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Should a Sports Editor write or manage?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by gormless, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. gormless

    gormless New Member

    Curious should a sports editor write articles report or just edit/organise?
    How does it reflect on a paper if the Sports Editor writes articles along with the cubs, is it collegiate or not the way things should be.
    I believe that sports editors are journalists who make the leap and can still contribute, but a friend said that sports editors shouldn’t be writing.
    Interested to get peoples views..
    I thought it a sports editor is in the job years he is entitled to write..
     
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Each situation is different - staffing size, needs. I spent 461 days as SE (plus two months as interim) and probably wrote five times. My first boss wrote four columns a week - but didn't have a Web site to worry about along with a daily section.
    Smaller papers need an SE to do layout much of the week, and still manage the department. I think an SE can write and manage but probably not write, travel and manage too much unless there's a deputy SE carrying a hell of a lot of the load.
     
  3. canucklehead

    canucklehead Member

    Sports editors should manage and leave the writing to others. Not because they can't, but because they should be focussing on running the department, not chasing down quotes. I know that's easier said than done these days, with dwindling staff numbers. We've got a guy trying to both right now and it appears he's about to jump off the roof of the building because he's overworked.
     
  4. DirtyDeeds

    DirtyDeeds Guest

    What Moddy said. I was at a small paper where the SE wrote almost as much as the staff writers, and I've been at larger papers where SEs do nothing but manage (and attend meetings). Totally depends on staffing, the size of the paper and the paper's goals.
     
  5. i can't stand when SEs write, unless it's at a tiny paper

    especially, when they snag a plum assignment or story out from under somebody who should be doing it

    too much other stuff they should be doing

    hate it
     
  6. jps

    jps Active Member

    it's been said, but depends on the staff size. but even in a mid-sized market, no reason an se can't contribute copy - it can only broaden your coverage, which isn't a bad thing at all. I've been in that position at a mid-sized shop and also at a smaller place, and have/am in both.
     
  7. pseudo

    pseudo Active Member

    At the 15K daily I subscribe to, the longtime SE not only covers prep and college games, writes columns, and works the desk, he's also covered an NFL beat (including most of the road games) since the mid-'70s. I have no idea how he does all that and remains sane, but it has to help that the other two full-timers both have 20+ years at that paper. The three of them work well together.

    On the other hand, although Larry Felser kept writing a regular column after he took over at the Buffalo News, I can't think of the last time I saw a byline from their current SE. Like Moddy (who knows a hell of a lot more about it than I ever will) said, depends on the details -- more people to manage equals less time for actual reporting/writing.
     
  8. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    I'm the SE at a 17K daily, and the bulk of my time is designing the section. When I got here, almost two years ago, I came in expecting to handle the design aspect of the job more because I knew it was easier to get talented writers than talented designers (most talented designers get jobs at bigger papers). Along with the design stuff, I occasionally write and occasionally work stories and leads, but I usually let my staff handle that work. Along with the design work, I handle all the administrative work (scheduling, etc...) and most of the clerk duties (typing in stuff, answering phones, etc...), because I prefer to keep the writers free to write. Plus, I haven't mastered the art of delegation yet.
     
  9. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    One thing I meant to say because I think this was part of the original question - a good SE will NOT cherry pick, take what he/she wants and let others pick up the rest. I wrote a few times because of circumstances that left me few other options. I never said, Oh, I'm the SE. I'll jump in and take this big game. That should never happen.

    I also picked up a desk shift here and there, particularly on nights when we had two sections to produce (racing, various road races in town).
     
  10. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    My SE writes. We are a 25k or so, and he has a couple of beats that he does.

    I'm the ASE and I am the main layout person and run the show in the office when he is out of town or at a game.

    I have no problem with SE's writing, as long as they don't cherry pick.

    Hell, I wish there was a way for me to write, but I sacrificed that for the promotion/pay raise.
     
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I'm with Moddy: All depends on staff size and need.

    At my first paper, a small 20K in my hometown, my first SE did almost no writing at all. But he was a hell of an editor and also could crank out good pages quickly. The role suited him -- and our department -- well.

    The next SE who came in couldn't stand being on the desk, but had an ASE (me) who wanted to switch over to the desk full-time and it worked out for both of us. He could do more writing and focus on planning and direction of the department. He and I worked together to budget out the section, but largely trusted me when it came down to the heavy lifting of production. It made us a more efficient department, because we were both happy with our roles.

    And, like Angola's SE, he didn't cherry-pick when it came to the plum assignments, which I greatly appreciated. He let me go cover our local NFL team when it was warranted and I gained a lot of experience from that.

    Certainly don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule for whether SEs should write or not write. Do what's best for your people and your section. The best thing managers can do is put their people -- and their sections -- in a position to succeed.
     
  12. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    I've worked for some who did both and some who did neither. I prefer the former.
    It does depend on the situation, though. A veteran staff might not need much management.
    As for writing, I've always appreciated an editor who was willing to take a story off the hands of an overworked staff.
     
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