A new mobile app launched by Campus Insiders takes fans deep inside college sports with game highlights, interviews and a behind-the-scenes perspective of the trending stories of the day, from on-camera hosts Bonnie Bernstein and Seth Davis, as well as top college analysts, former coaches and special contributors.

Campus Insiders is the online destination and leading digital content syndication source for college sports fans. The app is free and now available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. It provides an interactive user experience that enables college sports fans to access the same content available at CampusInsiders.com, along with the insight and perspective of Campus Insiders’ stable of experts, including broadcasters Bonnie Bernstein, Seth Davis and the nearly 100 Insiders from college campuses across the country.

The Campus Insiders app features breaking news and video alert, video on-demand, filtered by sport, and daily original programming, including live programming (starting this Fall) featuring Bonnie Bernstein and Seth Davis.

I had the great pleasure to speak with Bonnie Bernstein about the Campus Insider website and app, her career in sports journalism, and much more. Be sure to click on the link below to listen to the entire interview.

Art Eddy: You and your team at Campus Insiders created a very cool app. Tell me about the app and why people should download it to their smartphone or tablet?

Bonnie Bernstein: The app is one of the many Campus Insider platforms we have. Of course we have the website, we have the app available for your mobile, your smartphone, and iPad. Just like the network that was in its fledgling stages we have written editorial and video, but we are really emphasizing the video right now.

All of the different segments that we create during our live shows will also be available on demand on the app. In the event you miss my show or Seth Davis’ show you can find it any time. We have a whole written editorial side Pete Fiutak, our managing editor, he is terrific.

One of the really exciting pieces is that we are shooting for by the time the college football season starts, the ability to live stream games. We have exclusive digital rights to some of those smaller conferences like Mountain West, West Coast Conference. We are working on the Patriot League. We are in discussions with some other conferences. Just like so many people go to their television to watch games, you are going to be able to watch it on your app or online at Campus Insiders.

AE: One of the cool things I like about the app is the behind-the-scenes content. What made you guys decide to do that?

BB: We really wanted to our name to as a literal extent as we can. The whole premise of Campus Insiders is that we will have our “insiders” embedded on campuses all over the country. If there is a breaking story ESPN, CBS, or Yahoo would send a reporter to that site. We are going to have our insiders embedded on campuses, embedded with the teams, dealing with the coaches on a daily basis.

We are really encouraging to break their news with us. These are play by play guys, color guys, beat reporters, newspaper reporters. They are all the reporters that are covering these teams. We are incentivizing them to break stories with us. Give us that inside look. What is going on in practice and send us an Instagram photo. If you are on sideline and there is a star player who is questionable because he tweaked his ankle, get that information to us.

We really want to take our viewers and our fans inside what we do as a network. We are in this day and age where we are all trying to get our heads around what is it that make a video go viral. What my sense is that it is not the polished journalistic video unless of course you are breaking news. It is that raw behind the scenes how are you making the sausage kind of video. We want to take people inside our production meetings and let them see how it is that we are deciding what we are going to be talking about during my show. Go into the control room and see how the producers are working. See how the directors are working the shots. That is a really exciting part of what we are doing and it is kind of unique.

AE: Tell me about the site Campus Insiders itself. What was the catalyst to start up that site?

BB: Campus Insiders is a partnership between IMG College, which is America’s largest college sports marketing firm, and Silver Chalice. (Silver Chalice) is a digital media company that was founded by Jerry Reinsdorf, who owns the White Sox and Bulls.

Silver Chalice has already had success, most prominently with the ACC Digital Network, which fairly recently superseded the SEC Digital Network as the number one most viewed college sports site. IMG College was looking for a way to take all of their great properties and the relationships they have with their schools and create content with it.

So IMG College spent a year talking to the AOL’s, the Yahoo’s of the world and trying to find the right digital media partner and came upon Silver Chalice. After a lot discussions they felt as though we were the best fit. They understand the extraordinary production value that we bring to the table and we partnered up.

AE: What drove you to get into sports journalism?

BB: I have always maintained that you are a product of your own environment and both of my parents are die-hard sports fans. It is basically that simplistic. When I was a kid we didn’t have remote controls that you could steal from mom and dad and put on whatever you wanted to watch. You physically had to walk up to the television and change the channel. If you knew my dad you know that he is tall and imposing. Whatever dad wanted to watch, the kids are watching.

It is not just my dad, my mom is a die-hard sports fan. Both of them grew up in Brooklyn. Die-hard Dodgers fans. When they moved out west and the Mets came into town. We are a baseball family. We are a football family. My parents are more passionate about the NBA and my mom in particular with hockey than I am.

When I would be out covering games for the NFL on CBS I would call my mom. You are covering the game and you can’t keep an eye on everything else that is going on. My mom would be the human sports ticker. The Jets lost. The Giants lost. This one threw for four touchdowns. Because I was exposed to sports at such an early age it was just something that naturally rubbed off on me.

I did a lot of creative writing. I remember the third grade and fourth grade I have always been an athlete. I played soccer when I was five and gymnastics, my primary sports, when I was seven. I did that for fourteen years all the way to the University of Maryland.

I realized very early on that not only did I love sports, but I loved writing. I decided to find a career that enabled me to tap into both of those passions. I wrote about sports in my high school’s paper and specifically went to the University of Maryland because of the reputability of their journalism school. Wound up gravitating toward broadcast, which wasn’t really in the plan. I really wanted to write for Sports Illustrated, but I loved the TV classes at Maryland and I sort of stuck with it. Twenty plus years later here we are. I feel very blessed that I established a dream early on and I have really been able to achieve it.

AE: How tough was it and is it still today to be a woman in sports journalism?

BB: Well relatively speaking I think it is easier. The Lisa Olson’s, the Lesley Visser’s, and the Christine Brennan’s of the world paved the way for us. Years ago women were not allowed to be in locker rooms. So just that very fact that we are enables us to do our job.

I think the thing that people don’t realize is that we are not going into locker rooms because we want to. The simple fact of the matter is that we are on deadline. Once the game is over you have to get in. You don’t have time to wait for players to take their showers, to put their jewelry on, their suits on and walk outside and be all relaxed. You got to a story to write or you got a TV show to get ready for. So more than anything it is a matter of time.

In terms of the perception of women in the business I think that it has gotten better overall. To a certain degree I think that it is an individual thing. I think it is incumbent upon any woman who wants to get into sports journalism to take pride in her work. I hope that fans make their judgment on sort of a case by case basis. If you are good at what you do and you do it well consistently, then there is really no room for people to criticize. Unless they simply don’t feel that women have any business covering sports that they haven’t played.

People are certainly entitled to their own opinion. The one thing that I don’t think that fans understand is that there are many, many men, who cover sports, who haven’t played that sport as well. When you take that into consideration, the fact that I played a Division I sport, from a psychological and preparatory stand point puts me on par with anybody. I know what the mental process is like to prepare and to be in the heat of competition and the amount of focus that it requires. So when I am formulating questions they are coming from experience.

AE: What advice would you want to give women who are thinking about a career in that field?

BB: Well I would say don’t just watch sports, but really listen. By that I mean don’t watch the big game on a Saturday night with a bunch of friends at a bar. If you really want to learn about sports not only do you learn by watching, but by listening to what the play by play, the color announcer, the sideline reporter are talking about. You would be amazed at how much you can learn about sports.

Watching the games. Watching the specialty shows, like College Football Live, there are so many shows out there. The other thing that I would really recommend is networking. If you are in college right now or in high school, make sure you seize all the opportunities. Intern or serve as a runner for the networks when they are coming to cover the events. Show them that you have that passion and that you are willing to take that initiative. Collect those business card and stay in touch with those people. You never know that those folks that you meet along the way can be a tremendous resource in helping you get a job.

AE: You have covered a ton of great sporting events like a few Super Bowls. Is there an event that stands out more than others?

BB: I would say two in particular. The very first Super Bowl I covered which was down in Tampa in 2001. The Ravens Giants (game). New York kind of got pounded, but it was the first Super Bowl that I have done sideline for. It just so happened that I was assigned to the Giants sideline.

I had to interview Jim Fassel before the game. Just having access to the team and the coaches before the game and I remember the day before the game. The Giants has their final run through. I walked with Fassel from midfield to into the tunnel as he was going into the locker room. Just having the ability to have that conversation with a coach about what is going on in his mind as he is preparing his team to play in the “holy grail” of NFL events. I really took the time to soak that up.

The other big one was the Maryland run to the 2002 National Basketball Championship. I went to Maryland and I was there from late 80s early 90s. I call it the dark days of Maryland basketball. I got there and we were not too far removed from Len Bias. My freshman year the basketball team the coach there got nailed for all of these NCAA recruiting violations.

Gary Williams came in my sophomore year. He was faced with probation, TV bans, and postseason bans. It really was a mess. I did stuff for our school. I did campus newspaper, campus radio station, and campus TV station. I had the chance to meet Gary Williams when I was a sophomore in college.

So to see all of his hard work culminate in a National Championship, when I got the opportunity to cover every single one Maryland’s games with Jim Nantz and Billy Packer. To be standing on the court at the Georgia Dome watching the players standing on the podium. Watching themselves in highlights of one shining moment was so surreal. I sort of felt like very few people in that arena that night that could appreciate how monumental of a moment that was because where the program came from. It was really, really special to me.

Since Bonnie is well versed in every aspect of sports I asked her opinion on the whole Johnny Manziel situation. To listen to her take on that issue, challenging Dan Le Batard and his father to a showdown with Bonnie and her mother on a sports show, and the entire interview click here.

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