The early days of online journalism truly were the Wild West.
Travel back with me about a decade, a sentence that suddenly makes me feel very old. I was a journalism student entering the summer looking for a way to make a little extra money while doing some writing.
Luckily, I found a post on Reddit looking for writers for a Lakers site (not this one). It would be my first real foray into online journalism and I was excited.
On a Thursday, I applied. On Friday, I was hired. On a Saturday, I got my crash course in online journalism. On a Sunday, I wrote my first post. On a Monday, it was published. On a Tuesday, I was approached by the editor to ask to take over the site as he was leaving. On a Wednesday, I was running a Lakers website.
Six days prior, I hadn’t even considered online journalism as an option and now here I was, completely and utterly out of my depth, running an entire website. Sometimes you have to be thrown into the deep end to learn. Eventually, my head surfaced above water and I survived, but not without lots of trial and error.
My first taste of getting to cover the Lakers, even from afar, whetted my appetite and made me realize this was what I wanted to do. But making a career of this isn’t easy, as I would learn over the ensuing decade. I’ve spent much of my adult life writing and blogging about the Lakers in various capacities for various sites, but it was never more than a side hustle.
When COVID-19 hit and the world went into lockdown, I unexpectedly lost my job as a sports editor at a newspaper in rural Indiana. At that point, I decided to give it one real go to try to make online journalism work.
After watching from afar for so many years, getting to Silver Screen & Roll two years ago felt like a goal completed. I’ve gotten to cover the Lakers in an enjoyable way, whether it was complimenting Anthony Davis’ work-life balance or giving in-depth explanations on potential trades. I even opened up important pipelines like the Hornets-to-Lakers one that landed Malik Monk (who I covered while writing about Charlotte), and the IU-to-Lakers one that landed Thomas Bryant and Jalen Hood-Schifino after getting to root for both while writing and podcasting about my alma mater, IU.
All that leads me to today, where I can introduce myself as the new Editor-In-Chief of Silver Screen & Roll.
What I’m most excited about is being able to devote all my time, energy and focus to covering the Lakers for the first time in my life. And to do it here is a joy as I get to build upon what so many talented people like Drew Garrison, Harrison Faigen, Christian Rivas and Sabreena Merchant and so many others before me have constructed.
Because of that, there’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel in any way. SSR has been the leader in Lakers coverage for a long time. We have an amazing cast around here that offers the best insight available in one place on this team. It’s a matter of simply guiding the ship...and trying to figure out how to fill giraffe-sized shoes. Call me Pat Riley with the Showtime Lakers.
My first offseason of coverage about this team was the Dwightmare. The team plunged into years of tanking immediately after that. For years, I wondered if me covering the team was some kind of curse. Fortunately, in the words of Magic Johnson, happy days are here again. I’m very excited to take over the site, but perhaps even more importantly, to throw all our energy into covering an actually good Lakers team (knock on wood) as well.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.