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What's the biggest misconception people you know have about sports journalism?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Norman Stansfield, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    I'm not sure it's a misconception, but I don't think people in other departments fully understand what working on a sports desk is like. At one of my previous shops, it was a requirement to have some enterprise/feature story in every Sunday's paper. That's fine for A1 or the local page, because there's not much newsworthy things happening on Saturday. But in sports, especially in October, we need our front page for news, not a 50-inch story about somethign that could easily run later in the week.

    As for my friends, they don't seem to understand why we can't take Friday and Saturday nights off and just do the work in advance. I've already missed one wedding and will miss another because I can't take off Saturdays in the fall, and they don't seem to understand that.
  2. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    It's true what's been said earlier in this thread. The news dept. is ready to hand out medals of honor to everyone who works an election night, when sports does that at least one night, and sometimes two or three a week, during football season. All we get for our "election night" coverage is some pinhead parent kicking us in the butt by continually calling the next day because we committed the unpardonable sin of spelling Jon's name incorrectly.

    Also, I can set my watch by the news dept. staffers racing to the exits at 5 and then 6 p.m. (First wave, then second).
  3. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    So many good responses here, but I'll throw in my own pet peeves, even if some of them are repeats.

    1. That you're a fan of the team you cover.

    2. That a seven-game, 12-night road swing through the west coast on the NBA beat is a vacation in January.

    3. That having a season credential is like having season tickets.

    4. That the sports department is the toy department of the paper.

    5. That hanging out in a pro or college team locker room is just the coolest thing ever.

    I could go on, but you get the point.

    I've always said that every prep night in the office (not just football, but basketball, too) is the equivalent of an election night. Or how about the night the NFL team in your market plays on Monday night and you've got four writers at the game and all are filing about six slugs at about midnight.

    Also, I've always said that any sports reporter/writer could be a news reporter/writer, but not nearly as many news reporters/writers could be sports writers/reporters. Yet we know who are more valued by the Editor and Managing Editor.

    Travel that is not for vacation -- especially since 9/11/01 -- sucks.

    When you work in sports, you're working nights and weekends almost all the time. Those pussies on news side are working 9-5 M-F, and if they have to stay just a little longer or pick up a weekend shift, they're really making a sacrifice.

    Working the desk in sports -- nights, weekends and weekend nights -- absolutely sucks the life out of you. Thankfully I've been off the desk for a few years now, but it's still a lot of nights, weekends and weekend nights. And the fact that some of them are out of town doesn't make it any better, it makes it worse except for the fact that covering a team beats the desk.

    I could go on for hours ... but I'm on the couch with my laptop and have to get a boatload of stories done.
  4. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Well-Known Member

    The whole travel thing is the misconception in our newsroom. The news people think we're eating $50 dinners and staying in $180 per night hotels.

    OK, sometimes we do. But I guarantee I've had a lot more McDonald's hamburgers and Fairfield Inn continental breakfasts than prime rib when I've been on the road.
  5. Norman Stansfield

    Norman Stansfield Active Member

    Right on point.

    I travel quite a bit, and I'd say my meals at McDonald's and Taco Bell out-number my meals at Smith & Wollensky's by about 100 to 1.

    I have managed to spend $100 on a meal for myself once, though. I go nuts each year at the end of the season, just to reward myself for making it through the grind.
  6. MCEchan36

    MCEchan36 Guest

    So if someone came up to you after reading all of this and asked: "Why do you still do it," what would you say?

    Me? I can't imagine doing anything else.
  7. TRS-80

    TRS-80 New Member

    That I actually give a fuck enough about them to discuss my job with them.

    I've come to find discussing work with people not in the biz is one of the biggest drawbacks of the job.
  8. joe

    joe Active Member

  9. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    While it is funny to see the news department freak out when it has to work late, I really don't think that a football Friday night is comparable to an election night. That coverage is, or should be, a little more comprehensive, not to mention important.

    Personally, I think a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon in the middle of the spring sports season, when you have dozens of make-up games that aren't on the schedule called in out of nowhere, a small news hole because there wasn't much on the schedule and half the staff home on an off day is much more difficult than a football Friday.
  10. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Billy, it's more important to you ... and a majority of the populace.

    To the guy who picks up the sports section first each day, the high school football may be more important.

    Frankly, I find local elections to be of little interest to me, because to be honest, they don't affect me much. I don't see any change in my lifestyle from them.
  11. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    Sure, it's more important, and it should also be more comprehensive. The difference is, the paper pays for an election service to get the results. They don't have to hire a bunch of guys (and gals) to take the vote totals over the phone. The results pop into the system, and someone only has to format them. In the end, news siders only have to write the stories and the desk has to edit them. Yeah, it's on a tight deadline, but then what paper doesn't have a hold on election night?

    You do remember those prep nights, Billy, when we worked them together, right? At least we could go to "Harp's" afterward.
  12. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    Old Tony, I think you've been working at the Metro Daily for too long. Out here at the Podunk Shopper Review our newsies don't have such a service. Or maybe they do. I'm too busy eating the pizza they order to notice and/or care.
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