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Michael Silver's oral history of Tebowmania and feud with Brady Quinn

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Versatile, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    First, the links:

    Here is Michael Silver's full oral history of Tim Tebow, which will be in GQ's March issue.
    Here is a rundown of Brady Quinn's quotes in the article and about the article.

    A few discussion points:

    • I didn't think the article was coherent in the way good oral histories should be. For one, it jumped right into the all-out Tebowmania. I would have liked to read more about the first six weeks of the season. I don't often say this, but I wish it had been longer in general. I wish some of the quotes had been more fleshed out. There was a clear lack of anecdotes. It was all commentary. Anecdotes make an oral history feel like a documentary, which is the point.

    • I'm admittedly a bit hesitant to jump onto the oral history bandwagon, but the form seems to be gaining quite a bit of steam in sports writing. There's the ESPN book, of course. Grantland's done a few, including the excellent one on The National Sports Daily. Sports Illustrated's oral history of Major League was my favorite, though. Both of those had wonderful anecdotes. But I'll almost always take a well-written feature over a well-curated oral history.

    • Quinn said nothing wrong, but he definitely crossed the lines of political correctness. Terrell Suggs was far harsher, though. Is Quinn wrong to talk simply because he sounds envious? He sounds human, to me. I thought a lot about Quinn and his dilemma this season. I would have loved to read a full-out profile of Brady Quinn, the free agent quarterback emerging from Tebowmania. This wasn't that, but the quotes are understandable. He shouldn't be apologizing, and he shouldn't be saying his quotes were taken out of context unless you're positive you were taken out of context.

    • If I were Silver, I would have made sure to keep the audio from my interview(s) with Quinn protected and ready. I have no issue posting the full interviews online for all to hear. There's no reason we should let sources denigrate our integrity like that.

    • The idea of Silver writing an oral history sounds like something I'm hallucinating. He's very talented, but he's also among the most self-absorbed sports writers around. I didn't think it was a completely successful effort, but I'm impressed that he went there.

    • Why did he give this to GQ, though? I'm sure his Yahoo Sports bosses knew about this, but I don't see the reason that he went to GQ when Yahoo is so desperately trying to build up the audience for The Post Game.
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    • Why start new Quinn thread when one already exists?
  3. Azrael

    Azrael Active Member

    Not really an "oral history."
  4. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Isn't it more of a journalism topic? I'll let the moderators decide. But that thread is already littered with the same old Tebow or not Tebow? questions.
  5. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Shouldn't a little more history occur before this is declared history?
  6. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    Is Silver that talented? I used to read him when he was at SI and found him unbearable. Maybe he got better or maybe it's a taste thing.
  7. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Silver makes Jeff Pearlman look humble.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    At the same time, he did some really excellent work for Sports Illustrated. The Dennis Rodman feature always comes to mind, but it wasn't his only good one. He wrote SI's Super Bowl game story for 12 years in a row, second-most to Paul Zimmerman.

    What Silver was always best at was getting people to talk. He definitely draws some great quotes for this feature. But, Az, you're right. It's not an oral history. It barely fits into the notion of a game-by-game conversation.
  9. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but Pearlman is a really good writer.
  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Silver was a guest on the Dan Patrick show today and twisted in the wind (IMO) about the issue. Basically saying yes it was a long interview with Quinn and hinting that there was a different tone in Quinn's general discussion over the hour or so. But that in fact, the quotes used in the story are correct.

    Here's my two cents...when doing an extended interview it's our job to best convey the point the subject is trying to make, not to pick and choose sound bites that feed our preconceived idea for the story. I think this is where Silver was in error on this piece...although it's impossible to truly know since none of use were in the interview room with him.

    On a side note...I'm not a fan of oral histories...just write the story. Tried a sample of the ESPN book on my Nook and couldn't even get four pages into it before giving up. Glad I didn't put $$$ out on that colossal hunk of crap.
  11. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I agree entirely. Quoting out of context is almost as bad as misquoting. Really, it's just a light form of misquoting.
  12. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I never feel it's duplicating something when the journalistic merits of something are discussed here, even though there's a thread on the story subject somewhere else.

    I rarely venture off this part of the board except for a few forays into Top Chef or whatever. So I certainly think it belongs here.
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