Behind the Scene: Professional Mountain Biker

It’s interesting to hear that one of our own could possibly be competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics. Zachary Donnefield by far had the scoop on his buddy Christopher Blevins, an American cyclist, and Cal Poly student. Zach’s basis for this feature story was based on how Blevins as a student-athlete manages the stresses of campus life, training, and a professional mountain biking career. Plus our team’s reaction toward the story was positive.

As the strategy and engagement coordinator, some of my tasks was to contact and interact with the community. Right away I had difficulties with the social network engagement section of the assignment. I chose to reach out to people on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, all three social platforms are platforms that I have little to no engagement in. This proved to be the least successful and I quickly found out how crucial and essential it is in gathering information and insight from our potential audience.  

People were definitely interested in our story topic, plus everyone I talked to was unaware of Chris Blevins a professional student-athlete that has a shot at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Students want to read about how he manages to be a student and compete at their skill level. One has to be highly talented to be in the Olympics. I decided to crash Cal Poly women’s basketball head coach Faith Mimnaugh’s office because she definitely has experience with student-athletes and helping them with time management.

“I’m excited to hear that a student has the potential to represent the United States and that he’s wearing the green and gold,” Mimnaugh said. “I’m interested in hearing about his training regiment and how he applies it within the school.”

Week one had passed and by this time we were supposed to have footage and stills from Zach’s trip to the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. Christopher Blevins took first place, but it was nearly impossible to gather our content.

“Chris was super busy with the competition which made it hard for video or pictures,” Zach said. “I did manage to get an autograph on my chest though!”

By this time I had dubbed Blevins “The Real Deal”, all the information that I read about this guy on him competing since the age of five. When I was five I could hardly color within the lines.

So I sat down with Zach and Caitlin to find out the scoop on the difficulties of reaching and scheduling interview meetings with our sources.

Meeting up with our intended sources and managing busy schedules is all part of the journalistic process. This had us on standby and ready to literally pounce on our subjects. Caitlin and Kaylin are no longer surprised by this.

“As senior-slash-seasoned Mustang News reporter, it’s very doable and we just have to coordinate everything,” Caitlin said. “If we go into it knowing exactly the shots we need, and exactly knowing what we’re going to ask him [Blevins] the video only needs to be under two minutes, then we can pull it together.”

Kaylin also had a tight deadline to meet, she managed to write a rough draft the night before having it critiqued early the next morning.

“After listening to the interview, I realized how well-rounded of a person Chris is! So I wanted to make sure I capture everything he does including his music, volunteer work and of course biking,” Kaylin said.

Everything after that seen to just fall into place, Zach and Caitlin had already conducted their interviews and had scheduled a video and photo shoot with Blevins, and Kaylin had a “good to go” on her rough draft. Kaylin said that writing an article that could possibly be published on Mustang News is tricky, but having a structure and outline really helps.

Chris Blevins proved to be a great person, an excellent student, a superstar athlete, and a talented musician. Not all plans go to plan, but through the whole process we persevered through the long waits in gathering our story content and manage to bring together this story