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Here's a contrarian thought on good writers ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I'm just wondering if anybody is in the same boat as I am these days.

    Reading the Reilly thread, among others, it occurs to me that there's basically nobody that I feel compelled to go out of my way to read anymore.

    Well, there's one, a lightning rod for divergent opinions on this board, but that's as much because he's a friend as the fact that I enjoy reading him (which I do).

    I read our writers, obviously (whether I edit them or not, for the most part). But I couldn't tell you the last time I read Reilly; it's been years. I rarely hunt down anybody else. Sometimes, if somebody posts a link here, I'll read that.

    This has nothing to do with the merits of any of these fine writers. It's basically that I've been doing this for 30-plus years, and I'm not really wowed by much anymore.

    I know the demographic here tends to be a bit younger than mid-50s, but I wonder if anybody else is in this boat.

    On the other hand, posting at 7:18 on a Sunday night, this post probably won't get much of a read anyway.
  2. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I read Reilly for the first time in several years just recently. But it was by default since I had just moved and the old tenant's subscription hadn't been forwarded yet.
    About all I do is read my paper, the wires and I get some regional papers by mail at work and I look at those. I also read some of the columns that get linked here and that's about it.
    I used to make the attempt to read Lopresti's college FB wrapup in Monday's USA Today, but I have since given up since I don't get a free copy like I used to.
    I guess the biggest reason is that I'm not all that interested in sports anymore. But that is also true for news columnists as well. I don't really seek anyone out.
  3. Babs

    Babs Member

    I don't seek anyone out just for the writing -- I read around for information only. If it's well-written, that's a bonus.
  4. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    If I'm not in the boat with you, I'm somewhere in the harbor. Not sure there's a glut of great writing these days, but there's enough good stuff that I can't keep up with it all, nor can I single out any one of the many good writers. I read a lot from the beats I cover, of course, but that also bleeds into my "free" reading time, what little there is. I can't make a dent in the ever-expanding book and magazine stack on my desk unless I'm traveling.
  5. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    I'll seek out a few.
    Joe Posnanski is a fantastic read, IMHO. Even though I'm not even in the same time zone as KC, I'll go out of my way to catch up on his latest columns every week or so.

    Paul Daugherty in Cincinnati, mainly because I grew up reading him, and I like to keep up with the hometown.

    Bob Lipper in Richmond is usually a great read.

    Lonnie Wheeler at the Cincy Post (again, hometown thing).
  6. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    SFE, well said. I agree. I guess we're both "veterans" of this biz. About the only stuff I make it a point to read is Dufresne on college football. He is able to explain/cajol/ridicule the BCS puzzle and is really in tune nationally. If I don't have time to read the paper, I set it aside on my desk to look at it later. Invariably, there will be a weeks worth on Sunday evening and they go into the bin without being looked at.
    I keep getting SI for two reasons: 1 -- I have been a subscriber, uninterrupted, since 1965. 2 -- Magazine drives at the kid's school. The mag usually goes from the mailbox, to a stack on the far end of my desk, then into the trash when the stack gets so high the latest slides off onto the floor.
  7. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    Beyond the AP and the other wires we subscribe to, I read SI each week out of force of habit, hoping for those rare weeks when Price or Smith writes, and because my parents offered it for me as a gift. Otherwise, I hope the SJ eyes in other locales link good stuff here. I wish I could idly surf the net for Posnanski, Plaschke, Canzano, et al...
  8. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Express,

    I think we're contemporaries. What I've noticed is that not only are the best writers today not as good as the best writers whom I grew up reading ... no, the best writers from my youth aren't, upon re-reading them, not as good as I remember a lot of the time. Which is to say, the romance has faded and thus my reading has changed. It might be that today's crew isn't the same as the olden days'--who knows what to blame--but they're probably a lot closer than I'd presume on reflex.

    YHS, etc
  9. Eagleboy

    Eagleboy Guest

    Bingo. I've tried - hard - to try to read some of the writers who are considered among the best in the business, as many of you will remember given my plethora of posts on the topic. But it's gotten to the point that when it comes to my free time, I'm not going to read anything I don't have a small amount of interest in.

    When I do read things, I look for the information first, then consider it a bonus if it's well-written. Almost always, if I'm reading it for the information, I also analyze the writer's plan of attack as well. I love to do this with reports of a game I was at from the opposing team's writers, just to see how they saw the same events I did and what they meant to the team they cover given the sample size they're dealing with.
  10. I always enjoy a good, thought-out feature, but I despise columns and opinion writing. As Robert Duvall said in The Paper, what every columnist needs to do is shut the fuck up. I have been pushed to write a column, but I don't want to. I don't believe the average reader gives a shit what I think. I think they just want a good story that I'm not a part of.

    So, no, I don't have a guy that I must read.
  11. SF, I see you just across the same boat there, because now that you mention it, my reading eyeballs have grown more persnickety in their 40s.

    But one place they crave is Chris Dufresne on college football - great call, SoCalDude - which is as excellent as anything going anywhere these days. It's sharp and informative and blissfully free of cliche, while never forgetful that the subject at hand is completely absurd.
  12. True, but those seem to be the exception these days. Most read like a transcript of a poor radio talk show, and the writer is working really, really hard on making you think that his yelling will come across in ink.

    When I started in sports, I got a subscription to SI, and I believe the only true column written by Reilley was about the aftermath of a high school wrestler killing his crazed father. It's the only one from one-year run that I remember.

    Now, the features are much better and I recall so many good ones. Columns? I can do without.
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