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Do You Want To Be Like Jason?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by FreddiePatek, May 18, 2007.

  1. FreddiePatek

    FreddiePatek Active Member

    This fella does. Good luck with that, young scribe ...

    {BC-SOU-Black Sports Writers-First Person, ADV19,0908}
    {For release weekend, May 19-21, or thereafter}
    {Landrum: I want to be a sports writer}
    {With BC-Black Sports Writers}
    {AP Photo planned}
    {Jonathan Landrum has worked for The Associated Press for three} years
    {Associated Press Writer}=
    ATLANTA (AP) — Some kids want to be like Mike.
    I want to be like Jason Whitlock. Or Terence Moore. Or Stephen A. Smith.
    I've longed to write about sports since I was 11, when my mom hooked me up with a year's worth of Sports Illustrated for Kids. I loved the two-sided, pullout poster with a superstar athlete on each side. I treasured the full-page stub that could be divided into nine sports cards.
    While being raised in Kansas City, Kan., I got to read Whitlock, a black columnist in the local paper who always kept things stirred up. It also was encouraging to watch New York Times columnist William Rhoden on ESPN's "Sports Reporters" before heading to church on Sunday.
    Beyond those two, however, there weren't many role models for someone like me. It was rare to find a black journalist who had a forum to share his or her opinion. I eventually found my way to Smith (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Moore (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and Michael Wilbon (Washington Post), but those of us in the black community want more.
    That's why I keep pushing, keep striving for change and improvement. I've been at The Associated Press for three years, covering everything from religion to the hip-hop industry, but sports is my passion.
    There's no doubt in my mind I can become a sports writer. I'm only 26, a bit green and still learning the game, but I've already gotten the chance to cover prep sports and college basketball. I've shadowed some of the top writers, watching how they do the job. I regularly read some of my favorite beat reporters and columnists. I keep a close eye on the AP sports wire, trying to learn how it's done so I'll be ready when my chance comes. I volunteer for assignments whenever possible.
    I believe it helps being a former athlete. In high school, I played football, basketball and went to the state tournament in the shot put. I earned a football scholarship at Highland Community College in Kansas and went on to play two more years at Clark Atlanta. I was a mean, hard-hitting fullback. Just ask my coaches.
    Even though my playing career is over, I feel I can relate to athletes better than many of my more experienced peers. With black athletes dominating professional sports, the color of my skin doesn't hurt, either.
    I want to bring a different perspective. Sure, it's great to spend a night at the ballpark or arena, but I'm even more pumped about relating a story that's never been told before. During my brief tenure at the AP, I've already been able to do just that.
    To most in the media, Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens is a selfish, aggrandizing athlete, the epitome of all that's wrong in today's sporting world. It's hard to argue otherwise when he keeps showing up on ESPN pounding his chest or shouting down coaches and teammates on the sideline. His off-the-field antics are well-documented.
    Feeling he's misunderstood by the media, Owens rarely accepts one-on-one interview requests. He feels that reporters never take the time to know the real T.O.
    As a former player, I understand that no athlete's persona can be judged solely from how they act in uniform. I've had many teammates who resembled crazed animals during games, but were gentlemen once they left the field.
    That's why my approach toward T.O. wasn't about his on-field actions. I didn't start out on the attack. I wanted to know, "What's going on in your life away from football?"
    Instead of blurting out an egotistical statement, Owens talked about a recording studio he recently had opened in Atlanta. Instead of demanding the limelight, he preferred to stay in the background when it came to music, providing a place where artists could lay down their own tracks. He also talked passionately about his foundation, which raises money for Alzheimer's research, an issue he decided to tackle after his grandmother was stricken with the illness.
    By the end of the interview, T.O. said, "Man, you're different from the others. That's good."
    Last week, I attended a panel discussion at historically black Morehouse College, which is right next door to my alma mater. I was excited to hear about a new sports journalism program that has the backing of Morehouse grad Spike Lee, who wants to get more African-Americans on press row.
    From Rhoden to Stephen A. to Claire Smith, they spoke a refrain I know all too well: Black sports writers are still an oddity in today's journalism world.
    The numbers certainly back it up. About a year ago, a colleague asked me how many black sports writers there are at The Associated Press. At the time, I didn't know. I have since learned the answer is two.
    Rhoden said he can't wait for the day when he enters a press box at a major sporting event and sees so many black faces that he doesn't even think about the color of his colleagues' skin.
    So, I'm going to keep pushing to become a sports writer.
    I want to be like Jason. Or Terence. Or Stephen A.
  2. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    Wonderful. My entire night is ruined.
  3. Sweetness

    Sweetness Member

    No Ralph Wiley????????

    Don't tell me it's before your time, Jon. I'm 24 and Ralph was one of my heroes growing up. No Ralph Wiley??? WTF???

    I'm going to go rant and throw things now.
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    It could be worse... It could have said, "I want to be like Scoop."

    It's well-known on this board that I'm a big fan of Whitlock's writing, but I can't help but be seriously embarrassed for this kid. I'm sure he means well, but damn...
  5. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    It's a D_B. Moddy started a thread on the Spike Lee donation (this is a sidebar to that, and has been posted there) that's like 4 down.
  6. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    I'm going to un-lock this one and see what happens.

    Spike Lee on the other thread; reax to the Landrum column on this one.
  7. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    I thought that "column" was completely shit. I get his point, but he I can't believe the AP is moving this thing. Very, very poorly written, IMO.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    As painful as that was to read, that story is going to get that kid his next job...
  9. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    That was like a car wreck to read. I must be racist.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I hear ya.. who the hell would like to be like Screamin A smith
  11. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    If he really wants to be a sports writer, he could parlay his AP gig into one in a daily sports section. Is he willing to leave the AP to work at a 50k? Or does he want an AP sports gig?
  12. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I just saw the part about his own playing career and wanted to hurl...

    "I believe it helps being a former athlete. In high school, I played football, basketball and went to the state tournament in the shot put. I earned a football scholarship at Highland Community College in Kansas and went on to play two more years at Clark Atlanta. I was a mean, hard-hitting fullback. Just ask my coaches."

    Too bad he can't write as well as he claimed he could block...
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