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prep athlete suicide ... column worth reading

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Michelle Hiskey, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. little late posting this, but good writing never gets old.

    this was one of those topics -- suicide of a local prep player -- that makes you want to run the other way...Jeremy Trantham looked at it straight in the eye.

  2. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Respectfully disagree. I'm sure there was other coverage that gave this it's context, but this seemed self-indulgent. The "oh, if I could only talk to the 13-year-old me" angle us a fine start, but nearly the whole column? Plus it assumes a great deal about the apparent suicide victim and why he did it -- telling him he's gonna marry a pretty girl someday won't help if he has major psychological issues or a physical problem that causes his brain to register nothing but depression.

    On the other hand, he took a risk, and it was well-written. But I kinda think it misses the mark.
  3. Big Circus

    Big Circus Well-Known Member

    Didn't want to be the first to say it, but I agree on pretty much all counts. It's definitely well-written, but it's a little too self-centered and glib.
  4. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Too much about him. And his theory only works for someone who ends up having a good life. What if the kid's 15-years-older self is a meth addict rotting in jail?
  5. Jim_Carty

    Jim_Carty Member

    When I was in my first job out of college, I lived near a high school we covered and used to run three or four miles a day on their track, mostly b/c it was fenced in and I could bring my dog with him and let him run. It was a small town and kids from the football team were hanging around, and I got to know two or three of them better than others. We'd make small talk about local sports, they'd throw a ball for the dog when I was running, whatever.

    They all played three sports, so as the sports year when on, I'd see them in various locker rooms, and, again, we'd bullshit a little if it was appropriate.

    Then one day, one of them drove into the woods and blew his brains out. Girlfriend trouble. An amazingly impulsive and almost incomprehensible act.

    So I wrote a column about the kids, and how I'd come to know them, and how absolutely senseless it seemed. Didn't try to figure anything out, just wrote a bit about the things above. Went to the funeral, parents appreciative, extremely sad.

    And then a teacher from the school went crazy. Absolutely crazy. He claimed I was glorifying suicide and stories like mine led to copy cat suicides, and he tried to get me fired. Really tried to get me fired. Called the SE. Called the ME. Called the publisher, I think. Then confronted me at the school and forced me to listen to a good hour's worth of talk about how his wife worked with kids and he knew - just knew - that my column was a dangerous thing.

    Thankfully the people I worked for did not share his viewpoint.
  6. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I never got to find out who comitted suicide because the writer was too busy babbling to himself about himself and bored me to death.
  7. Jim_Carty

    Jim_Carty Member

    As an aside, we're way too hard on writers around here.

    It's a fine column with its heart in the right place. Could it be better? Sure, almost everything we write can better.
  8. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    I'm sort of there.

    It's OK.... Not as good as Red at his successful parole hearing in Shawshank, but not shit either.
  9. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    At what point does that column tell me who Jacob Swanson is and what happened to him?

    It doesn't.

    I have no idea what the point of the column is, other than the title of this thread.
  10. nmmetsfan

    nmmetsfan Active Member

    Maybe the people who would stop to read this guy's column already know the teen? Just a thought.
  11. Jim_Carty

    Jim_Carty Member

    I know, but we don't know the context within this community.

    If you wrote a column about Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III last week in NY, you wouldn't have had to spend much time identifying him. Maybe it's a small community. Maybe it was packaged with a sidebar. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt rather than run down another young writer without any context.
  12. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I don't think he came anywhere close to looking it straight in the eye.

    I also didn't say it was bad, I agree with whoever said it missed the mark.

    Even if everyone who picks up the paper knows what happened to Jacob Swanson, 99% of the column is about the writer...one sentence about Jacob Swanson.
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