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The simplicity of sports

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I have a feeling I won't be very popular for this, but somedays I yearn for the simplicity of sports and sports writing.
    I know, I know, this is a board for sports journalists and I was once one, and occasionally I still am, but I spend most of my days writing biz articles now.
    Sports is so simple, you have a winner and a loser and hardly any nuance. Your articles won't, for the most part, spark investigations and congressional hearings. You don't have governors, or in my most recent case, candidates for governor, calling you for advice.
    I've spent most my Labor Day laboring on an article that will, most likely, cause a brouhaha at the state level. This is a campaign year in my fine state, and it will be picked up as an issue and Lord knows where it goes from there.
    And it's a day like today, that makes me wish I had been at a game on Saturday, said who won in about 700 words, did about 400 words worth of notes and called it a day.
  2. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    I'm not going to be the one to tell you to go fuck yourself, Jay.

    There will be plenty of other people to do that.

    Sorry you had to work on a holiday.
  3. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Well-Known Member

    You had a governor and/or candidate calling you for advice? I am so impressed, especially given some of the boobs we have in office these days. Now excuse me while I go write my 700-word story that isn't going to change the world but just might brighten somebody's day for a few minutes.
  4. fever_dog

    fever_dog Active Member

    we are all blessed to have someone important like jay in our presence, carrying the world on his shoulders like that.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Cold crowd.
  6. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Jay, you think maybe you aren't in sports any more because you don't respect what you were doing?

    No, it won't change the world, but the fact that you seemed to think your stories weren't important makes me think you just weren't cut out for it.

    If it's going in print, it's part of your job, so it matters. Some day maybe you'll get that and you'll really want to return to the toy department.

    And shotglass, he knew cold was coming and pretty much deserves it.
  7. Babs

    Babs Member

    What else brings cities together like sports? Not to mention that careers are made and ended almost daily. If that's not dramatic enough for some people, they need get out and don't look back.
  8. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    As much as it pains me to say, Zeke nailed it like Ryan Howard jumping on a hanging slider.

  9. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Simple minds, simple pleasures. ::)
  10. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    'Cause God knows all we do is cover games, write a gamer and notes and wait for the next one. Everyone knows sportswriters never have to do any reporting. And there's never any nuance in the stories we cover. Everything is black and white.
  11. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I wouldn't say sports is more simple -- particularly those in the pro sports or business of sports trade -- but it's certainly a lot more zero-sum than other sections of the paper. Most things get parced out very nearly: one team wins, one team loses; the top ten runners finish 1-10 depending on how fast they complete the course. There's a certain comfort in that, knowing that most of your issues are going to come to a tidy conclusion, either in one story or at some point down the line.
  12. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Trust me, I wasn't expecting a chorus of amens from the peanut gallery, but...simple isn't an insult.
    In sports coverage, you have press conferences, you are generally welcomed where you go and you have easily identified, measurable points: Somebody won, somebody lost, the offense lost five fumbles. So, when you sit down to write, you can find a news peg, dare I say, simply?
    Now compare that to say Frist's family repurchase of HCA, arguably the most convoluted financial story in recent memory. Yeah, they sent out a press release, but they didn't have a news conference. They didn't have press availability, they didn't grant phone interviews.
    You had to work the rolodex, call analysts, sources. Then try to explain why the repurchase happened and what it meant. Also on deadline, since in some joints biz is an early section and on the first press run with features.
    The other thing about sports beat writing is that falls pretty easily into a schedule. In season, you have mid-week features, game advance, game coverage, a game follow, daily trainers and the occasional notebook or column. So it is pretty simple to figure out a schedule, time management, on the other hand, isn't so simple.
    And while I don't certainly fall in this category, and don't really want to, sports writers aren't putting their lives on the line when they go do their reporting. It isn't like you are going to get kidnapped by the government of Chad or have the mafia slip a bomb underneath your car.
    Sure, sportswriters have power. In most markets they have a unique grip on their city and you can also get million dollar coaches fired. I don't deny that.
    And in one final example, say what you please, but I have been to the greater New Orleans area three times in my life. Once on a bender. Once to cover a game at Baton Rouge and the last time to cover the Katrina aftermath.
    It was the last time that was the most meaningful and cannot be broken down into somebody won and somebody lost.
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