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Mike Wise story on Donald Brashear and his family

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sirvaliantbrown, May 16, 2009.

  1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/01/AR2009050104147.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2009050104383

    I didn't quite know what to make of it. It's very interesting, in general. Brashear's openness and conflictedness, and his family members' feelings about him, are fascinating. But it doesn't seem like the story the headline promises. (Not that this is Wise's fault, of course.) It seems like editors, and perhaps Wise, wanted it to be a story that would explain why a fighter became a fighter. Except...it doesn't, really, if Brashear is to be believed. He says he doesn't really like fighting; until he found out that fighting could get him to the NHL, he was a scorer, not a pest or an aggressor. He fights, in other words, because that's the niche he stumbled upon, not because he was a savage on the ice as a teen. Maybe the trouble in his past explains why he has been able to summon the aggression to fill this role for so long - but it doesn't seem to be a satisfying cause-and-effect.

    Still a commendable and worthwhile effort by Wise, who is excellent. I'm just a little befuddled. Your thoughts?
  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Wow - hell of a story. He did a nice job. The backstory is heartbreaking.

    My one slight quibble is that the "reluctant enforcer" thing is pretty hard to swallow. I saw Brashear in his early days with the Habs and the dude was a psychopath on ice. He was part hockey player, part pro wrestler. I've never seen anyone search desperately for a fight and then ham it up like Brashear.

    Have to say, though... I haven't seen him play in years, but when I did he was actually a fairly decent player for a goon.
  3. See, that would make everything make more sense to me.
  4. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Powerful piece.

    "When asked what she makes of her son's success as a hockey player despite the trauma of his childhood, Nicole grew cool, almost clinical.

    "'Every child will become somebody," she said. "Everybody has it in them. Children are not just a product of their parents. Every one of them has what it takes. They could have grown up in the woods and they would still have it. They just have to have the will to learn. You can learn from anybody; it doesn't have to be your parents.'"

    You don't have to become your parents.
  5. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    Good story. I don't like him inserting himself into the story.

    Same goes for ESPN.com's Marty Smith, who came across as a cocky SOB in his story about Jeremy Mayfield.

    Wow, Marty, you RAN to find Mayfield in the infield? Well, good for you. Next time, just give me the news. I care little who gets the news first.
  6. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Same here. Seemed awkward, especially for a known columnist.
  7. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    If anything, he should have done it more plainly.
    A reporter from Washington?
    No. "I" talked to her, stopped her in her car, etc.
    "This reporter" is from the 1930s.
    It's OK to just say I. You're the one writing the piece. We get that.
  8. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    A few years ago had noticed that Brashear had been born in that hockey hotbed of Indiana, and made a mental note to ask him about it if I got the chance. That chance came a while later, and his response was "I just was, that's all."...I had no knowledge of the back story, and now I kind of wish I hadn't asked him...
  9. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    This is excellent reporting. How do you get all these people to talk about this so openly?
  10. You work your ass off on a story for a year. Which is to say the story behind the story is as good as the story.
  11. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    Mike's got a way about him.

    He doesn't take no for an answer. And if somebody does say no, he simply asks the same question again in a respectful, yet pressing, manner. I've seen him do it. Ballsy is the word that comes to mind.

    Mike and his coworker Barry Svrluga are two of the best reporter-writer combos in the history of sports journalism.

    If you happen to see them both in the same press box, you might as well give up. You're not outwriting them and you sure as hell aren't outreporting them.
  12. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Give up?

    Why would I do that?

    After all, my goal isn't to outwrite or outreport anybody.

    My goal is simply to do the best job I'm capable of doing.

    The outwriting and outreporting that I do are just byproducts of that attitude. ;D
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