Media Monday: Jonathan Hawthorne

Amanda Moss / September 18, 2017

For this week’s Media Monday, get to know Jonathan Hawthorne, reporter at

1. How did you find yourself as a reporter for

It was a natural evolution for me. I wrote about the women’s basketball team at the University of Oregon for four consecutive years. That’s how I learned many of the skills I use every day while on the clock for Beat reporting demands a special type of dedication and creativity. Because you’re covering the same people and team game after game, you have to find new trends to highlight — even as the results appear to remain the same. That daily interaction is also beneficial, helping to earn trust of media relations staffers and players.

2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?

Earlier this year, I contributed a piece for espnW about an Oregon softball player and her mother, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch amid a breast cancer battle before the Strike Out Cancer game. The piece received such a positive response online, from the family to the team. It was a special moment for Gwen and her mom, Holly. I filed the copy some 30 minutes after the game ended, so I had to push myself to turn it around on a tight deadline.

  1. What is your favorite thing about your job?

The best days I’ve had at the ballpark usually involve some type of milestone — players getting a promotion to the Majors or something of that nature. In those moments after the game, their reaction is always genuine and filled with emotion. That makes finding interesting quotes a breeze.

  1. What is your interview style?

It definitely changes based on the environment or access, but I aim for a conversational approach. Obviously, when talking to an athlete in a group setting, this method becomes more difficult. But with many phone interviews, I find giving the interviewee the space to share what’s on his or her mind works best. Follow up questions are key.

  1. What do you look for in a story?

I’m always interested in learning about how people ascended the ranks to whatever success they may be enjoying today. In a way, it’s a blueprint for us all.

  1. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?

ESPN/espnW’s Kate Fagan. She recently released a book titled What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen. It’s about a student-athlete from the University of Pennsylvania who committed suicide. Kate does an incredible job weaving in anecdotes and information to paint a picture of Maddy’s life. Beyond the book, her writing and studio appearances are always filled with analysis — not to mention an eye towards the undercovered sports.

  1. What is a day like at your job?

At the ballpark, my schedule is pretty predictable. I get to AT&T Park early enough for the hour of media availability in the clubhouse — typically 3 1/2 hours before first pitch. Then we talk to the team’s manager. It doesn’t matter if I’m working on a short feature or something more news-oriented, I have to write quickly and file before the game to my editor. During the game, I write a quick version of the game story to have ready at the game’s conclusion. That process is most stressful during a walk-off win or if a team makes a late comeback. I weave in quotes after the game — along with the visiting team’s reporter — and then work on a sidebar story that’s more nuanced on a specific player or pitcher.

  1. What is your favorite news outlet?

The New York Times. From politics to opinion to sports, their coverage is always dynamic. I especially love how they cover sports. They have a knack for finding interesting big-picture topics.

  1. Fill in the blank:
    • If I am not reporting, I am… probably on the hunt for the perfect cappuccino. 
    • If I could interview anyone, it would be… Elon Musk. I’m so fascinated by how transportation is changing in the United States. He’s definitely a key player in that world. 
  1. What is your guilty pleasure?

Definitely fresh chocolate chip cookies.