It’s tough to pick one, so I’ll share a little more of my personal background. I was born and raised in Lowell, Mass., and I graduated from Lowell High, Middlesex Community College and UMass. I originally went to UNH as a business major, but I realized that wasn’t for me, which led to a new start at MCC. You know what’s a great source of motivation? Moving home and attending the community college that you’ve been able to see out of your bedroom window for 18 years. And I wouldn’t trade a single one of those experiences, because that’s how I developed my work ethic, which is important in every walk of life. I’ve also got a great family, and I married my wife in June 2011, so it’s been an awesome year.

  • latetodinner

    I wish Jeff the best of luck on the Pats beat.  I hope he follows the examples set by the likes of Mike Reiss, Karen G and Tom E Curran.  Let’s hope he does not get influenced by Ron Borges and those others still hanging around the Herald for a pay check.

    So a quick check of the Blitz blog has a nice piece up on James Ihedigbo and an unfunny and uninteresting introduction to the blog piece.  If I can give Jeff one important piece of advice it would be…don’t take yourself so seriously and make sure you can laugh a little at life’s daily foibles.

  • Mishnorv7

    I thought was okay from what I saw and read of him with NESN.com. The reason why I say okay is I guess I never saw enough of him but I bet the guy will be great.

  • bsmfan

    I hope Jeff Howe tunes in to Bruce’s site here for advice/criticism :)

    I’ll also echo the comments by Mishnorv7. I saw him on NESN a few times, read a few articles, and didn’t see enough to really say anything good or bad on it. I do hope a fellow Minuteman does well and uses the position, like Ian did, to do some great things, though.

    Also, a great article on NFL.com about the Welker situation by Bucky Brooks:

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8293c6f5/article/three-reasons-patriots-shouldnt-break-the-bank-for-wes-welker

  • Magento Development India

    Thank God,the Herald finally have someone to give us the news about the
    Pats.Ive been looking everywhere for Pats info and all I see is stuff
    about the Bruins and Celtics.

    • bsmfan

      Karen Guregian, a good reporter, is still there on the Pats beat.

  • Jackson

    One of the few media people around here without an agenda.  I’ve always enjoyed his work.

  • bsmfan

    Great read here from Pat Kirwan on what Hoodie is doing to defenses now because of his offense:

    (Bruce/Ryan: feel free to put this in the daily article/links)

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/19103779/got-a-big-nickel-youll-need-one-to-combat-hybrid-offenses-this-fall