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The No. 1 Clip in Your Packet. . .

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by daemon, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    A story from ESPN The Mag (yes, I know, the magazine that is targeted to illiterate 24-year-olds, blah, blah, blah) on a hockey player abused physically and emotionally by his low-minor-leaguer father (who went to jail). I think I've written better and reported deeper but this one was a story I broke cold, as acknowledged by the competition (SI's draft preview).


    Now that the truth has been revealed, it's hard to come down on O'Sullivan for his "off-ice woes." In an excellent article in its current issue, ESPN the Magazine reveals that O'Sullivan is the victim of an abusive, overeager father.

    It wouldn't be my favorite but I'm a bad judge of my stuff--it all stinks. I trust mrs miler's and SI's judgment more than my own.

    YHS, etc
  2. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Do you have a link to the actual article or could you PM it to me? I'd love to read that. I'm also rather grateful that Calgary took Phaneuf instead of letting him go 12th overall to the Rangers!
  3. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Yes, I know what you mean about that.
  4. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Wow, and people thought being on the cover of SI was an omen.
  5. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Mine is on a fellow who had been a community icon for three decades, who died about 10 days after the story ran.

    He was sick with cancer for a while and was on his deathbed at home, yet he gave me two hours of his time on a cloudy, gloomy Thursday afternoon. The amazing thing was talking to the people who knew him in the community -- I got a lot of people to return calls when I didn't think I'd get a lot of people to return calls of an out-of-town reporter, and it was one of the most rewarding stories I ever wrote.
  6. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    I broke the Watergate scandal.

    B. Woodward.
  7. BarbersGmen

    BarbersGmen Member

    I'm still trying to write mine also, but I had a great time recently following an undefeated softball team through the playoffs with the greatest thrower I have ever seen in the sport.
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I wrote it in 1977, a column, and it all just fit together really well -- and yeah, it was a tearjerker, dead high school athlete and the tribute his teammates did for him.

    Won the APSE for columns in a day when you only needed one.

    The judges wrote that it was all tied together with a perfect headline -- and since I was on the desk alone that day, I wrote that, too.

    So I was pretty pleased with the overall effort, although it's funny, I read it today, and there's several things I would have changed.

    And, of course, next year, this will have been 30 years ago. :)
  9. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    I'm only answering this to oblige daemon, who called me out in his initial post. No horn-blowing intended.

    My best newspaper story, I think, was a fight story, written after Arturo Gatti's corner threw in the towel during the fifth round of his fight against Oscar De La Hoya. I had wormed some good access, and I got to follow Gatti from the ring, into his dressing room, through his visit with doctors, and to the ambulance that took him to the hospital. I was standing on the loading dock with Gatti's brother, Fabby, when it drove away. This was back in 2001, so I was 27 years old. I had been around just long enough to feel comfortable but was still young enough to bust my balls. We didn't have a Sunday paper, so I stayed up all night writing it for a Monday doubletruck. I can picture myself very clearly sitting at the desk in my Vegas hotel room.

    Its lede was: "The ambulance that took Arturo Gatti to the hospital matched his blood-stained trunks, white with blue trim."

    And it ended with his brother and the ambulance leaving: "Fabby stayed behind, pausing to light up a cigarette, the smoke evaporating like dreams on the edge of the loading dock. From there, cursing under his breath, he watched his brother's chariot pull out of the parking lot, the optimism of the afternoon replaced with a siren in the night."

    I dunno. I hate most of my stuff, but I still like this story. Just one of those nights when everything fit.

    Of my Esquire stuff... Probably Ricky Williams, just for the news it made and the good (but sometimes foggy) memories I have of that whole fucked-up adventure. One of my editors thinks my profile of Colin Farrell was probably better, but I like it only because I worked the c-word into the lede. Did a long story on Tiger Woods I still like. Next story, on John McCain, I feel is solid, or at least I feel that way for now. Liked the story I wrote about the hockey player who disappeared into the glacier that was in BASW, but -- and this will sound arrogant, and I don't mean for it to -- but I was surprised it was picked over Ricky. I was, however, elated to have a story in there. That's been my goal since I started.

    The rest of my stuff, I'm either ambivalent about it, or I have grown to outright loathe it.

    I definitely have some self-esteem issues I need to work through.
  10. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Jones, I know at least I share your trait of loathing your own work. I mean, I often loathe my own work, not that I loathe yours. I remember reading a long time ago that Woody Allen couldn't watch his own movies because he could see everything that went wrong and every missed opportunity. And that was in the days when Woody Allen made good movies! So it's common to pick apart your stuff, I guess.

    I would have to put down as my favorite a story I wrote in college about the Indiana state high school rodeo championships. I hope to god it's not the best thing I've written, or else I'm in a long, slow decline. But I have a fondness for that story because it was, and still is, my favorite kind of story -- an oddball, outsider subculture, with lots of interesting people sharing lots of interesting details, that was fun to report and write. The only downside was the horse that had to be shot on site after ramming itself headfirst into a post.
  11. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    I think the "loathing your own work" concept is an interesting one, and I'm glad to hear other guys say it.

    It's very hard for me to read my own stuff after it is published. I don't know why. I just end up cringing the whole way through it. It's really strange. Putting together submissions is pretty damn hard, because you obviously have to read your own stuff. But by the end of it I'm so exhausted by nitpicking every little thing I would have changed that I fall into a deep existential despair about my place in the writing world.
  12. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Jones and SF: glad to see guys like you respond. This thread actually started because of a curiosity I've always had. Always wondered what Gary Smith and Charles Pierce and guys of that ilk would include in their clips packet. I realize that there are a great deal of posters on this board who are still waiting for that first great clip, but I appreciate some of the more seasoned guys' responses.
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