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The simplicity of sports

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

  1. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Farrar,

    You do sound like a proctologist longing to be a gynecologist. I think you'd realize pretty quickly that the difference is the direction the patient faces.

    I suppose it looks a lot different from your office, but don't confuse the witnessing and documentation of joy for joy itself.

    And for what it's worth, I haven't used anything from a press conference or a hand-out in, gawd, minimum four years. That's okay--I did news too and there were lots of floaters and know-nothings there too. Your typecasting can be spread through the newsroom.

    YHS, etc
  2. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Geez Jay, put a sock in it already. For all the massive bullshit circulating on these boards, I have yet to hear one person compare their job with war reporting or some other life-threatening beat. And no one thinks their last Sugar Bowl gamer was more important than a Katrina story. C'mon.

    And some of your other points aren't that strong. Your convoluted financial story might be difficult, but NFL reporters explaining the salary cap and figuring out the modern athlete contract put some pretty hard work into that too, both in finding out the details and explaining it in clear English. And that might be on really tight deadline too when they finally get the info at 10:30pm that makes the story. Not saying it's as important as some financial story that involves average-joe pensions, but they can both have their challenges in writing and reporting.

    And you're trying to make beat writing easy by saying it fits a neat schedule, and citing only football. You have heard of MLB and NBA, right?
  3. Stupid

    Stupid Member

    Yes it can.

    Katrina 1, New Orleans 0.
  4. Yeah, what playthrough said. Jay, I'll bet you never had to get a simple question answered by the NFL front office or make 10 calls to nail down which football program Jerry Hightops committed to or cover Probation U.'s latest in a series of NCAA rules violations. Anyone who says this stuff is simple and doesn't realize it can be a 7-day-a-week grind for months and months just doesn't get it.
  5. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Actually, in some cases, you can be a sportswriter and have everything fit into a schedule. You can also have most of what you report either handed to you or given over at the simplest request.

    In other words, you can be mediocre.

    Sports writing is easier if you are satisfied with taking what is handed to you. Exellence, or even being above average, takes work.

    Think about it this way. Every press release you get goes to somebody else reporting on the same thing. Everybody else can see the game. Hell, the readers usually saw the game. You have to get more than that, give the readers something they didn't see or hear just by being in the stands. That's where the work comes in. Apparently, Jay, you forgot that...or you never knew it in the first place.
  6. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Mr. Friend,

    That might be the line of the century.

    Still laughing,
    Your humble .... whatever
  7. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    You know what gets me about this? I KNOW that some of you who have been complaining on Mr. Farrar's outlook have never done this, either. You make it sound like every sportswriter in America does in-depth, investigative work. Sorry. Not true.

    If you have, this doesn't apply to you. If you haven't, a little introspection may be in order.
  8. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr King,

    The century is young.

    YHS, etc
  9. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    The proctologist line was a great one.
    The only thing I know for sure is that when I was working the SEC beat, I would be stressed out. Deadlines, travel, trying to come up with a different angle since I was one of a cast of thousands working that beat.
    The stress I feel now is of a completely different nature. When I show up to do a story now, I'm not welcome. People are openly hostile, won't consent to interviews, won't consent to have photos made, and will actively pursue ways to get me off the story. CEOs and the like calling my boss, threatening to pull advertising. Threatening letters from lawyers. Sending your stuff to legal counsel for them to read before it goes to print.
    Go chat with the guy or gal at your paper who does the investigative stuff or the serious projects, then get back with me.
    Until then, I'm sticking with my original sentiment, somedays, a day like Labor Day, makes me wish I had stuck with sports.
  10. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Farrar,

    As far as finding an investigative reporter, I wake up beside one daily. In the course of her work she has reported on, among other things, well-lawyered corporations and drug-smuggling bikers, who don't bother with lawyers. We often compare notes. Not so very different in some ways. Just in the course of doing sports (in your world, Reporting Lite) I have received threatening calls from a screwball-recently-booked-sexual-predator and a drug-dealing ex-con/playground agent. I've had a franchise owner vow that he'd see me turfed out of the paper I worked at--and succeed because of advertsing shlep (too bad he achieved moral bankruptcy only shortly before reached financial bankruptcy). I have had the father of a pro athlete (I wrote unflattering about him) announce that he was going to his best friend, the publisher of the paper I worked at, to have my ticket punched. (When the Florida Panthers had the worst record in hockey and ten players on the injured list, the team demoted him.) I've come close to blows with a NHL coach a few years removed from his playing days (a governor or any other pol wouldn't be much of a tune-up, maybe Ed Rendell). I've had a player's father (a former heavyweight boxer who did hard time) tell me that if I wrote anything to hurt his son he'd "find me." The world is o-fer-three in libel cases against me. (Don't ask about a suit outstanding.) Gee, the last big piece I did, I only interviewed 102 people (never mind how many didn't call back). The trials of travel--won't go there, don't want to sound like I'm complaining. I look back and laugh about the day when I arrived in Oslo in my shorts and golf shirt and my luggage was lost. For two days. Over a national holiday when stores were closed in May. When daytime highs reached -1 C. And snow chilled me feet. In my sandals.

    Ah, the simple life. I love it.

    My heartfelt condolences to you for your complexities.

    YHS, etc
  11. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Hey, Jay, in case you didn't get all that, allow me to translate it into uncomplicated sports lingo. He said STFU.
  12. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Farrar,

    BTW Having your stuff lawyered is a safety net--just part of the process in mag work. Pressure is not having your stuff lawyered.

    YHS, etc
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