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OTL, E-ticket, please find new topics

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by silentbob, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. silentbob

    silentbob Member

    I'm a big fan of what ESPN.com does with the E-ticket and the OTL features.
    That type of writing doesnt really exist anymore in newspapers. And these pieces are always well crafted and superbly written, worthy of BASW consideration in my opinion.

    But I'm starting to tire of the pieces that look back at a lost loved one.

    Just off the top of my head: Len Bias, Lymon Bostock, the one a couple weeks ago, another today. And I'm sure I'm missing one, two or seven.

    These are all great stories, but I don't think you can keep hitting that sentimental chord with your readership. You have to space it out. There are a million stories out there that have nothing to do with death. Find them.
  2. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    how about "the death of good stories?"
  3. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    But writing about a death is the surest way to win an award. It's been demonstrated time and again. So what have you got against awards?! ;)
  4. I had a streak early in my career where I wrote about five such death pieces in a row. For a while, I thought I was seriously a Writer. Then I read collections by Gary Smith and Charles Pierce and realized that stories didn't have to be maudlin to be compelling. Then I read Buster Olney's book and realized you could even write about sports and make it compelling and fascinating, not just make sports peripheral to the story.
  5. riverrats95

    riverrats95 Member

    Sun-Sentinel did it yesterday and I will bet that the Herald and PBP will follow with their takes today or tomorrow. It's not just ESPN with the rehash.

  6. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I was thinking about this very thing like two days ago. Not a week goes by where my local sports section seemingly doesn't have a story about some player carrying the memory of a loved one, either mom or whatever. And frankly, editors really ought to put a foot down on saying, "Enough."

    This isn't to disrespect athletes who have lost somebody close, obviously. But these stories aren't new, and they're not even tear-jerking anymore.
  7. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    this thread is right on.

    if you've read one 'struggling with death' story, you've read em all.
  8. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    School teachers and plumbers and insurance salesman and retired old farts and rock stars and unemployed newspaper grunts all deal with the deaths of loved ones, and go about their jobs and lives.

    Working up some big tearjerker on somebody who happens to sweat at a sport, either for a living or for a hobby, is a waste of emotions, time and resources. No wonder some staffs get targeted for forced shrinking, if that's the best they can come up with.
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Wow, an AP story on the anniversary of Pata's death. Nice work Sun-Sentinel.
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

  11. Go State

    Go State Member

    Asking a serious question here: Do these stories keep getting done to please people pertaining to that loved one? What I mean is, if you write a story regarding one football player who lost his mom and is trucking on, doesn't that mean you have to write the same story the following week if another football player loses his mom? Are papers worried readers are going to say, "Well, you did a story on that player and his mom, so why not this player and his mom?"

    I know the topic originally was started because of ESPN, but maybe it's a domino effect that has continued and reached the WWL. I could be extremely wrong, but it just seems like people are saying, "Well, we wrote that story, we should probably do this one, too."
  12. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Not to play contrarian, but most literature throughout most of human history is in one way or another about death. It is, after all, one of the only human experiences everyone everywhere shares.

    Rather than say we shouldn't write about death - or coping with death, or fearing death, or reconciling ourselves to death - how about we say that we shouldn't write about death in the same tired ways we so often do.
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