Everybody knows the New England Patriots. Everybody knows Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Their names and talents are worshiped by many New Englanders, myself included. What many people don’t think about are the people behind the scenes, off-camera, working to build the empire. Among these people is a man whose name not many people know: Bryan Morry. It’s time to learn.
Bryan Morry is the Executive Director of the well known Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxborough Stadium, but how did he get there? A small group of students and I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Bryan Morry to learn just that. Bryan Morry was a journalism major at Boston College, beginning his internships in the hopes of going into a broadcasting career. Fresh out of college with no job in line, he moved to LA as an intern at CNN. He spent every waking hour logging games of all levels and kinds, picking out highlights and statistics. CNN may seem like the ultimate dream, but when you are watching a game at 2:00 AM, the name loses its glamor. After his grueling efforts at CNN, Bryan Morry took a job in Georgia at a weekly newspaper and hosted the morning sportscast. Though he was very successful, he moved closer to home with his wife and took a job at the University of Rhode Island where he met Beth James.
Beth James and Bryan Morry weren’t that close. They were polite co-workers and that always got along. But after Beth James left, Bryan Morry was surprised to get a call from her on behalf of her husband, Stacy James, Vice President of Media Relations for the Patriots franchise, offering him the job of editor of the Patriot’s newspaper. Bryan Morry took the job and stayed at his post from 1997 to 2005. He left in 2005 because he did not like what the print industry had become, but after two years, Robert Kraft called asking him to run the Patriots Hall of Fame. This was no small undertaking. The museum hardly existed, it was being built in that same year. Bryan Morry had never run a museum and neither had Robert Kraft, but in 2007, Bryan Morry rejoined the Patriots staff. Morry explained that he read books, went to museums to see how they ran, asked to interview curators and directors, and somehow made it work. The museum is practically his child, and I believe he is proud of everything in that museum. In the entire museum, there is only one spelling mistake, and no one has ever found it. He says he sometimes challenges people to look for it but it has still not been discovered (if someone figures it out, please tell me).
As a young writer, I was in awe of his large and impressive resume. Naturally, I asked him, “What are the 10 ingredients of a perfect writer?” (just kidding, I’m not that cheesy), but it was pretty close. Want to know what he said first? Spelling. Always check your spelling, whether it be common words or someone’s name (Bryan, if you’re reading this, know I searched your name at least five times to make sure it was correct). Next, he said, “You never know who you’re dealing with,” don’t ‘burn bridges’ or ‘step on toes’. It’s important to do everything with a great attitude and a good mindset. The person you said hello to could one day be the person who offers you a job with the best football franchise in the world. Lastly, he noted that it is always important to get every fact verified, question every ‘anonymous’ source you are offered, and report all sides of the story. Don’t write a story and publish it before you have checked your source or questioned their agenda. Reporting with faulty information will only tarnish your career and the short-lived fame it offers you will be traded for distrust. Both sides of the story show the reader that you are not trying to force your angle or disregard someone’s story. As long as you offer to interview the other side, you have put in the effort. As long as you can write “so-and-so had no comment”, you have tried to do the right thing.
My interview with Bryan Morry opened my eyes. Every day we see new headlines and accept them as truth, but once you think about it, is it really news? In a world where facts are so hard to find, the news does not make it any easier. The line between fact and opinion is blurred, and we as viewers and consumers have accepted that. Everything is read with an angle, and now, most things are written with one as well. If you go and re-read this article, you can pull out many angles that I write with myself; that’s unavoidable, but it’s important to be aware of this. Bryan Morry, along with giving my peers and me inside information about his career, the Patriots’ franchise, and how to be a good reporter, taught me so much about the press and what it has become.