On a nice and breezy Sunday, I met with Josh Reed in his room at Village Apartments on the campus of UNCP. He came to the door in a relaxed state, wearing checkered pajamas and a grey t-shirt. In his room signifies that he’s a major sports fan, with several posters of his favorite NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens, plastered all over the walls on his side of the room.
In the middle of his wall, there was a plain, white poster that said in black capital letters “I’M FROM ALASKA!” that he got autographed by former Ravens’ receiver John Brown when he attended the team’s game against the Carolina Panthers last year. “I’m a die-hard Ravens fan,” Reed said.
A native of Anchorage, Alaska he says coming from there everyone was either a Broncos Fan or a Seahawks fan being that Alaska is on the west coast. “What gravitated me to the Ravens was that they came into the league the same year I was born. Ray Lewis is my favorite player of all-time and I see myself in the team because they are the underdogs and they are not seen as the top dogs in the league. They come prepared and continue to surprise a lot of teams ever since I started to follow the team heavily.”
The native of Alaska is also a former student-athlete was a state champion football player and powerlifter. The positions he played were defensive line, offensive line, fullback and linebacker. After getting some offers but not getting enough money from schools he decided to put sports on the back burner and go to Norfolk State University, a historically black college in Virginia. After completing two years there he looked at UNCPs Exercise Sports Science and Journalism program, was interested and decided to attend in the Fall of 2016.
“With my degree, I just love making and getting athletes stronger in their respective sports,” Reed said.
What made him get into writing about sports was the love and the passion for it. “Being a former athlete I just loved the atmosphere and I also enjoy the analytics of sports as well. I’ve always remembered stats and my mom said yeah son you should do something with that,” Reed said with a chuckle. “At Norfolk State, they didn’t have journalism as a minor so when I got here I found out they had it and I was stoked,” Reed said. Soon after he was enrolled he joined the Pine Needle staff.
After writing multiple sports stories Josh said that his favorite stories are human interests stories. “I love writing about stories about things that don’t get as much attention. I try to shed light on the unheralded heroes,” Reed said.
One of the favorite unheralded hero stories that he wrote was one on a basketball player last spring. “ There was this basketball player on the team named Desmond. After their game on Senior Day, all the seniors did a post-game interview and the team talked about this guy. They called him ‘Des Buckets’ and he didn’t dress up for the games but the team talked about his impact on them at practices so they gave him the credit for the team’s success,” Reed said.
When writing sports stories Reed said that he tries to find different angles on a story. “ With sports I want it to be more than just a box score because everyone can just google a box score and see who won the game. I lean toward more feature stories and columns to give the sense of athletes having a human element,” said Reed.
As he looks back on his time here at UNCP Josh said that he is grateful for the many opportunities and connections that he has made. “I am so glad that I was here for an extra year because it helped me broaden my network with many people on this campus. From the faculty and staff to my cohorts and the Pineneedle I’m truly grateful,” said Reed.
He said one of his favorite memories was the 2018 Christmas party with the Pineneedle Staff and is the undisputed champion of the staff bowling nights. “ When it comes to bowling I’m very competitive, I talk a lot of smack and have fun with it. Nobody is touching me at that,” said Reed with a laugh.
Reed began as a staff writer, was promoted to Assistant Sports Editor and has been the Sports Editor for the Pineneedle for the past two years. His is section made up almost half of the print edition and he has shouldered just about the entire load of the sports section during his time as editor. He never complained, made excuses or didn’t come through for the anything he was responsible for.
After graduating college he said that he is already on the job hunt looking for places to get his foot in the door with his ultimate goal of becoming a staff writer and eventually the senior columnist for his favorite professional football team, the Baltimore Ravens.