Boston Sportswriter Shows the Significance of Diversity

By: Jessica Miley

Bright lights beam on the adrenaline junkies as they take their positions on the 120 yards of freshly cut grass. Yellow goal posts stand tall at either end of the football field, taunting players with the end zone. Engaged faces cheer in the stadium as they follow the strategic moves of the colorfully dressed men in jerseys. This game of football is a spectator sport for most, but for Zuri Berry, it’s a writer’s dream job.

Chico State alumnus Zuri Berry was hired to be a sportswriter and producer at the end of 2009 for, where he primarily focuses on sports blogging and breaking news about the New England Patriots. He also covers the Boston Red Sox, the Celtics, and local high school sports.

Zuri Berry: headshot
Zuri Berry writes about the sports professionals for the
Image courtesy of Boston Globe.

The sportswriter discusses the competition in the NFL locker rooms and the press conferences where he has become a regular. He arrives hours before the game and doesn’t leave until hours after the game. This time consists of watching the players practice and interviewing key players and coaches in the locker room and at press conferences.

Berry is no stranger to sports. Growing up in San Francisco, he doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t playing a sport. Baseball, basketball, track, and football kept the young teenager active and involved in organized sports.

He played wide receiver and defensive end on the football team at Galileo Academy of Science & Technology. The senior in high school didn’t see his football career going to the next level.

“I like writing and I like sports, why not mix the two?” said Berry.

After attending the City College of San Francisco and writing for its paper, The Guardsman, Berry, a transfer student at Chico State, was already a seasoned writer.

During this transition, the writer became involved in the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). This organization strives to provide educational programs and services to black journalists across the world.

While attending Chico State, Berry wrote for The Orion, the University’s award- winning student newspaper, and simultaneously joined the organization Men of Honor.

Men of Honor gave Berry a sense of brotherhood and leadership with other African American Chico State students.

“Men of Honor more or less was a support group,” said Berry. “It was a fellowship. The organizations that I am in now express the need for fellowship, because people need that. Especially when you are in workplaces in which you may be the only person of color there.”

Berry’s time at Chico State gave him enough life experiences and published work to land a job after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

The sportswriter was taught HTML code and CSS in a journalism class. He attributes his understanding of a newsroom, time management, and focus to the hustle and bustle of The Orion. These are skills he uses while working with

“I built my first website while at Chico State,” said Berry. “Actually, when I put out the first is when I think I was actually on my way to building my brand.”

Before becoming immersed in New England sports, Berry interned at the Sport Journalism Institute and then wrote for a local paper in Grass Valley, California, called The Union. Berry then caught the eye of Boston’s second-largest newsroom in New England,

“I can’t stress this enough that the sports coverage here provides a greater following than it does elsewhere in the country,” said Berry. “It can be quite competitive and there’s not a lot of elbow room.”

He interviews the NFL, MLB, and NBA greats along with local high school athletes. Tom Brady, David Ortiz, and Kevin Garnett are among the laundry list of professional athletes that he has interviewed. One could argue that he is a professional in the art of interviewing.

Along with being a journalist, Berry is currently the vice president of the Boston chapter of the NABJ, actively running monthly meetings, coordinating events, and overseeing the budget. He has been a part of the Boston chapter for four and a half years.

“I am an advocate, more than anything else right now,” said Berry. “Making sure that we have the proper representation, for our city, for our communities.

I bring attention and awareness to the issues that I can’t necessarily speak on. We can’t have that unless we have a diverse group of people.”

Berry takes both his positions at and the NABJ seriously. He understands the importance of journalism and the need to keep not only our stories but also our writers as diverse as the players that he covers.