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From Sports to News

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pete Incaviglia, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Anyone every gone from covering sports to general assignments/news?

    If so, how was the move? For the better? The worse? Indifferent?

    I'm considering asking to be moved in the new year. But I'd like some first-hand accounts, if I could.
  2. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    I went from sports designer to news designer. Sort of the same thing. Hours are better. Shifts are easier. And believe it or not, it gives you a chance to be a sports fan again. I am able to actually go to Dodger games and Kings games without having to cover them. Makes watching sports much more enjoyable.
    Now I also get to cover motor sports for the sports section, so I have a unique opportunity to keep writing and cover major NASCAR events. That helps me keep a foot in sports without having to go through the everyday grind. Works for me. I would recommend it for others.
  3. Yes, for the better. It's a reality check -- instead of wins/losses, you're often dealing with death/life. Try cold calling a parent late at night whose kid just got killed. It puts all the sports crap into perspective.

    Bonus was more regular hours and meeting (more normal?) people outside of the sports world.

    These days it can't hurt to have versatile skills on your resume. Good luck.
  4. MGoBlue

    MGoBlue Member

    I'll add my two cents ....

    Like the above commentator, after 17 years of copy editing/designing sports for a Michigan paper, I'm now in year two of working news at a Florida paper AND WILL NEVER GO BACK TO SPORTS VOLUNTARILY.

    Of course lately, news is more interesting than sports in Florida.

    But in all seriousness, I never realized how hard I worked until I left the sports department. Even today, I look across the newsroom and see sports dudes and dudettes who got to work before I did, and stay and hour or longer to get all those West Coast scores in the paper.

    Not for me anymore. I'm well into my second cocktail by the time sports gets done.

    You asked about the reporting angle. I can't help ya there. Covering preps or city hall meetings are about the same ... the dregs. But it general, put in a decade of sports. Enjoy yourself. Then semi-retire and move to news.
  5. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    If you can land a GA news spot where you don't have to cover a meeting, you'd be a very fortunate soul and much better for the move.
  6. Cansportschick

    Cansportschick Active Member

    Pete, I actually cover both news and sports here for my publication. To me, it is indifferent and I was told that it doesn't matter what medium you write for because you can take the tools you use for one and use for another.

    Personally, I like the idea of covering both to keep my feet wet in both. With news, there is a lot more to cover than sports.

    I don't think the move would be a worse move.

    I am considering covering government/politics if sports doesn't work out. In the Maritimes, it is hard to get into the sports dept without doing another beat first.
  7. I left sports after a decade, to go to news.
    I LOVE IT!

    I just read the Parents...Again thread and was reminded what I hated about sports; Whiny parents, truculent coaches, bullshit signing stories on kids who were getting $200 bucks to attend Hillbilly Tech and play (Insert sport here).

    I really enjoy news.
    I was really uncomfortable at first - cause I didn't know shit about local government. I read the paper everyday and knew who was who, but I didn't know a lot of the things interworkings our news reporter knew. Having done deadline sports I could come back from a meeting or an accident and crank out a 10-inch story in about 15 minutes.
    City council meetings and YMCA luncheons can be pretty boring, but court cases, traffic accidents, cop calls and a host of other breaking things are soooooo much more exciting than any sporting event I ever covered.

    I have also gotten to branch out. I have written stories on Bigfoot hunters, lost historical treasures and done various features on fascinating people - like a highly decorated WWII vet; A ton of things I wouldn't have gotten to do had I stayed in sports.
    Last week, we had a local kid killed in Iraq.. I talked to his mom and she told me how she found out her son had died (the army sent soldiers to tell her). She gets to the part where she has to explain to the dead soldier's 6-year-old daughter that daddy wasn't coming home.
    As she is telling me this, she starts to cry ... (I have young kids) so I am teary-eyed and pretty much speechless.. I can't say anything, because I will start gushing tears. I pause and tell her how sorry I am for her and the family and I then I ask her some more questions about her son and his life.
    It was a tough interview, but not one I regret. I came away from it different - and hopefully, improved.

    In addition, I have really grown as a reporter. I've hardened. Had I stayed in sports, I would never have learned to ask hard questions to cops, lawyers, politicians and crooks.
    Our sports department doesn't do that.

    Sports here is big. BIG. People read sports first and that's what they talk about. My email has fallen off considerably since I left sports to do news. Nobody cares about news - stuff they should care about, like city taxes, annexation, fire and police fees.
    When I covered sports, my inbox would get (easy) 20-25 emails a week from people. Now, I'm lucky to get maybe five a week. People seldom care enough about news to drop me a line.

    I do miss sports. I miss Friday night football. So much so, that in addition to working my standard 40-hour news shift, I string (for free) football games for the sports department. I charge the company mileage and food for my Friday night services. I still get to make the weekly picks.
    Truth is, I couldn't/can't stay away from Friday night high school football.
    I also miss writing a column. In sports, I could write a column when I wanted about whatever I wanted. In news, I can't write a column about what I think is wrong with city hall, because I cover city hall and it could compromise my integrity. So I do miss having a sports column.

    I enjoyed my time in sports - still do enjoy the part-time aspect - but I don't think I will ever return full-time.
  8. MGoBlue

    MGoBlue Member

    Amen, Evil.
    Only substitute copy editing/design for sportswriting in my case.
  9. boots

    boots New Member

    Do it. You'll get the basics down and you'll be able to move around in the industry much easier than if you stay in sports.
  10. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    My thing is I love some of the things I cover and do. But I hate so much more of it (parents, arrogant coaches - see Ask Why thread - stories we write just because someone called, etc.).

    I cover some big-ish teams. But not the pros. And I'm not likely to do so given my geographic location and the small corporate chain I work for.

    So, my thinking lately has been why work steady afternoons and weekends covering middle-of-the-road sports when I can work days and one weekend a month covering middle-of-the-road news, and write features, and freelance. I'm NEWSpaper guy. I love politics and pop culture, cops and court. I just never cover it. But I'm thinking I should.
  11. boots

    boots New Member

    I think you have answered your own question.
  12. Do it. I went from years of the cops beat to HS sports because I was burning out. Now I want to get back into the newsroom (hopefully for a different beat though).

    Needless to say, because of the shit I've seen, I'm really flippant about my beat. In perspective, I've got the least important beat in the newsroom, one that management will probably cut if I get a transfer or just quit.

    Also, it will be easier to stay in journalism if you have a news background. Think about it. What's the ratio of sports reporters to news reporters at most newspapers? Sure, the newsroom has more beats, but it's all reporting. I've also found that I was taken more seriously when I was in news. These days, especially to people who started here after my transfer, I'm "the sports guy" who doesn't know shit from sushi.

    Then there's the work load. I'll say this much: Sports Departments Do Work Hard. As a news reporter, that's all I did. I cranked out copy. Now, in sports, I'm a writer, designer, editor, graphic artist, photographer, clerk, etc. I was spoiled on the news side. I may be flippant about the subject matter, but I'll never say that sports people just sit around and watch games. I have a ton of respect for what they do.

    Do it.
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