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Life after sports

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Bruhman, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. Bruhman

    Bruhman Active Member

    When my sports editor tapped me on the shoulder and said the managing editor wanted to speak with us, I didn’t know what to expect. At least he didn’t say “bring your laptop.”
    Turns out I still have a job (which in the present climate is no small feat).
    But I’m no longer a columnist.
    I have been re-assigned from sports, bringing 22 years in newspapers’ so-called “toy department” to a screeching halt. My new job entails writing editorials, serving on our Editorial Board, helping readers form communities on news-press.com and perhaps writing a weekly op-ed column.
    Regardless of what I think of the new position, its pros and cons, I feel a sense of loss in having sports taken from me so abruptly without warning. Not that I presumed I’d be a columnist or sports journalist for the rest of my career.
    But I figured I’d be the one making the decision to change courses if the time ever came.
    This just reinforces what I already knew, the perils of working for somebody else. I was given a column but the paper could always take it away whenever it wanted. They could’ve said I’m being re-assigned to night cops or the agate desk. So I’m thankful for the measure of honor and respect associated with my new position.
    I’d be lying if I said the industry’s current conditions hadn’t led me to wonder about the future and consider other career options. It’s rough out there, where the buzzwords are layoffs, cutbacks and buyouts.
    So I’m no longer in sports and it feels strange and weird and surreal. I’ve been a sports journalist ever since I graduated from Howard University in 1985. I’ve covered everything from Pop Warner to the Super Bowl, Little League to the World Series and youth hoops to the NBA All-Star Game, and for the most part loved it. I believe writing a column is the best gig in the business.
    Oh well.
    Peace, joy and blessings.
    Happy Holidays.
  2. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    I know how you feel man.
    I had the bomb dropped on me almost 2 years ago, no warning, just one day, the boss says, "I want to talk you in the conference room."
    Then the blinds are drawn shut and boom, your life as you know it is over.
    I went to news because it was that or no job and no health insurance for my children.
    In a way, it was a good move because I have less stress on putting out the sports section, then getting the A section out.
    I have more time with my family which is good too.
    But the way it was done, will always leave a bad taste and hard feelings. The jerk who did it left a few months later, which really irks me because had had to have known he was leaving and could have left me alone.
    Nope, then later on, I missed the biggest sports story in my area's history, which angered me more because I was left out of the coverage. Wouldn't you want to tap someone's experience when the year's biggest story happens?
    All I can say Bruhman is I feel for you but hang in there, it may work out for you in the long run.
    That initial shock takes a LONG time to get over.
  3. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    bruhman, it's a new challenge. embrace that challenge.
  4. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I have a question about this. Editorial board is an interesting transition, and might be appealing to some.

    They just came up with this, or had you shown some interest in doing work on the editorial pages in the past. Just seems like an odd thing to come from out of the blue. It'd be much more understandable -- although certainly not more palatable -- if they had come to you and said, "No more column, back into the pool as a regular reporter."

    But this "forced" move isn't like another I've heard of. So just wondering.
  5. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    In a way, isn't this a step up? Instead of just being a voice in the sports section, you help shape the voice of the paper. Not the news coverage so much, but the official stance your paper takes on issues where opinions are merited. It sounds like people there think really, really high of the voice you have and how you use it, and so they want to expand it.
  6. a_rosenthal

    a_rosenthal Guest

    It's a step up like going from being a beat writer of a sports team to a beat write of the city council... Seems more important, but if you really wanted to be doing that, wouldn't you have taken that career path to begin with?
  7. Bruhman

    Bruhman Active Member

    This re-assignment couldn't have surprised me more. I'd never expressed an interest in doing anything else besides my column. Being moved to the editorial pages and made a member of the Editorial Board never crossed my mind even a little bit.

    I think it means three things, not necessarily in this order: 1) they don't value sports columns; 2) they value my writing; 3) they don't care if I leave.

    I guess one out of three ain't bad. 8)
  8. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    I believe not being asked, consulted or notified prior to the decision being made for you would be the most aggravating thing for me to deal with in this situation.

    Got lemons? Make lemonade.

    Good luck.
  9. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Deron, you're probably right on the first two, but I'm not sure about the third. Since papers put so much emphasis and importance on the editorial board, the fact that they want you to weigh in on issues that most newspapers put higher importance on (social, cultural, political, and so forth) suggests something complimentary, at least in my mind. I could be completely wrong about how things work at your paper. It's just how I see it, though. And if you really, really didn't want this, I can see why you're a tad annoyed.

    Though yes, the no warning or discussion would be a bit disconcerting.
  10. Bruhman

    Bruhman Active Member

    I'd say the same thing about No. 3 for anyone in this situation. When a company tells you this is your new gig, like it or not, management must know you might leave if you don't like it. And that's a chance they're willing to take.
  11. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    i feel you, bruhman. when they pull this, imo, they're saying, "we hope you leave." they're just trying to put the onus on you and avoid an ugly scenario, i.e., firing you because they'd look bad if you made a fuss. the bosses never want a name player to go public with complaints.

    i know. something similar happened to me a few years back. best way to fight it is to do what they're hoping you won't -- be a professional and do your job to the best of your abilities.

    it'll pay off for you in many, many ways. best of luck, bruh.
  12. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    Deron, I would think of any job outside of the one you had, this would be a nice Plan B. As FHB said, being on the editorial board is a pretty good plum -- especially if it segues into an op-ed column.

    About a decade ago, I was offered the business editor gig at my old paper. I was the No. 2 writer on a staff of 10 when our editor called me in and offered it to me because he could sense I was burning out -- which to a certain extent, I was. I was sorely tempted to take it because I like business; it's a growth area at most publications and it fascinates me.

    However, I turned it down because essentially, I would be a staff of 1 1/2, meaning I was being set up to fail. Plus, doing a constant diet of store opening stories wasn't what I had in mind for a decent business section. So I told him that outside of my job, our No. 1 columnist's gig and our metro columnist's job, I'm fine, thanks.

    Fortunately, he didn't press the issue. But getting back to my original point, it sounds like you're moving into an area that's valued. Take it and run with it.
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