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ESPN's Sam Alipour on Miguel Cabrera

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dick Whitman, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Good piece this week on Miguel Cabrera in ESPN: The Magazine:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9070129/detroit-tigers-miguel-cabrera-opens-fear-people-espn-magazine

    The basics: Cabrera agreed to give one of his first extended, all-access interviews to Alipour of ESPN. Alipour ends up alienating him by asking about his drinking troubles. That's not a spoiler, as it's in the lede. But I like the way Alipour structures the piece to wring some drama out of the breakdown of their rapport.

    I'm sure some will question the heavy use of first-person in the piece, and I'm interested to read the reactions here. But I thought it worked like a charm, and was really the only right way to do the story the right way and to get to know Cabrera a little bit.

    I'll definitely be checking out more from Alipour in the future, a writer I don't really know much about.
     
  2. It was quite depressing that Alipour sent the team questions beforehand (thoughts on this practice?), and Cabrera and his media guy were upset Alipour still asked him about his drinking problem. Good job by Alipour showing Cabrera's immaturity.
     
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Questions in advance is a terrible practice. We get that request way more often than we used to get it and I'd like to think we'd always say no. But, depends on how badly you want the interview. I guess.
     
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    On my beat, we always had to request player and subject matter. We'd always put things like "the season."
     
  5. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I have no issue with giving a general topic. Specific questions? No thanks.

    I once asked a PR rep for the at-the-time Sprint Cup points leader for an interview. About what, she asked? Seriously? He's the POINTS LEADER. People want to talk to him. I got a brief interview that wasn't worth a shit. He was out of the lead not long after and I have no clue what he's done since. Don't think he's won a race.
     
  6. I'm asked to have teams/subjects read stuff before it prints a lot more than I used to. The answer is always no, regardless of the subject matter, but I'm surprised by how often PR folks, even in pro leagues and otherwise seasoned people, ask me to read something before it runs. And it always seems like a shock when I say there's no chance it'll happen.

    Which makes me think there are therefore more people are willing to do it than they used to.
     
  7. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I think I learned as much about Alipour as about Cabrera from that story. That's not a criticism. He did a good job with what little he gleaned from talking to Cabrera.
     
  8. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Sometimes, if possible, you wish you could just cut through the red tape. Often the athlete or famous person is the nicest of the bunch. It's the "handlers" that think their shit doesn't stink or their worth is more important that make things more difficult than needed.

    Good read by Alipour.
     
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Sprint Cup flacks are among the worst. I think they get paid by the number of times they say no to interview requests.
     
  10. SalukiNC

    SalukiNC Member

    Loves archery, hates talking about his drinking problem. That's about all I got out of this.
     
  11. PEteacher

    PEteacher Member

    Yet, Sam Alipour is at the top of his profession. This article reminds me of why I'm so happy not to be working in journalism anymore. Doesn't matter if you are covering high school, college, or pro sports. You are always the outsider.
     
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I think that's pretty dismissive, though. I guess, when you get down to brass tacks, that's what you learn. But you learn those things with some depth - it's the showing, not the telling, that stays with you. It's one thing to know that Miguel Cabrera hates talking about his drinking problem. It's quite another to be brought into the conversation, with the blow by blow, like the reader was here.
     
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