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'Sports journalism critic' on the biz

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. OneMoreRead

    OneMoreRead Member


    But my argument lies in this: try to get the financial dealings of that stadium transaction from the team owner or any of the owner's representatives and often, you're in for a fight, especially if there are sketchy kickbacks or if the numbers of private spending and public spending don't match up the way they are supposed to.

    Now, if the city council member doesn't come through with the number the FOIA is a timely, but beautiful thing. Some number crunching there and the reporter has a story, with our without the owner's input.
  2. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    At least in Scranton Reinardy got at taste of working in a multi-daily market, albeit a Class AAA one. So, really, he ought to know that beat writers have their hands full with keeping up on the beat, breaking a few stories here and there -- the daily grind takes priority. Our purpose is not to impress academics and win awards but to serve readers' interests. I think readers value consistent daily coverage, I think they are more interested in the trade rumor du jour than in us playing steroid police in the locker room and maybe breaking that kind of story once per decade. Personally I think there is a lot more outrage over the steroids by the media than by readers. I don't think the fans really care about that. Also, it's awfully hard to get close enough to pro athletes that anyone's going to give you anything credible or substantiated about teammates. Easy to say in hindsight we blew it, much harder to actually get anything worth printing. I don't think it was a lack of courage. I think for the most part all we had were suspicions and the story was not gettable.
  3. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    I would argue that newspapers, specifically sportswriters, have oftentimes taken the back seat and allowed news to do the driving. Case in point, who wrote "Game of Shadows" that outlined Barry Bonds reported steroid use? It wasn't sportswriters from the San Francisco Chronicle.
    Wasn't Mark Fainaru a baseball reporter?
  4. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    I know Mark Fainaru at least used to be a sportswriter.
    Was he not one at the start of Balco?
  5. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    If people want to flog the media for not shedding light on the steroid scandal, that's fine, but they are flogging the wrong parties.

    In reality, the people who could have done the most to shed light on a steroid problem were the columnists, the talking heads, the radio show hosts: anybody who was free to vent their opinion and vent it loudly.

    Look at it this way: It's not the Balco coverage by the Chronicle that has blown this whole steroid thing up, it is the incessant yapping from columnists, talking heads and radio hosts.

    Looking back and casting blame at reporters is ridiculous.

    If anyone is to blame, it is the people who were in a position to thrust the steroid issue into the public conciousness without having to do it in a factual, concrete, unbiased manner.
  6. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I really hope that was sarcastic.

    Are you saying radio talk show hosts are the ones to blame for not shedding light on the steroid scandal?
  7. PTOWN

    PTOWN Member

    I'm always leery of these academic types that have a take on this industry. I mean how long has it been since this guy set foot on a copy desk or written a story?? And the list of newspapers he was at didn't seem all that impressive. He makes a good point about how sportswriters need to change how they write, but anyone whose been in this biz for a week knows that. And exactly just how hard is it to cover a fucking city council meeting or read a police report? Any competent sportswriter can do that.
  8. tonysoprano

    tonysoprano Member

    I agree with all points that have been mentioned.

    But what I've run into are some pretty alarming situations myself with news people I deal with. My boss one time tried to get a news writer to write an obit. I asked him why, and that quickly changed. There was also a belief that since I'm a sportswriter, I needed to have my hand held through such things as police reports, economic data and FOIs, which was a complete load of shit.
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Sports can use FOIAs, too, you know. Unless a stadium is privately financed, you can at least get a head start on those types of numbers from the public side of it. It's not much, but you get what you can get and go from there.

    True 'nuff. Been there, done that on the hand-holding. How's the old saying go? "A sports writer could transition to news a helluva lot easier than a news writer can transition to sports." Something like that. I believe it.

    Careful there, Frank. You might start to sound like Whitlock! ;)
    (But the rest of your analysis was bang-on, as usual. Nice having you around here.)

    Hell, I was that kid in all my journo classes (not that long ago.) Had profs just like that, trying to tell us what it was like in a newsroom when he hadn't been in one in 15 years. I had been working as a reporter for a few years already, and was skeptical of all those ivory-tower mottos he had. Gave us the Woodstein-inspired "how to be a dogged reporter" and "the stressful, suspenseful, glamorous life" lectures without impressing upon us that the key to being a good reporter was to bust your butt with all the r-e-p-o-r-t-i-n-g. So very few of the kids from my class know how to dig for information, nor how to compile/analyze/interpret that information, nor how to follow up on that information.

    Meanwhile, I changed to a history major. (And learned a thousand times more in a newsroom than I ever did in a classroom, as I'm sure most of you did.)
  10. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    No. I'm saying that, in reality, guys like that -- guys whose jobs involve relaying opinion instead of relaying fact -- are the only ones who could have done anything.

    A reporter cannot write a story that insinuates steroid use is a problem in baseball. He can't write that steroids MIGHT be a problem. He can't write that Slugger X showed up with 30 pounds of muscle and a back full of acne and that the consensus among media members and the unspoken concensus among players is that he is on 'roids.

    Let's not forget that without the leaked BALCO testimony, there is absolutely no news here. No news at all.

    Tell me, what the fuck were reporters supposed to do? Pretty much, we can get our information from three places: observation, sources and public documents.

    Unless you see Slugger X shooting a needle in his ass, you can take observation out the equation. If nobody will talk on the record about steroids, you can't do anything about that. And there were no public documents available shedding light on the "steroid era."

    Short of somebody talking, digging through a players trash, or dumb fucking luck, there was nothing anybody could have done.

    The only people that could have possibly made the public aware that there was a potential problem were people who didn't deal in facts: columnists and talking heads.

    That's what I'm saying.
  11. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I guess if I stand on my head and squint, I can follow your logic.
  12. MUtoFL

    MUtoFL Member

    Three years ago, Scott was at the sports editor at the Columbia Missourian, the newspaper owned by Mizzou. He put the sports section out each night, and he had a hand in developing reporters working at SI, the Sporting News and some big metros. He's by no means an outsider, that's for sure.
    Do you know how much time and work it takes to get a Ph.D.? It's sufficient to say Reinardy has more knowledge of these things than most. And also note: it was the newspaper, not him, who deemed him a "sports journalism critic" and used the word "chickens."
    It's a shame everyone reacts this way, finding ways to discredit him rather than look at his advice. Just look at all the excuses already put up on this thread...
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