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Good story, or muddled mess?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ouipa, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. ouipa

    ouipa Member


    Howard Bryant's feature that was put up yesterday seems to be pretty polarizing, at least in the ESPN community (which doesn't mean a whole lot, I know, but still...). I saw plenty of people trashing the story for a meandering style that doesn't go anywhere. I also saw some "Story of the Year" praise thrown around.

    Personally, I found the story frustrating and lacking focus. While the headline teases about impending changes in MLB that will forever change the sport as we know it, Bryant on briefly touches on the subject, adds nothing enlightening to the argument, and spends more than half his story creating anecdotes about Giants fans who may or may not exist - a topic that is only tangentially related, at best, to what the article teased in the first place. The story has some great prose, but as a piece of journalism, I just don't think it works.

    I was also immediately maddened by Bryant's use of the second person in the opening grafs. I felt disconnected from the story right from the start, as I'm only 25, not nearly old enough to have experienced the events of baseball's past that he references. "...1987...you were just starting college, Buster Posey was born." It feels as if Bryant was writing for a very specific audience, or even a very specific person, and I'm not sure that works when you're writing for a wide audience at a major media outlet.

    But that's my take. I'm interested to hear what the more experienced pros think. Bottom line: Does the story work?
  2. willwriteforfood

    willwriteforfood New Member

    jealous much? Don't blame the writer for the headline. That's the editor's job.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    This? For real?

    Is this SportsJournalists.com 2003?

    Howard Bryant is a big boy writer at a big boy publication.

    His work is more than open to critique on here, and doing so doesn't make someone "jealous."

    For all you know, Gary Smith or S.L. Price could have written the post.

    Judge it on its merits, not the invented motives you attribute to the poster. That's bush league.
  4. ouipa

    ouipa Member

    Not at all - come on. Haven't we all reached for the stars with a story? Sometimes we miss the mark. It's best to know what constitutes a "hit" or a "miss" so we can be ready in the future.

    I know there have been several times in my young career where I've recognized a golden opportunity, tried too hard to make it good, and it showed. I'm just wondering if this is one of those cases.
  5. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    I wrote a story that was similar in format to Bryant's this past Sunday, and as I was writing it I remember thinking that I was going overboard in the first few graphs. After reading this I should've gone with my insincts.
    It's almost like it was two different stories, but the bottom was solid.
  6. Big Circus

    Big Circus Well-Known Member

    I once quoted (well, paraphrased) T.S. Eliot in a high school soccer gamer. I think I win the prize for overreaching.
  7. AD

    AD Active Member

    parts of this story -- the personal, giants fan stuff -- i loved.
    i don't buy that this is the end of an era. that era that he's pining for ended with bud selig, owner's pawn, and the first iteration of the wild-card.
    by the end, the story got smaller-bore by the graph, until it became a mash of team-building mechanics that have little real resonance for the person who hooked us at the beginning -- the giants-loving fan.
    it's the end of the giants' era of longing. that's it. and, by the way, that's more than enough to write an essay on. the rest was an attempt to make the subject carry more than it was capable.
  8. AD

    AD Active Member

    check that: i meant "league-building" not "team-".
    i really need a better editor....
  9. AD

    AD Active Member

    the thing about this story? the reason it's effective? because now i can't stop thinking about it. there's some really beautiful stuff in there.

    that doesn't mean it's entirely successful -- i stand by what i wrote. but it started with the biggest of themes and got smaller and smaller in scope as it went on. i kept wanting him to talk about the big stuff. it is the end of an era, but only for san francisco, and to my mind that end is far more interesting -- and profound -- than the tinkering with an already corrupted playoff system. in a sense, the story as constructed is almost entirely upside down.

    but, hey, i'll take a long-bomb try any day. it's nice to see some ambitious analysis that has nothing to do with brett favre's pecker.
  10. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    what position does T.S. eliot play?
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