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Covering a team you have/had an emotional investment in ... is it different?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Hey Diaz!, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Hey Diaz!

    Hey Diaz! Member

    I know reporters are supposed to block out biases and stay objective, but I've been wondering about this.

    While not qualified nor motivated to work a pro sports beat, I'd give it a shot if offered a gig ... well, with a few important exceptions.

    There are two teams (MLB and NFL), my two favorites since childhood, I'd never ever cover on a daily basis. The 16-year-old me would consider both a "dream job," but now I believe the joy I get from watching each would dissipate rapidly if forced to work a full-time beat. And then there's the off chance that the irrational me would forget where I was for 20 seconds and unleash the inner fanboi in a press box and kill my credibility. Mind you I've never had a similar issue during prep/college/minor league games.

    Yes, we should be able to toggle the objectivity switch on/off while at a live event or presser, but I'm not sure if I could in two instances. I don't know if feeling this is normal or not ... thoughts?
  2. LitteringAnd

    LitteringAnd Member

    I think most people, by circumstance or history, have come to enjoy (or despise, as the case may be) individual people on the team they cover. I know several beat writers of professional teams who were/are fans of the teams they cover. I don't think being a fan of a team makes any difference. Of course, that's as long as you're not wearing your Falcons or Jazz or Predators jersey to the grocery store and all that, and you objectivity remains paramount. I'm not sure it's that hard to remain objective the more you're around, too.

    That's because the longer you cover said team, I've found, the more you care less about what "the team" does. You care more about the people you're around on the beat. You'll pull for the good dudes, or ladies, because they're that. Good people. And there will be enough jerks on the team to where you probably go, "Boy, what an ass." In turn, that'll turn off your fandom of the team. There's nothing wrong with that. We're human.

    Less about teams. More about people.
  3. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    What LitteringAnd said, especially that last line.

    I currently cover my alma mater, which might have been an issue say 10 years ago, but I'm so far removed from the fanboi aspect of said school that it really isn't any more. I have good memories of my time at the school, but I'd be just as happy covering the rival university, and probably would have been doing just that had our paper actually chosen to replace the person who left that beat several years ago.
  4. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    Or . . . OR . . .

    It's time to grow up and quit worrying about how difficult it would be to cover a team you loved as a kid, and maybe still love.
  5. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    I attended OU and was an OU fan as a kid. Covered them for years. For that time, I basically stopped being a fan in a lot of ways. If I wasn't at a game (we didn't cover away games), I couldn't watch it on TV just as a fan; I was always watching it like a sports writer. And being a grad and a fan never stopped me from tearing into OU when I thought something was going wrong. Since I stopped covering them, and even more now that I'm out of sports for the most part, I've gotten back to just being a fan. Very different experience watching a game.
  6. Anyone who would turn down a pro beat because of fanboi concerns will likely not be offered a pro beat by a reputable outlet.
  7. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    We cover two universities, two high schools in our coverage area...fans of each accuse us of favouring one over the other, about on an equal ratio. What I tell them is the old Jerry Seinfeld line: "I don't root for the laundry,"
    I look for good stories and I root for good kids...same on a pro beat. We had two American Hockey League teams in our town who sent numerous players on to the NHL. I hope they do well, regardless of what team they play on.
  8. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    I think most people can put those emotions aside and do their job. Heck, I dealt with that as a reporter with the student newspaper in university. I would prefer our school win, but I never shied away from asking the hard questions of our own coaches.
  9. Charlie Brown

    Charlie Brown Member

    Says the person who named himself after a person in a comic book.
  10. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    Irrelevancy seems to be your mandate, Charlie Brown.
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty New Member

    wow. that was just too easy, wasn't it?
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I don't see how anyone can be a fan of a team if they are working in this business for any length of time.

    Some schools may treat reporters better (with access to coaches/players), and I like that.

    Some players you grow to like and hope for good things for them.

    If you are a reporter, the outcome of some games might mean a trip to Las Vegas or New Orleans or Hawaii (ok, probably not Hawaii) so you'd root for that.

    Otherwise, you root for games to be played earlier in the day instead of at 9 or 10 p.m.

    Or you root for teams to lose sometimes to avoid expensive trips or conflicts or having to pay a freelancer 50 bucks.
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