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Columns, above and beyond the beat job

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pete Incaviglia, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member


    So I cover a beat. I'm a sports reporter covering the games, recruits, coaching changes, features, etc. of a specific beat.

    Now I'm also being asked to write a weekly column.

    I'm at a daily. A decent size daily. And I've been at some before.

    My problem, and it's always been my problem with this, is that if I'm critical in a column I'm no longer objective, I'm subjective, and my first job is that of a reporter. Also, if I'm critical I run the risk of having coaches and players shut me out before or after games and practises.

    Anyone else think it's a bad idea for reporters to also be columnists focusing on the beat they cover?

    Sure, not every column has to be critical, but it's the idea of being asked to be subjective and opinionated that bothers me when that's my job first and foremost.
  2. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Yes, if you write a column, it shouldn't be on your beat.
  3. I totally agree. It has always made the most sense to me for beat writers, if they are asked to write columns, to do it on other people's beats.
    You can still find out all you need to know from the writer on that beat, so you aren't writing something uniformed, and you can be the one to be critical without having to worry much about getting shut out.
    You have to be willing to be critical to do this job well, but there's no point in being wreckless about it.
  4. It's a great opportunity, and you should be very proud, and I for one would have a hard time saying no, but it's probably not a good idea to opine about the team you cover.

    Can you write columns on another subject?
  5. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I have never had a problem with "beat" columns.
    The beat writer knows more about the inside stuff and the lockerroom workings of a team than anyone.
    Why shouldn't he be the one to explain in a column why, for example, Tom Coughlin is losing the Giants players?
    If the beat writer is good, it does not affect how he writes his game stories. You can be objective one day and subjective the next if you're good.
  6. Spnited, that is true...but it is easy to blur tghe lines with the players/coaches.
  7. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    Exactly. It's a beat column. Most of us have them. Just be fair. And not everything has to be controversial. Write about something that is working or not working, and why. You are in a better position to do that than anyone else at your paper.
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