Rich Maclone(1997) realized that he wanted to be a sports writer when he was 14 years old. That Christmas, his uncle Steve gave him a subscription to Sports Illustrated, and Rich read every issue cover to cover.
He graduated from Falmouth High School in Massachusetts in the spring 1991 and headed 30 minutes north to Bridgewater State University, where he studied political science for one “aimless year.”
After he realized that he was accomplishing very little, he transferred to Cape Cod Community College for one semester to get his plans together.
Maclone, who grew up Catholic and had just given his life to Christ, had a friend who went to Liberty University. He decided to move away from Massachusetts and trek down to Lynchburg as well.
“I was definitely a fish out of water when I got there,” Maclone said.
He was not used to people who were passionate about their faith and found it intimidating.
“They scared the heck out of me,” Maclone said. “The first thing I did was I went to the Champion office and said, ‘Give me a job.’”
He was assigned a wrestling match that first week. He did not know a thing about wrestling, but they kept assigning him stories and he kept writing. Soon they figured out, as a native of the north, he knew hockey, so that became his beat.
The next semester Maclone was sports editor.
“I wanted it, so I went after it,” Maclone said. “It was the most fun I’ve had in the newspaper world.”
During summer and winter breaks, Maclone interned at The Cape Cod Times and wrote for the Champion during the semester.
According to Maclone, everything he needed to know for the journalism profession, he learned at the Champion.
“I was about as prepared going into the real world as I could be,” Maclone said.
“Liberty is a very positive environment,” Maclone said. “(I managed to) get some focus and not worry about things that aren’t important.”
Not only did Maclone find focus and valuable job experience at Liberty, he also found his wife of 14 years, Lyra. The two met on a car ride home for break after Maclone’s first semester in Virginia.
“We were driving 14 hours and hit it off,” Maclone said.
When Maclone first finished college in May of 1997, he dreamed of becoming a staff writer at Sports Illustrated, but within three months of finishing school, he landed a job in his home town at the Enterprise. He and his new wife retured to Cape Cod and he still works at the bi-weekly publication today.
Maclone covers the Cape Baseball League in the summer. According to the league’s website, it is the premiere collegiate summer league in the country. The rest of the year, Maclone spends covering high school sports in Falmouth and Mashpee, Mass.
“I know what I’m writing matters,” Maclone said. “It’s going to be seen by a lot of people who care. It ends up in scrap books and gets passed around in the family.”
He enjoys his work. The slow pace, the stories, the sports and the independence.
“I go to games for work, ” Maclone said. “Not a lot of people can say that.”
Since the publication is only issued on Tuesdays and Fridays, the deadline pressure is eased.
“I go after stories I want to go after,” Maclone said. “I’m kind of my own boss.”
He also blogs for the paper regularly about sports, local events or whatever is on his mind.
“I think blogging is fun,” Maclone said. “You take on tasks you can’t cover in the newspaper.”
According to Maclone, if a good job came open in the Lynchburg area, he would love to pack up, drive down and take it. He would be especially eager if Liberty had an opening for a journalism teacher or something in the sports department.
“I would love to have the opportunity to do for students what Mrs. Huff did for me,” Maclone said.
Deborah Huff was one of Maclone’s teachers at Liberty.
“Mrs. Huff is one of the biggest influences in my life,” Maclone said. “She was the best teacher I ever had. She had me believing I could do anything.”
As journalism becomes increasingly digitized, Maclone does not worry about job security for himself or for aspiring writers.
“If you are good at what you do, there is always going to be jobs,” Maclone said. “Don’t talk about what you want to do, get out and write. Try to get internships. Find freelance stuff. Like in sports, you gotta hustle!”