When Chris Forsberg awakes nervously in the middle of the night, it isn’t because of a nightmare, or because his baby is crying, or because of a strange noise.

It’s because he’s gone more than an a few hours without a blog post.

“I wake up and I kind of have the shakes,” he jokes, “I haven’t blogged in an hour, I haven’t blogged in two hours.”

The ESPNBoston.com Celtics reporter’s half-anxiety is the kind of badge of honor commonly found adorning young journalists these days. Reporters like Forsberg, out there in the brave new media world, shaping the much-ballyhooed future of journalism, are expected to be in more places and produce more content than their traditional journalistic forefathers.

And he’s plenty comfortable with that. Whether it’s Twitter, or live chats, or even just good old fashioned blogging, Forsberg knows the only way to succeed in today’s media environment is to become immersed in any of the different platforms an audience may gather around.

“I don’t envision a scenario where you don’t wear multiple hats nowadays,” he says. “We’re all just doing everything. I guess the key is to embrace it all. You may not know what’s next but when it does come, be ready to adapt and use it.”

It’s the only way to stay competitive. For ESPN Boston, Forsberg tweets constantly, conducts live Celtics chats, blogs regularly, and, when the job finally gives him a moment to pause and take a breath, take an amateur photo or two to bolster his Twitter feed with 1,771 followers.


Chris Forsberg's Twitter account

Especially in a sports-crazed market like Boston, it’s the kind of lengths any reporter has to go to in order to stay relevant. Between the old guards like the Boston Herald and Forsberg’s former employer the Boston Globe, television stations like NESN, radio stations like WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and websites like ESPN Boston and Barstool Sports, there is perhaps no more media-saturated market in the country.

Forsberg came to ESPN Boston from the Globe about a year ago, where he had been serving as an online high school sports editor of sorts after moving up the ranks from when he held a part-time position while studying at Northeastern, posting video, managing blogs, and generally just acting as an internet jack-of-all-trades.

It was something that came to him from the start, said his former boss, Globe high school sports editor Bob Holmes.

“He was very good at utilizing all the tools that existed at the time,” he says. “I always said I loved having him cover things because even if he was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean he would find a way to send his stories in. I think he was the first of the college kids that had the simple attachment of the cell phone connection to the laptop when most of us didn’t know what wireless was.”

Forsberg embodies the modern journalist, plugged in and attuned to whatever new technological advancement will garner an audience next.

He represents where journalism is headed, utilizing social media, like Twitter, and the available technology to become more deeply involved with readers, and viewers, than the media has ever been able to in the past.

“It goes back to having an audience and being able to connect with people in a way that’s more than just writing a story,” he says. “You write a story, you put it out there, and you never really know if people are reading it or not. But with chat and blogging and social media you really get the feel. You see the same names coming back at you, you start seeing the same people in the chat rooms, hitting you up on Twitter, so you know there’s an audience there. I think that’s the biggest thing, having a connection with your reader that you might not have had before.”

The challenges for the old guard of journalism are the same as ever – attracting an audience. It’s just that now, journalists have to master many different forms of communication beyond writing to do that.

Thanks to the internet, the audiences are larger than ever, and the old media types like Holmes realize that to tap into it, they have to roll with the punches of change.

“They’re fond of saying now that more people are reading the Boston Globe now than at any time in the history of the place,” he says. “What they mean is, even though circulation is going down, the blogging, the boston.com, people are reading us there, it’s just in a different format. I think one of the ways you [adapt] is to surround yourself with smart people, usually younger people, who are used to technology and comfortable using it.”

In a way, it’s not journalism that’s changing any, it’s merely the way people find and respond to journalism. People like Forsberg, and his replacement at boston.com, Zuri Berry, will be the ones that politely nudge old journalism toward the new, the bold, the different.

And, in the opinions of young guys like Forsberg and Berry, the old guard isn’t doing all that bad a job of moving forward.

“I think we’re really fortunate at the Globe because I think a lot of guys do get it, and they get the message and they want to help and they want to do what’s necessary in order for us to do well,” says Berry. “That means they’ll get in front of the camera, they’ll blog, they’ll tweet. All these things that were foreign to them one, two years ago. I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

For Forsberg, continuing in that direction is the only option possible in order to stay in this business, and he welcomes the challenge. He knows that the industry is through the looking glass, and he likes the idea of being on the cutting edge of what journalism is now, and what it’s becoming.

“Being a reporter 20 years ago was probably a little bit easier than being a reporter now. From a sports aspect we joke al lthe time that before you rode on the team plane, you were kind of buddy buddy with the team and you had to write your story by the end of the day and make sure it was in by 1 o’clock, but that was really about it,” he said. “There are reporters out there that don’t want to do the social media thing and I think they’re almost silly. It just can’t be ignored anymore.”