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SI's Chris Ballard on Williamsport High

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MeanGreenATO, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    Thanks to some bronchitis that seems to be going around my area, I ended up spending most of my uneventful day reading the new Sports Illustrated and flipped to the back for Chris Ballard's story on Williampsort High.

    I really enjoyed it, and it definitely merited being the final story of this week's issue. I was curious to see if anybody else had read it, what they thought, if certain things worked and why, etc. I'm always down for a good discussion on craft.
  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Haven't read this particular piece yet, but Ballard has been pretty good lately at mining the kind of veins that Gary Smith has made a specialty - namely high school and community sports far off the national radar. He had the piece a few months ago about the Illinois high school wrestling coach, as well as some others.
  3. StephenBailey

    StephenBailey New Member

    Great read. Picked up the new SI this morning and read that one start to finish. Ballard is without a doubt one of my favorite longform writers.
  4. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    There's been some talk on here about not asking a question in your story. Ballard's first sentence is a question. Thoughts?
  5. accguy

    accguy Member

    I thought it was a very nice read. I knew nothing of the story. Solid back of the book piece.
  6. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    Boston, I thought the exact same thing when I read Ballard's lede. I think it worked, but that brings up the question of do you never start with a question or does everything depend on the situation? Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the whole question lede notion.
  7. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Did it work? I found it disorienting and cheap. Ballard's writing style often bores me. He never goes for flair, never takes chances.

    I'm going to get yelled at for this post.
  8. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Why do we start a story with any type of sentence or approach?

    We think it will work.

    Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.
  9. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    I meant questions in stories in general. A lot of great writers use them, but people on here say never ever in a million years not even if it's your last story use them.

    I thought it worked because it establishes Zach's survivor guilt and the randomness of Brendon's death. He just happened to turn onto the road but he usually goes home a different way.
  10. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Part of good writing is knowing when and how to break rules. But before doing that, you should know what the rules are and why you are breaking them. If you aren't grounded in the fundamentals, it will show when you try to do something outside of your comfort zone.
  11. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

  12. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

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