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The journalist who most influenced you

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by forever_town, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    As a spinoff from the great professors thread, who are some of the journalists who have been the most memorable/influential on you and your career?

    Obviously, it doesn't have to be in a classroom. It can be the advisor to your college rag. It can be the cops and courts reporter who pulls you aside after reading one of your stories. It can be the editor who forces you to keep calling people until you get something you need for a story.

    For me, I'm going to go with the advisor at my community college's student newspaper. She was very much a Type A personality. Even though I often bristled at that, she gave me some really dogged habits when it came to chasing stories down. She also later learned when to call off the dogs as I got more experienced.

    When I was a really raw freshman, she'd get on my ass until I got all the stats and stuff I needed for a gamer. When I had a few years under my belt at the paper and I'd already called the coach and the assistant coach several times trying to get specific stats, she came over and said, "don't worry about it forever_town. You tried." She knew how much of a headache this particular team and this particular coach were.

    But her pushing me when I was a freshman really turned me into a better reporter.
  2. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    A couple of people ...
    My first ME was the former SE at the paper where I spent eight years. He pretty much taught me the ropes, and I went from there.

    Rick Morwick, who was the SE at a nearby 17K paper in our chain. He runs what I believe is the best small-newspaper sports section in our area. He was (and is) also a helluva writer. He and I talked a lot when we were both in the same chain, and I went out of my way to read his stuff and see what they were doing coverage-wise and use them as a template.
  3. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    My paper's adviser in college.

    She let us completely change the paper in my second semester and the results were amazing. We placed copies in every building around campus, near all the entry ways and whatnot, and before the redesign you would see about 30 papers left behind each week.

    After we redesigned everything, we ran out of copies each week.

    Also, central-ky-kid who posts on here. He's the one who's taught me everything I know. He took me under his wing about 5 years ago after I had just graduated high school and had no clue what the hell I was getting myself into.

    He groomed me in every way possible, and I seriously doubt I'd be the writer I am today without his help.
  4. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    A guy named Andy Amey at the Hautean paper. He helped me with my writing and pretty much taught me to edit.
  5. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Andy Amey is first-rate people. He befriended me when I was a 22-year-old wet-behind-the-ears kid working for a 6K paper making peanuts. I've lost touch since I've been out of the loop the last few years, but he was one of those guys that was at everything I covered and you could always count on if you needed anything.
  6. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    My second SE.

    While I didn't agree with him 100 percent of the time, I still find myself stopping and wondering how he'd handle certain situations.

    Also, a J professor at nearby State U. He spends each summer working as an editor at a major metro, filling in for people on vacation. He's a great journalist, and even better person.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Mick McCabe of the Free Press, who showed me the art (yet unmastered) of writing a game story, focusing on a play or series of plays, and not writing play by play
    Corky Meinecke of the News and Freep, who was truly one of the nice people around.
    Shelby Strother, who got me to always try to find the Dwarf Bar (not that dwarf; something from a Wimbledon column). Even when I don't find it, I always look.
  8. Not anyone I even know personally, but I'd say the great Jon Franklin was probably my largest influence in altering the direction of the way I want to write and the kind of stories I look for. His was the first story to win the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. And after reading it, I discovered he had written a book, in plain English, on how to assemble such a story. From then it was all sorts of masters of narrative - Edward Humes, Susan Orlean, Gary Smith, our own Chris Jones, Tom Junod, Burkhard Bilger, J. Anthony Lukas, Scott Price, Tom French, etc., etc., etc.
  9. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    My first job out of a college was a job that's posted here quite often - Sports Writer at The Garden City (Kan.) Telegram. But the current ME Brett Riggs (then the SE) was the best influence on my career. The guy simply knows how to run a staff of reporters. He's honest and always tries to get the best out of his staff. If you wrote something he didn't like, he would hold it if necessary. He didn't run a feature or column just because it was on the budget. He wanted you to get it right too.
  10. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    I think half the folks who've started in Indiana have been befriended by Andy. He's one of the great guys in the business.
  11. Rockbottom

    Rockbottom Active Member

    My first SE right out of high school, who still gets christmas cards from me in exchange for his voice still echoing in my head, and my first full-time SE -- who frequents this board from time to time and (hopefully) knows how much I love him.

  12. Rockbottom

    Rockbottom Active Member

    Oh, and Ryan Sonner as well.

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