So what better time to profile a sports media vet who now has time to watch games for fun?
I am referring to Steve Burks. For years, he covered sports here in Arizona at the Tribune and other outlets. But, in the spring he moved over to Az Big Media, where he today serves as associate editor of Az Big Media, with primary responsibility for overseeing AZRE: Arizona Commercial Real Estate and Play Ball magazines. Given his new(ish) gig, the father of two has more time to watch sports with friends and family than covering them for a paper.
So, Steve, tell us about your life!
How did you get into reporting/editing in the first place? What’s your story?
When I was in college, I initially was on a path to be a Poli-Sci major, but that degree started to lose its luster pretty quickly. I was, however, doing well and enjoying my English courses, so I switched up and changed majors. I was always into sports, so I thought I’d end up an English teacher and a coach. When my playing days were over, I needed another semester of college, so I decided to write for the school paper for that semester and that was my first foray into journalism.
I met my wife Jennifer when we were both athletes in college (same sport, different colleges), she was offered a teaching position in Yuma, Ariz., out of college and I decided I’d go with her. I got a part-time job at the Yuma Daily Sun, and eventually worked my way up to sports editor there. I then got a job at the East Valley Tribune, where I was a writer, copy editor and page designer for some 15 years.
Tell us about your new(ish) position?
I’m the associate editor for AZRE Magazine and a few other publications in the AZ Big Media family, like PTK and Play Ball. My focus is on commercial real estate and the various facets of the industry, which is quite vast.
Where did you grow up?
I’m an escapee from the Midwest, born in Kansas, but lived the first 23 years of my life in Nebraska. All told, the two towns I grew up in have less than 1,000 people, combined.
Favorite type of music?
This is a lame answer, but I like almost all genres of music (okay, I don’t really like modern country). Grew up listening to pop and hip-hop, old-school rap and rock and just appreciate music. My 20-year old son has introduced me to some strange new music styles, and I even like most of that.
Favorite place to visit?
Have only been there once, but want to go back ASAP – Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras.
What are some of your favorite local spots or things to do?
My wife is a high school athletic director, so a lot of our free time is devoted to attending high school athletic events. When not doing that, I like to go out in Scottsdale or Downtown Gilbert, which is really transformed into a nightlife destination since we moved to Gilbert in 2001. I do like to find and try new craft beer in the Valley, which has really come of age as a craft beer market in the last five years.
Fast food: Raising Canes. Fine dining: A good steakhouse like Mastro’s. A dish I crave often; The charred Brussel sprouts at Four Peaks (You may scoff, but if you haven’t had them, make it a point to try them).
Least favorite food?
I’ve had it a few times, including in Maine, and lobster just doesn’t do it for me.
Three things readers would be surprised to know about you?
I am the youngest of five children.
If you’re a Newhart fan, I have a brother named Larry and a brother named Darrel.
I am in my college’s sports hall of fame.
What should people be pitching you?
If it is commercial real estate related, we want to hear about it.
New trends and technology are always great feature story topics. Anything that people in the industry are talking about, if you have a story angle for it, we’d love to hear it.
What is the lead time you need for content?
I’m hoping to eventually get on top of what is going on in the industry and try to work ahead more, so for a feature story, I think a month or two months is enough lead time in order to do a thorough story. The executives and professionals we contact for information and comments are very busy people, so sometimes it takes a while to line up an interview. That’s why a longer lead time is important.
For news items, like land or property sales, promotions, ect., we try to get that stuff posted online ASAP.
What is the best way to reach you?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.