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Spouse swapping + spouse beating = Beat swapping!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Joe Williams, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    This got me to thinking: Are there any sportswriting "marriages" -- writer to beat -- that would be more interesting with a different partner. In other words, how would Peter King be as a baseball writer? Or Tim Kurkjian on NHL? Or Mark Heisler as a national NFL guy?

    I know that most sportswriters have some degree of versatility and might be able to still earn a living. But would the passion still be there or the insider's knowledge of the game? How many of these folks are one-trick ponies who might struggle just to be ordinary if stuck on a different sport/league? Best of all, who would be terrific, bringing fresh eyes to some clubby reporting crew?
  2. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    It's not the eyes, it's the connections. Given the length of time some of these guys have been at their job, I'd say there's no way that they could perform at that level immediately on another beat.
  3. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I'm with zebracoy.

    Someone might become pretty good if shifted to a new beat. Someone might even become better than he or she was on a new beat. But there's a certain level of trust you build when you're on a beat long enough that you don't have at the ready when you jump to a new beat. That takes time to build.

    Granted, if Tim Kurkjian jumped from baseball to hockey, some hockey players who might be interested in baseball might lend him more credibility because they like his work. But it's still not the same as credibility borne from years of established relationships. It just isn't.
  4. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    I'm not disagreeing.

    But I am asking: So if what you say above is true, why do newspapers frequently -- and almost recreationally -- switch beat reporters around? And why are so many dying print publications eager to unload those with all the contacts and credibility (do their slightly heftier paychecks really make it worthwhile to give up that quality advantage)?

    From what zebracoy and forever_town wrote, it would seem that the only reason to drop a newbie into a beat/league/sport would be if it opens up unavoidably and you're going to lose those established relationships anyway. I'm fine with that approach, but a lot of bosses and bean-counters don't seem to be.
  5. StaggerLee

    StaggerLee Well-Known Member

    Because management has nothing better to do than fuck around with people's lives. The last time I was involved in a beat change, I asked the managing editor what was the purpose of the change. She had no idea, she just kept repeating over and over "It's good to always have a fresh perspective."

    So, to answer your question of why does management frequently change around beats....because they can. That's all. There's rarely any thought put into it other than to have a little "shakeup."
  6. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    It's pretty sad that I put more thought into a beat change than people at the "better" dailies.

    Really fucking sad, to be truthful.
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