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Google+ Hangout: Five Questions With Keith Arnold

Jul 26, 2012, 10:55 AM EDT

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We’re more than halfway through introducing our seven panelists for next week’s Google+ Hangout (Tuesday, July 31 at 7:30 pm ET). This morning’s blogger is Keith Arnold (@KeithArnoldNBC). Keith writes and edits the Inside the Irish blog at NBCSports.com. He’s a 2002 Notre Dame graduate and former member of the Fighting Irish baseball team.

What is your connection to Notre Dame? (If you are an alum, what dorm did you live in?)
My connection with Notre Dame started when I moved into Stanford Hall as a freshman. Not growing up in a big Notre Dame family, I chose ND because it felt like the best fit for me and it took about two minutes on campus to know I made a great choice. I was lucky enough to walk onto a really great baseball team and I made some friends that I’m still close with today. Same thing with dorm life, I still talk to guys I lived with on a daily basis. My connection to the school was solidified during my first game at Notre Dame Stadium — the Irish running Michigan, the defending national champs, off the field.

What got you blogging about Notre Dame?
My path to blogging about Notre Dame was certainly an odd one. In 2008, I quit a job I had in the entertainment industry to launch a website and write for SportingNews.com about college football. The adventure was a grind and not all that successful financially, but it led me to a freelance writing job with Mike Florio’s CollegeFootballTalk. When NBC Sports acquired that website, I immediately asked about starting a daily Notre Dame blog, since NBC and Notre Dame are so intertwined. To my shock and amazement, they thought it was a good idea, and they essentially gave me the keys to a bright and shiny new car, and gave me more editorial freedom than I ever thought possible. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but everything has seemed to turn out okay.

When did your blog first launch?
The Inside the Irish blog started roughly 1,062 days ago. Or in the weeks leading up to the 2009 season. Since then, I think the longest it’s gone without a post is three days, a streak I’m pretty proud of, especially in slow football months like July.

Tell us about your blog. Why should Irish fans want to read it?
Inside the Irish is a blog that focuses only on Irish football, and I’d like to hope that anyone who reads the site regularly is a smarter fan because of it. I take pride in trying to be an objective observer on the state of Notre Dame football, without hiding the fact that I am an Irish graduate and hope the team wins. I think that helps, especially at a time when readers can sniff out subtext and agenda pretty quickly.

When the site started, it was my opinion that there was a dearth of options for Irish fans out there for daily reading. You could pay ten bucks a month to keep up with recruiting, but most of the places where people would go discuss and read about ND football had turned overly negative and struggled to accept multiple opinions. I’ve always tried to call it like I see it, but I like to consider my website the voice of reason, especially since I know just how hard it is to succeed in today’s college football. It’s been fun to see the webosphere evolve over the past few years, with more and more premium and free websites doing great work.

What is your favorite thing about game day at Notre Dame?
My favorite thing about game day at Notre Dame is the electricity you feel right before kickoff. You don’t feel it inside the glass of the pressbox, but that moment right before a big game starts, and you’re surrounded by 80,000-plus fans, it feels like you could run out on that field and cover the kickoff yourself. I’m looking forward to the first Saturday I can spend in the stadium without a laptop chained to me. I’m not sure when that’ll be, but it’ll be fun.

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