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The Spike Lee School of Sportswriting?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by franticscribe, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Please. Neither white nor black nor Hispanic nor Asian nor male nor female writers will ever have an exclusive key to relating to players. However, a truly diverse world of sports journalists will serve to negate institutional biases caused by overrepresentation by any of these sub-groups. I do believe the fact that blacks and Hispanics are under-represented and whites overrepresented in sports journalism has resulted in cumulatively biased reporting. In baseball, where I spend most of my time, the lack of Hispanic or at least Spanish-speaking writers is definitely a problem.
  2. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    My first reaction was to call this an exclusionary tactic by Spike Lee. I mean, anyone who set up a school for WASP sportswriters would get shouted down.

    But hey, it IS his money, and he IS trying to do good with it. So more power to him. If it's not being used in what we think would provide the most societal good, so be it. His call.
  3. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    There is nothing exclusionary about putting together the Morehouse School of Sports Journalism. White kids can, and in fact do, attend Morehouse (less than 1 percent, I believe, but they do). Lee is simply donating money to his alma mater, a traditionally black college, to help create new opportunities for African Americans. Private school or no, admissions are open to all races.
  4. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Does this presume there's a universal black perspective that would be consistent? Do Jemele Hill and Claire Smith take the same approach? I can usually tell Whitlock's work from Bryan Burwell's.

    In the existing world of sports journalism, is there common ground between the work of Mariotti and, say, Ray Ratto?
  5. I like the idea of anyone starting an educational program and putting his money where his mouth is.

    Morehouse happens to be an all-male school... wonder if any of the women from nearby Spelman College can take courses as well since the black colleges in Atlanta often have dual enrollment...
  6. http://www.petersons.com/ugchannel/code/IDD.asp?orderLineNum=682347-2&reprjid=12&inunId=8788&typeVC=InstVc&sponsor=1

    This seems to indicate that Spelman students can cross-register at Morehouse. Assume this would be the case at Spike's joint, too.
  7. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    That's my point. Lee has a concern that certain athletes aren't covered enough by their own races. I'm asking how a reader, short of a mug shot, would know it was a black writer. Would style give it away? Slant? The content itself? What separates the black beat writer from the white one anymore than it'd separate him or her from another black beat writer?
  8. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    It's called experience. Everything you have ever gone through affects you as a writer. Whether it be your j-school experience or how you learned to deal with people over the years, your experiences shape who you are as a writer and as a person.

    Invariably, people of different backgrounds will have different experiences and those will shape how each person writes, reports and relates to their subject. Some writers will do this better, some will do worse. Being better or worse won't have to do with that writer's race, but each writer will have a different perspective.

    I'm assuming you're white Alma, as am I. Though we are the same race, we have different experiences and would each bring different perspectives to our writing, both of which can be equally valuable to our newspapers. Just like any black writer.

    I really can't understand why you would be bothered by Spike Lee encouraging other blacks to find their way into a business that is predominantly white, unless you're worried about competing for jobs (with more candidates, I mean, not just black candidates).

    There is no way this is anything other than a good thing -- for our business and for young blacks who believe they have a better chance of making it to the NBA than as a sportswriter.
  9. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    The key word there is "might." In terms of day to day beat work, I doubt there would be a noticeable difference. But we might (again, key word) see more of those stories that need to be told by minorities.
  10. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    1. I'm fine with more integration. I think you've misconstrued my post.

    2. But the questions I have are these:

    --Have white journalists done an injustice to black athletes in the NFL or the NBA? Have white journalists failed to communicate what journalists - not sociologists, not novelists, not psychologists - need to accurately and compassionately convey in the course of their work.

    --How does a reader, short of a mug, tell a black and white reporter apart?

    Again, that's not to say there shouldn't be more black reporters and editors. I just don't know what it has to do with the NBA and NFL being full of black athletes.
  11. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I don't think white journalists have consciously failed to do a good job of covering these sports but greater diversity would certainly be beneficial in that it would bring out more points of view.
  12. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    [sarcasm] What about the lack of left-handed sports journalists? [/sarcasm]

    Really, I think it's a good move. Maybe it never will happen, but I'd love the day when we didn't care if somebody was white, black, multiracial, man or woman or whatever. I care a lot more about what somebody brings to the newspaper in terms of talent and, yes, a diverse view probably helps.

    I've been in jobs where I was hiring and I couldn't find black candidates for desk positions, much less a good one, and at one stop I hired a sportswriter who happens to be black. I can guarantee you that I didn't hire him because he was black, though. Having said that, I thought it was good to add to the diversity of the newsroom.

    So I do believe that a diverse newsroom is good. But on a person-by-person basis, I hate being told that I should hire someone simply based on their race or sex. Each applicant has nothing to do with determining their race or sex and shouldn't get an advantage or disadvantage based on something he/she can't control. Hiring decisions should be made based on what they can control: their ability to improve your newspaper.
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